Posts Tagged ‘ wine tasting ’

VinAssure Review #1

How did we discover VinAssure?

PIWC is always seeking out products we can try to review, but while over at GrapeRadio I viewed an ad for VinAssure and went to check it out.

Would we drink up too 700 bottles to make this product worth while?

Of course we would…do…drink plenty of wine with meals I prepare, and open lots more for wine tastings during the year. Any of you out there who value the wine you buy, or pour for family, friends, clients and host wine tastings will appreciate this product.

After contacting the products company we had to decide our approach to testing VinAssure. Of course we would open three wines, used the VinAssure Argon Gas canister, Vinuvac pumping device, and the cork method to see which preserved the wine as if we had just opened it. Before traveling to Spain last month, hubby and I opened a few bottles to test. We found that after our second attempt, and re-tasting the wine upon our return, the wines smell and taste were as if we had just opened it. Now we will open some more wines and share their results soon…

How can you tell there is argon gas in the VinAssure canister?

The manufacture and developer of VinAssure recommended this to me- Hold up a seal-able sandwich bag, make sure it’s flat (as opposed to having air trapped in it), seal it about 3/4 of the way, inject VinAssure into the bag for a slow count of 5, seal the bag all the way. VinAssure’s Argon has forced any air our of the bag and has remained IN the bag.

Now cup your hands around the bag and you will see a pillow effect from the argon that’s been injected. Visually that pillow equals the amount of Argon you’ve injected into a bottle with a 5 count. That’s approximately 185ml or 1/4 bottle. The ‘rest’ of what’s in the bottle’s empty space (if it’s more than 1/4 empty) is air, so there is now a mixture of air and Argon. Obviously, then, the more VinAssure you inject the greater the proportion of Argon and the greater the level of preservation.

We’ve found that the 5-count (or 1/4 bottle of Argon) is enough for the palates of most people. But the one constant in this is that all wines and all palates are not the same. Actually, the suggestion to add more Argon came from the calculation of the actual amount of gas going in and not from any negative feedback. Because the very expensive refrigerated preservation units (like Wine Keeper and Enomatic) use a method which keeps 100% of the empty space full of gas all the time, we wanted to be able to explain to users how much VinAssure it would take to simulate that method.

I tried what Peter recommended and you can see the pillow, as well as taste the difference in filling the wine bottle space with more than just room temp air, marbles, or pumping out the air. We also preserved the wine at room temp on the counter, as well as storing in a temp controlled upright wine cellar, and on a 45 degree tilted angle in the cellar.

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling

What else am I up too?

Eating Weeds
Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

South Jersey Wines & Steak

South Jersey Vines

Jersey Fresh Wine & Food Festival, Heritage Winery, Sat & Sun 12-5 PM, 480 Mullica Hill Road (Route 322) in Mullica

Want a chance to taste some of the wines of Amalthea Cellars I have been so excited about? Up against other wineries of the region? Then come find me roaming about Heritage Wineries Property today during the Jersey Fresh Wine and Food Festival from Noon till 5 PM.

If you miss it today, then you have another chance Sunday from Noon till 5 PM. I will be unfortunately (or not) tasting twelve Zin’s with Adrienne, and we will be reporting back!

You can read my report on a great ribeye steakhouse in south Arizona over at Food ~ Wine ~ Fun! ‘Warning Steak Lovers’. The Pinot Noir I had with it was not so bad either, but the Zinfandel would probably have been a dead on tasting…

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food & Wine Writer/Chef-Owner CookAppeal, LLC Princeton, New Jersey

More Wine(ing) To Come

Corky is on the job as we speak!

Partners In Wine Club Press will be bringing you new and updated information on the marriage of food, wine, technology, and social media…

Both Chef Elizabeth Stelling and Adrienne Turner are attending classes, meeting with wine producers, and getting ready for Wine Art Music Poetry Project, and will begin regular posting soon…

The Garden State Wine Has Arrived

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This and a bottle of Europa!

To borrow from written history, various documented internet sources, and my own education in and around the New Jersey Vineyards over the past year, I have discovered my new home makes more than just ‘Okay and fruity’ wine.

The state has begun to take back its bragging rights of being ‘The Garden State’* in the last few years, and is staking a claim in some of the best wines produced outside of California and France. In 1767, London’s Royal Society of the Arts had already recognized two New Jersey vintners for their success in producing the first bottles of quality wine derived from the colonial agriculture. The problem I believe, started when everyone wanted a stake in the wine industry here and began buying up land and growing wine grapes further north, where the soil and weather are vastly different. Thus the huge difference in wine.

The GSWGA website with its marketing verbiage of ‘Savor The Experience’ and hearing from locals about how great their wines are in the central Jersey area (as they showed me their local fruity blueberry and cranberry wine), I was beginning to think no one knew what good vino really was. I already hail from Texas where there are very few, if any drinkable to my mature palate in the Lone Star State ( Texas grows wine grapes, and bottles it!). Yes laugh! Five years ago when I hit what I call the central Jersey wine trail…well…I was more than disappointed. De ja vue hit me like a mad bull in a packed rodeo parking lot!

I am sure a few winery cowboys would love to come after me on that comment, but I do agree in the spring along the east bound highways of I45: blooming wildflowers, historical site seeing, and a few stops at wineries can break up the ‘out of the AC lock down’ lifestyle of the Lone Star State, but I discovered something MORE breath taking in Jersey.

The Outer Coastal Plain American Viticultural Area– beautiful acres of green grass, pine barrens, and shore line. New Jersey is a puzzle so spread out that it can take years to place each piece together and find your way around, but its worth the wait. New Jersey wineries are generally in one of two areas: the triangle defined by Atlantic City, Cape May, and Philadelphia or the strip from near Trenton to High Point along the Delaware River.

Last year while taking a weekend excursion, which there are so many here to discover with its rich history, I ended up in the Marlton, Berlin, and the Atco New Jersey area. Noticing the clump of wineries on the ‘Garden State Wine Growers Association’ map, we decided to visit a few and see if they differed from the upper regions near our home in Princeton. Some were more drinkable, but our last stop was Amalthea Cellars. We walked away more than two hours later with over a case of wine, and I have made a few trips back since.

A big southern Thank You to ‘The Garden State’* as is well known for; it consist of rich cultural food history, small historical towns dotted up and down its old highways, sprawling farmland, farmers markets and (in my opinion) some of the best wineries down south. Put them together, and the sweltering summer heat of late aside, I have come to embrace my new home of wine and foodie paradise.

There is a lot going on now that the New Jersey Outer Coastal Plain AVA is getting noticed, and I would not miss it if I were you!

*HISTORY: New Jersey’s nickname, the Garden State, derives largely from the more than one hundred year history of growing of fruits and vegetables in this area which supplies such produce to the mid-Atlantic region and as far north as Montreal.

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

New Jersey Wine & Entertainment- 2010

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Sprawling Vineyard of Amalthea

New Jersey Wines ~ Savor the Experience!

More than two hundred years ago, London’s Royal Society of the Arts recognized two New Jersey vintners for their success in producing the first bottles of quality wine derived from colonial agriculture. Today New Jersey’s wineries continue the tradition of producing high quality wines. But New Jersey’s 30+ wineries offer more than just nationally and internationally acclaimed wines, they offer a total wine experience.

Savor New Jersey’s award-winning wines at wineries nestled amid rolling hills and breathtaking scenery. Sample the wines and taste the quality for yourself. Browse the gift shops and tour the winery to see how and where the wine is made.

Garden State Wine Growers Association Need a new passport? Pick up your Passport to the NJ Wine Country when you take a Walk In the Vineyard Wine Trail Weekend, July 17 & 18, 2010 at wineries across the state. Be the first start your 2010 NJ Wine Country adventure.

We suggest you hit one of the ‘Outter Coastal Plain’ wineries in South Jersey. Among them Amalthea winery- 409 Vineyard Road, Atco, New Jersey. The beautiful sprawling tree and grass covered property is surrounded by Amalthea’s small vineyard. Once you turn off the main road and begin down the gravel pathway- you feel the world was left behind and the historic ‘Green Tavern Inn’ and Wine Makers Cottage become a peaceful getaway into a wine lovers paradise. Enter the tasting room and have some well developed whites to reds while the staff is thoroughly trained in vine growth, varietals, to blending styles the owner has created from extensive training in France.

Events: Barrel Tasting- Enjoy a signature Chardonnay Caesar Salad and other delights while tasting some of next years vintages, and placing your six bottle limit order for your favorite pick! $10 per person, 12-5 PM Saturday and Sunday, July 17th & 18th- 2010

WAMPPWine Art Music Poetry Project, July 31st, 11-5 PM- Enjoy music, poetry, and art while enjoying wine and food as local and New Jersey grass root performers entertain you throughout the afternoon. Bring lawn chairs and blankets to spread out picnic style across the beautiful lawn of Amalthea Cellars in the shade of this tree covered property!

This past weekend the winery was flooded with new comers and followers of Amalthea bringing friends and family to taste their favorites, and walked away with new favorites. One man shared with me his love for the winemaker, Louis Caracciolo’s skill in his top blend, Europa- a European style reminiscent of an exquisite Bordeaux style. This winery holds all makes and styles of wine, so there is sure to be a bottle with your name somewhere on the property!

In 1976, the first vineyards were planted at Amalthea Cellars. Founder Louis Caracciolo’s infatuation with wine making began as a young boy making wine in the cellar of his Italian immigrant grandfather. Emilio brought the art from “The Old Country” at the age of thirteen to the southern New Jersey town of Blue Anchor at the turn of the century. Being exposed to the charm of wine making at an early age ignited a passion that continues to this day at Amalthea Cellars. Caracciolo often says of his philosophical grandfather, “I came on the scene with an unlit torch and my grandfather passed the flame.”

Hope to see you down there, and Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Shiraz or Syrah; what’s in a name?


Good question! Basically they are the same grape varietal, genetically, but the flavor profiles are quite different because of the different climates, terriors and wine making techniques. The Australians call it Shiraz  while Americans and French call the varietal Syrah.
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Now to the flavor profiles:
French Syrah is planted in the Rhone region, which is divided into 2 halves; the Northern Rhone and the Southern Rhone. Northern Rhone wines are made primarily from Syrah grapes and can command a hefty  price e.g. Hermitage. The wines are tannic and leathery with spice and pepper over tones. Generally these wines take a longer time to age than Southern Rhone wines.

Southern Rhone wines are generally made with more Grenache than Syrah but produce wines that mature earlier than Northern Rhone wines. Here we have the Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Cote-du-Rhone wines. Southern Rhone wines are mellower with some spice overtones.

Australian Shiraz is famous in the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale areas. Their wines are rich with fruit and very smooth. Many times these wines are even blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added aging and complexity. The Barossa Valley produces Shiraz with big fruit and chocolate overtones.

California Syrah-Enter the famous Rhone Zone of California. Here we have producers that produce Rhone style wines with earth, spice and pepper overtones. Some notable areas are :Sonoma County, Paso Robles, Edna Valley and Santa Barbara County, leading the way in production. Some winemakers swear the climate of Paso Robles mimics the southern Rhone area of France. A few California Rhone producers have cult status and command a hefty price. Examples include: Saxum, Sine Qua Non Syrah and Alban Syrah Edna Valley.

My favorite Syrah/Shiraz picks ( somewhat affordable):

  • Carlisle Syrah Russian River Valley 2007  About $50 (if you can find it)
  • Qupe Syrah 2007  A classic Syrah for under $20. A great value
  • Two Hand’s Bellas Garden Barossa Valley 2007 Classic Barrosa Valley. About $60. Treat yourself!

My favorite pairings:
Ausssie Shiraz with big fruit-BBQ
California style Syrah-lamb or grilled steak
French Rhone style Syrah with big spice- roast leg of lamb

Cheers! –Adrienne

Oxygen, an Enemy of Wine?

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While researching options for ‘Wine Preservation’ over the past year, because my husband travels quite extensively in his work and often we open up a good bottle of wine and he may want more when he returns in a week. Consumers do not always want to finish a bottle or two all in one sitting- what to do?

I am not always in the mood to drink two or three days in a row. Call me crazy! I love wine, but routinely I am myself traveling quite extensively to the the gym now. So I am seriously watching my calorie intake, and unfortunately alcohol and sugar products are high on that ‘no-no’ list.

PIWC will be testing out a new product I recently discovered on-line, the VinAssure™ Wine Preservation system. I am excited out this product and have seen it on a few wine sites. Often as a chef, or even just as a great cook I might make a few dishes where a white and a red would pair well, but for only two people and not other guests sharing- we would want to save what is left for another evening.

Wine connoisseurs have found numerous ways over centuries to preserve wine, most do not care if it sits on the counter just re-corked at room temperature, but if you are serious then you may want to re-think the options.

The VinAssure™ Story- How did this amazing product begin?

VinAssure™ grew out of a simple desire not to waste wine, and a practical business need to make good use of every last drop. For years I was the owner and proprietor of a small wine store and tasting bar, and I had what I would consider a low to medium volume of wines served by the glass each week. At one point I sat down to calculate the dollar-for-dollar waste of unsold, tossed out, or employee consumed wine that had just become an accepted sunken cost of my business. Even with my small program the numbers were staggering… I was simply WASTING WINE and pouring potential revenues down the drain!

VinAssure works by using Argon gas,

ARGON: WHAT A GAS!

by Clark Smith

All her pretty dreams argon.-Bruce Springsteen

Oxygen is not the enemy of wine. Yet the most outspoken proponents of O2’s role in wine development will still scrupulously try to exclude it from partial tank head spaces. We all gotta gas. But in reality, few of us do it well. And in an imperfect world, it is not enough to shrug and say, “We just try to keep topped tanks”…(read more)

Come back next week and find out how are VinAssure experience pours out!

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!