Tuesday, December 29, 2009

World of Beer

Last night I ventured across the county to the World of Beer store in Viera, FL. The store has 50 rotating drafts and 400 bottles of beer from around the world. It really is a world of beer in there. Below is the link to their website. The only website I can find is for the store in Tampa, FL. The store in Viera is really new and I can't find their website.

I started with a nice Rogue Mocha Porter draft, because it was cold out and I wanted to warm up my tummy a bit. The Rogue Mocha Porter would be fantastic on a cold winter day. It was like 50 some degrees in FL and that is about as winter as we get. Rogue beer started out in Oregon and I REALLY REALLY want to visit the brewery sometime.

Next, I saw they had Kwak beer brewed in Buggenhout, Belgium. It is named after an 18th century innkeeper and brewer, Pauwel Kwak. Normally a Kwak beer comes in its own distinctive glass that resembles a "yard of ale" which is held upright in a wooden stand. The world of beer did disappoint me a bit because my beer didn't come in this glass. :( When I was in brussels it did come in this cool glass wooden stand thing. But it was very good and had 8% some alcohol. (Can't complain really.)

All of this did remind me of my day in Brussels drinking lots of great beer, eating waffles, buying expensive chocolate. This was after a day spent at the UN. So some educational things did get accomplished as well. Here are some pictures from that lovely day.

Everyone please go out and try a great beer sometime this week. It'll boost your spirits for sure.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Party like it's 2010!!

It is almost 2010!! It is the time of year for parties and lots of celebrating. What does this mean? CHAMPAGNE!!

What is champagne? It is a sparkling wine made from specific grape varieties grown in the region of northern France. The traditional method of making sparkling wine today is through the Methode Champenoise. The word "Champenoise" refers to someone coming from the region of Champagne, France. Many french producers prevent non-champagne region producers from using words like "champagne" or "methode champenoise." Today sparkling wines are made all over the world.

When going out to find that special bottle of champagne you should look at the labels. The different names on the bottle show the different degrees of sweetness in the champagne. The different levels are shown below.

Category Sweetness Level
Extra Brut --> Bone-dry
Brut ----> Dry
Extra- Dry ---> Medium-dry
Sec ----> Medium-sweet
Demi-sec ---> Sweet
Doux ---> Very- sweet

Remember that bottles of champagne must be treated carefully. If you swing it around too much the bottle will explode or foam over when the cork is removed. You want the champagne in your tummy not on your shirt.

Don't do what I did a few years ago and store the bottle in the freezer. This was a rookie move when I was in college. I took it to a super-bowl party and opened it in the kitchen. The entire bottle exploded up onto the ceiling and then fell down into all the food. Not my best moment. haha

Here are some of my favorite Champagnes/sparkling wines:
1) Piper-Heidsieck Champagne (Brut) -- They produce a lot of champagne but for the price (usually around $30) it is good. I went to the Piper-Heidsieck winery in Reims, France. It was quite the place.

2) Bitch Bubbly (sparkling blend) --> For the price ($10-15) and the name I like the Bitch Bubbly. It is pink, bubbly and just girly all around. Perfect for a girls night or day. The winemaker is from Australia.

3) Veuve Clicquot Brut --> My third favorite easy to find champagne is that famous orange label of Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne from Reims, France. It is a splurge, but so good.

Finally, with your champagne you can make all kinds of great drinks.

My favorite champagne cocktails are as follows:

1) Mimosa (the standard classic) Use a 1: 5 ratio of freshly squeezed OJ to champagne.

2) The Kir Royale (act like royalty) -- Similar to a Kir (which uses white wine) The Kir Royale has a dash of cassis (currant syrup), topped off with champagne.

3) Bellini (fancy fancy) -- best with ripe peaches, if don't have those use a peach syrup. A 1:4 ratio of syrup to champagne.

4) Poinsettia (for the holidays) -- A 1:4 ratio of triple sec to champagne, with a splash of cranberry juice added for color.

Hope you enjoy your bubbly!

Happy New Years

Monday, December 21, 2009

Grape of the Night

Last tuesday night was Grape of the Night. Once a month wine-oh's converge into Mary's Wine-Oh Wine Store in Cocoa Beach, Florida for Grape of the Night. Each person/couple brings a bottle of wine that corresponds to the chosen grape of the night. Mary picks the grape of the night each month. We have done Zinfandel, Bordeaux, Cabs from Napa vs. Cabs from Sonoma. This month we did not have a specific grape. It was bring your favorite bottle night. We had everything from champagne to a 1988 Bordeaux to a 1977 port. Here are some pictures from the event. The first picture is of all the wines we tried that night.

There was some nice food at the event as well. Here is a picture of that.
I brought the chocolate covered pretzel sticks for a holiday looking dessert.

Here are some pictures of the different bottles. The first is a 1988 Chateau Margaux. A very nice aged Bordeaux. Just putting this wine into google shows that it can sell between $200.00 to $300.00 dollars a bottle. The second picture is of a 1989 Bordeaux called Chateau Malescot St. Exupery. I was only like 6 and 7 years old when these wines were bottled. That just boggles my mind.

Finally, we ended upon a very nice port. A port from 1977. That is even before my time. Here is a picture of that port in the decanter and its bottle.

It turned out to be a lovely evening. I will be excited to see what grape we pick for January.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wine Spectator Top 100

For those of you very much interested in ranking your wine...you will like this. Wine Spectator recently came out with its top 100 wines of 2009.

I personally think rankings are important for the industry but they don't really mean that much to us fellow wine-ohs. I can enjoy a $15 bottle of wine just as much as a $60 sometimes.
Some expensive wines are worth the money. Some are not. I intend to share these subjective thoughts with you in the future of this blog. I'll point out some good expensive wines and some shabby expensive wines.

I do commend Wine Spectator for being more user friendly this year. The #1 wine is only $27. Even Wine Spectator must take into consideration these poor economic times. It would be pretty snooty of them to have a $100 bottle of wine as #1 wouldn't it?

Brisket Success

The hanukkah brisket turned out very well. We almost had a meltdown in the kitchen but all was well. I braised the meat in a new pan, and I think the pan no longer looks new. It got a little charred. :) Sorry mom.

We opened up a very nice bottle of wine to compliment our hanukkah brisket. It was Tobin James, James Gang Reserve Primitivo 2007.

This wine needs to sit open for a bit before you drink it. I suggest either putting it into a decanter or aerator. We have both but used the Vinturi (the wine aerator).
I'll have another post soon discussing aerators and decanters. For now just know that big bold wines need them to breath a bit. This Primitivo was a pretty big wine. It could have aged in the bottle for a few years and been just as good if not better. I tend to really like the different Tobin James wines. They have a lot of big reds.

Hope you are all getting ready for a fun and stress free holiday season. Tomorrow I'll be attending a Grape of the Night event. I'll be tasting many different wines that fellow wine-ohs bring. The Grape of the Night is usually one type of grape but tomorrow night it's bring "your favorite wine." Should be a good selection of all different kinds of wines. I'll post pictures of the event and show you my favorite wines.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Hanukkah!!

In honor of the holiday spirit I am making a peppercorn brisket recipe to celebrate Hanukkah!! The peppercorn brisket is from the food network website. The recipe calls for 2 glasses of wine. It makes this meal even better.

We will be drinking a fabulous wine with this brisket later this evening. I will let you know which wine we choose and if it's worthy of a brisket. :)


Hello Fellow Wine Lovers

I am 27 years old and in the beginning stages of a long love affair with wine. This love affair started about 2 years ago. My mom started going to wine tastings while I was away at law school. When I came home to visit I would join her. My mom is a huge wine-oh. We have met so many great people by going to wine tastings. So after two years of honing my wine skills by trying hundreds of wine... I know a little something about wine.

I am not an expert, but I do enjoy sharing great wine with others. I started this blog to share my wine experiences with you. I want to learn much more about wine and this blog will help me do so.

I want you to come to my blog if you are ever in need of a good bottle of wine. We must be in good company if William Shakespeare and Thomas Jefferson were wine aficionados. :) Lets keep great wine flowing.