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By Giuliano Bortolleto

On my last post I said that would write a few words about the tasting of some Zinfandel red wines from California. So, lets go. I am going to talk about three Zinfandel wines from three different producers, so we can check the differences out.

Wente Vineyards - Zinfandel 2005 This is a great producer, located next to the city of San Francisco, on the Livemore Valley, north of the California State. At the Valley there is a warm climate, with high temperature during the day and low temperature during the night, thanks to the marine breeze that comes from the Pacifico. This is one of the best places to plant Zinfandel in Califronia. The result is a fresh wine, not very tannic. A lots of mulberry and raspberry notes. The oak also brings some chocolate notes.

Seghesio - Alexander Valley Home Ranch Zinfandel 2007, Red Wines

Seghesio - Alexander Valley Home Ranch Zinfandel 2007: That’s one of the most important producers of the California’s State. This wine was awarded with unbelieveble 93 on the Wine Spectator Magazine, and it was chosen as the 10th best wine of 2008. The Seghesio is a centenarian family that has been making their wines in northern Sonoma County and farms with more than 400 acres of Zinfandel vines in Dry Creek and Alexander valleys. This very special wine bring some strong notes of black fruits such as plum and mulberry. With some time resting at the glass it will widely open the wine bouquet and some very nice dry fruit aroma will emerge. The oak presence is noted, but it is never over the fruit flavours. Very complex wine, with good acidity.

J. Lohr - Painter Bridge Zinfandel 2005 This wine is a litte bit different from the other two. There are only 8 acres of Zinfandel vineyards at the Paso Robles Vineyards, in San Luis Obispo County. That’s also a hot region, which brings a grat amount of sugar to the fruit. The wine transmits this sweetness, as well as great red and black fruit flavours. The Syrah brings some spice and also black tea notes to the aroma. Velvety texture in the mouth.

By Giuliano Bortolleto, january 26th of 2009

You have already noticed that I have talked about the Malbec from Argentina a couple of times this month. I am writing an academic work about this matter and I thought that woulb be interesting to share this knowledge with you. Here I am going to show some very nice Malbecs that I have already tasted.

The argentinean Malbec use to be a very good option in terms of price and quality. That’s because the Argentina have recieved a lot of european investments. Many wine producers from the old world had their attention called to new opportunities of cultivating the vines in other parts of the globe. Many researches were made in order to detect the best terroirs in very different contries. Undoubtedly, Argentina is one of the contries that have received a really great number of external investments in its viniculture, at the 70s, and mostly at the 80s and 90s.

The foreign wine producers helped a lot the argentinean vitiviniculre. They have brought aknowledge, new technics, enologists internationally known who came to work there, and more important, by the begining of the 90s, as the aregntinean economy was passing throught a very good moment, they have also brought high technology in temrs of vitiviniculture, which have put Argentina in a very high degree among the wine producers countries.

Today, Argentina has several foreign producers, disseminating their old culture of producing wines in this new territory, with a fantastic capacity of produce great wines. Mendoza, specially, the principal wine producer region of the country, has the perfect terroir to take care of the Malbec grapes in the best possible way. A great themical amplitude during the day, which garanties a great amount of sugar to the fruit and helps the sap changes, a very dry climate, what is simply amazing to the healthiness of the grape, besides the great high where the fruit is cultivated.

The most wonderfull thing is that the european producers firs wanted just to elaborate wines with some cliché blends, like the Bordeaux’s ones, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot. Other tried to do some experiences with the spanish Tempranillo. In fact, the first internationally rewarded argentinean wines were made from this well-known grapes. However, after the Malbec clonal selection conduced by the INTA (National Institute of Agronomic Technology), many producers stared to believe in the quality of the grape from Cahors. In the latest years, the Malbec potential has sturdily increased, adn the highest level of excelence that this grape can reach is still unknown.

Giuliano Bortolleto, 21th january of 2009

Cheval des Andes | Red Wines

The Cheval Blanc Chatêau is one of the oldest and most internationally recognized wines of Bordeaux. The wine is one of the two “Premier Grand Cru” Class A in the region of Saint Emilion. This famous Chatêau, as many other european producers decided to invest in the New World, in order to find a good terroir to produce a fine blend wine, with a superior quality, as they have France. So, Pierre Lurton, the Cheval Blanc enologist, went to Argentina and found a 76 years vineyard in Mendoza, very able to produce great wines, in terms of quality.

As soon as he found this terrain he thought abou what could be done. So, the Cheval Blanc Chatêau made a partnership with the winery Terrazas de los Andes, which belongs to the french group LVMH (Louis Viton Moet Hennessy), in order to produce a wine that would had the characteristics of the local region (the “terroir”), and a french blend from Bordeaux. The result of that is the Cheval des Andes wine, which appeared in the market in 2003.

The Cheval des Andes firsly had in its composition a litte more than 50% of Cabernet Sauvignon, about 40% of Malbec, an the rest of Petit Verdot. Now, the wine has a larger percentage of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, and a litte amount of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The wine stay for 18 months in french oak barrels of first use.

The wine has a very strong and bright red to purple color. Its bouquet is formidable. A mixture of black and red fruits (strawberry, cherry, mulberry, plum), some mint and also black chilli, and a very refined smell of chocolate and tobaco, due to the contact to the oak. It has a great body, a good consistence and a huge persistence in the mouth. The wine is very unctuous. We can say that this is about a superb wine. And its price is very inviting.

Port Wine and Chocolates

June 26th, 2008

Chocolate
By Giuliano Bortolleto - 6/26/08

Undoubtedly, there is no better wine to pair with chocolates than a port one. May the chocolate be bitter or not. The Port wine is the only one which can support the high sweetness of the chocolate, due to its great intensity and complexity of strong flavors, making the port a potent wine, capable of pairing with so many foods of strong flavors. Although the chocolate might be very sweet and delicate, it stays on the mouth and on the tongue of whoever eats, forming a layer which is very awkward to be removed by a wine, even that this wine is a very strong one, such an urugayan tannat
.
That`s why the Port wine is the best choice on pairing wines with chocolates, in my opinion. Another good pick is a sparkling wine. The sparkling produces the perlage, which is very good to clean your mouth, no matter what you have eaten before. Sparkling wines are very versatiles and pair with almost all types of foods. However, only a Port can clean your mouth and tongue an at the same time harmonize with the chocolate, creating a strong, but delicious combination, emphasizing the flavors of both chocolate and Port wine. Port can be paired with other heavy foods such gorgonzola cheese and also ice creams.
Port Wine

Try yourself. Cheers!

Blueberries | Red Wines
You can also use these recipes using Saskatoon Berries, Bilberries or Cranberries in place of the Blueberries.

Ingredients:

Blueberry Wine

* 4 to 5 cups blueberries
* 5 cups granulated sugar
* 2 teaspoon acid blend
* 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
* 1 teaspoon nutrients
* 2 campden tablet
* 1 package wine yeast
* water

Blueberry Port

* 6 pounds (12 cups) blueberries
* 1/2 cup Dry malt
* 4 cups granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon acid blend
* 1/2 teaspoon pectic enzyme
* 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
* 2 campden tablet
* 1 package Sherry or Port yeast
* water

1. Crush the fruit. Add 12 cups of water and all other ingredients except the yeast. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Let sit overnight.
2. Specific gravity should be between 1.090 and 1.095. Sprinkle yeast over the mixture and stir. Stir daily for five days.
3. Strain the must and squeeze the juice out. Siphon into secondary fermentor, add water to make up volume and attach airlock.
4. For a dry wine, rack in three weeks, and every three months for one year. Bottle.
NOTE: You must finish wine dry if making Port.
5. For a sweet wine, rack at three weeks. Add 1/2 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup wine. Stir gently, and place back into secondary fermentor. 6.

Repeat process every six weeks until fermentation does not restart with the addition of sugar. Rack every three months until one year old.

Bottle

- The wine is best if you can refrain from drinking it for one full year from the date it was started.
- Age all wines one year or more.

NOTE:

If desired, 1 cup red grape concentrate may be added to the Blueberry Wine at the time of bottling for a fuller flavour. If used, also add 1/2 teaspoon Stabilizer to prevent restarting fermentation.

Source: http://scorpius.spaceports.com/~goodwine/blueberrywine.htm


Blueberry Wine, A Wine for All Seasons

Vaccinium corymbosum L. (Ericaceae) - Latin for blueberry

Blueberry Wine | Red WinesAlthough grapes grow throughout the world, the winter weather in western Massachusetts is severe by any standard. Vinifera grapes, i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, etc. cannot grow at our elevation (1,370′ above sea level). French hybrid grapes, i.e. Seyval Blanc or Vidal Blanc, may grow but we haven’t tried. But blueberries grow here in abundance. They grow wild and are also cultivated within a five mile radius around the winery. Blueberry wine can be made in a variety of product styles. The wine can be made dry or sweet, still or effervescent, light or strong, and all of it is delicious.

Blueberries are indigenous to North America. They have been a part of the American tradition since the pilgrims. The Native Americans associated the blueberry, or “starberry” (just look at the star design on the bottom of one) with the Great Spirit. It was thought that “starberries” were sent to Earth to end a period of famine. Wild blues were eaten fresh in Summer and dried or made into a paste for medicine, food, teas, juice, syrup and dye in the Winter.

We don’t know for a fact, but we can hope that blueberries were served at the first Thanksgiving at the other end of Massachusetts. We like to think they may have served blueberry wine.

At Thanksgiving, drink Blueberry Wine…
An American Wine For An American Tradition.

Source: http://www.blueberrywine.com/WhyBlueberryWine.htm


Koren Raspberry Wine | Red WinesIf you ever wondered how grapes can ferment into something that tastes totally unlike grapes, get this: a Korean black raspberry wine that tastes just like grapes.

Smells just like Hi-C, or Welches Grape Soda, or even grapes. Go figure.

It’s absolutely cheap, cost around $4.50.

Raspberry Wine | Red Wines

March 4th, 2008


Raspberry Wine | Red WinesThe red-fruited raspberry is one of about a dozen or so varieties of the raspberry species native to the United States and Canada. Raspberries belong to the rubus genus, of which there are 300-400 species in the temperate regions of the world. The botanical name is Rubus strigosus, but it’s commonly called the red raspberry. It is found throughout the U.S. Rocky Mountain states, the midwest and New England, and throughout Canada south of the Artic circle. It can most often be found along the margins of woodlands, streambeds, clearings, roadsides, and abandoned fields. The plant forms a subshrub to 2 meters high, with canes spreading to trailing along the ground. New canes often have a whitish cast, and all are armed with unusually numerous prickles and stiff hairs. The berries form from white to greenish-white flowers that grow in clusters of 2-5 along the upper reaches of the canes in June and July. The berries are globular in shape–or nearly so–and a half-inch to nearly an inch in size and turn from light green to rose, then bright red, ripening from July to September. When ripe, the berries are juicy, separate easily from their stalk, and are very popular among birds and other wildlife.

Red raspberries make a fragrant, subtle wine. It should be made dry so that a subtle hint of tartness carries its distinctive flavor to the sides of the tongue as it is sipped, chilled. The recipes below make one gallon each. If you make two, you can combine the pressed pulp and make a “second” wine which, although weaker, will still be acceptable.

RED RASPBERRY WINE (1)

* 3-4 lbs fresh red raspberries
* 2-1/4 lbs finely granulated sugar
* 1/2 tsp acid blend
* 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
* 1/8 tsp grape tannin
* 7-1/2 pints water
* 1 tsp yeast nutrient
* 1 crushed Campden tablet
* Champagne wine yeast

Pick only ripe berries. Combine water and sugar and put on to boil, stirring occasionally. Wash and destem berries. Put in nylon straining bag, tie, put in botton of primary, and crush berries in bag. Pour boiling sugar-water over berries to set the color and extract the flavorful juice. Add acid blend, tannin and yeast nutrient. Allow to cool to 70 degrees F. and add crushed Campden tablet. Cover primary with plasticwrap secured with a large rubber band. Add pectic enzyme after 12 hours and wine yeast after additional 12 hours, resecuring plastic wrap eachtime. Stir daily for a week, replacing plastic wrap if it looks like it needs it. Remove nylon bag and allow to drip drain about an hour,keeping primary covered as before. Do not squeeze bag. Return drippings to primary and use bag of pulp for “second” wine if you made a doublerecipe (combine bags, but only make one gallon of “second” wine). Continue fermentation in primary another week, stirring daily. Rack to secondary, top up with water and fit airlock. Use a dark secondary or wrap with brown paper (from paper bag) to preserve color. Ferment additional 2 months, then rack into clean secondary. Refit airlock and rack after additional 2 months. Wait another 2 months, rack again and bottle into dark glass. Drink after one year. This is an excellent dry wine, but don’t rush it! You must ferment the full 6 months and age another year. Serve chilled. The “second” wine uses the same recipe, but without the Campden tablet or pectic enzyme–and the sugar water MUST be cooled before pouring over fruit or you will kill the yeast still in the fruit. [Adapted from Terry Garey’s The Joy of Home Winemaking]

RED RASPBERRY WINE (2)

* 2-1/2 lbs ripe red raspberries
* 2-1/2 lbs granulated sugar
* 1 tsp acid blend
* 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
* 1/4 tannin
* 7-2/3 pints boiling water
* 1 crushed Campden tablet
* 1 tsp yeast nutrient
* wine yeast

Use only sound ripe berries. Wash and destem berries. Crush berries and put all ingredients except yeast in primary. Pour boiling water over ingredients and stir well to dissolve sugar. Cover with plastic wrap until cooled to 70-75 degrees F. Add yeast, recover, and stir daily 5-6 days or until S.G. drops to 1.040. Strain out fruit pulp and press to extract juice. If you make a double recipe, the pressed pulp can be used to make a “second” wine (use pulp from two batches, but only make 1 gal. “second” wine). Siphon off sediments into secondary, top up, fit airlock, and set in dark, cooler (60-65 degrees F.) place. Rack in 3 weeks and agin in 3 months. Rack again and bottle when clear. Store in dark place to preserve color. Age one year. For “second” wine, use pulp form 2 batches and rest of recipe above, but without the Campden tablet or pectic enzyme–and the sugar water MUST be cooled before pouring over fruit or you will kill the yeast still in the fruit. Also age “second” wine one year. [Adapted from Stanley F. Anderson and Raymond Hull’s The Art of Making Wine]

Source: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/redrasp.asp


Fetească Neagră | Red WinesFetească Neagră (IPA: [fe.’teas.kə ‘nea.grə]) is an old pre-phylloxeric variety of grape, indigenous to Romania. It is grown in several areas in the Romanian regions of Moldavia and Muntenia.

These grapes produce dry, semi-dry or sweet wines, with an alcohol content of 12-12.5%, a deep red colour with ruby shades, and a black currant flavour, which becomes richer and smoother with aging.

In Hungary, it is called Fekete Leányka and it is grown from a variety originating from Transylvania.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feteasc%C4%83_Neagr%C4%83

Grenache | Red Wines

March 3rd, 2008


Grenache Noir | Red WinesGrenache (pronounced gren-ash) (in Spanish, Garnacha, in Catalan, Garnatxa) is probably the most widely planted variety of red wine grape in the world. It ripens late, so needs hot, dry conditions such as those found in Spain and in the south of France. It is generally spicy, berry-flavoured and soft on the palate with a relatively high alcohol content, but it needs careful control of yields for best results. It tends to lack acid, tannin and colour, and is usually blended with other varieties such as Syrah, Carignan and Cinsaut.

Grenache is the dominant variety in most Southern Rhône wines, especially in Châteauneuf-du-Pape where it is typically over 80% of the blend. In Australia it is typically blended in “GSM” blends with Syrah and Mourvèdre.

Grenache is also used to make rosé wines in France and Spain, notably those of the Tavel district in the Côtes du Rhône. And the high sugar levels of Grenache have led to extensive use in fortified wines, including the red vins doux naturels of Roussillon such as Banyuls, and as the basis of most Australian ‘port’.

Species: Vitis vinifera
Also called: Alicante, Cannonau, Garnacha (more)
Origin: Spain
Notable regions: Rhône, Sardinia, Spain

History

Grenache may have originated in Spain, probably in Aragon or Catalonia, but has since spread over the Pyrenees into southern France and the rest of the Mediterranean. It is the same grape variety as Cannonau which is claimed to originate in Sardinia. This might imply that it is really from Sardinia, and was imported to Spain when Sardinia was under Aragón rule.

Clones, mutants and crosses

Like the Pinot family, Grenache comes in ‘black’, ‘grey’ and ‘white’ versions, plus a mutant with an altered epidermis.

The standard “black Grenache” is known as “Garnatxa Fina” in Catalan, and is the most common version.

The “hairy Grenache” is also known by names such as Lladoner Pelud (see below). The leaves look similar to Macabeo, but with fine little hairs. Recent research in Spain into this bizarre clone indicates that is produces smaller berries with a thicker skin, which suggests a greater potential than the original for making fine wine. This is an active area of investigation.

Grenache Gris is widely planted in France in particular, but is declining under the current vine pull schemes.

Grenache blanc is a major variety in its own right, particularly in France, where it is an important component of many white wines from the Rhône. It is often blended with Roussanne.

Grenache Noir was crossed with Petit Bouschet to give Alicante Bouschet, sometimes called Garnacha Tintorera. It was an important grape during Prohibition, as its thick skins survived being transported from Californian vineyards to consumers, who were allowed to make small amounts of wine at home.

In 1961, a cross between Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon produced the French wine grape Marselan.

Distribution and wines

Australia

A clone from Perpignan arrived in Australia with James Busby in 1832 collection. More significant was the introduction into South Australia of new cuttings from the South of France, by Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold in 1844. Plantings in South Australia boomed, particularly in McLaren Vale, the Barossa Valley and Clare Valley. Traditionally much of the production went into a fortified wine sold as ‘port’, but recently interest has turned to unfortified wines either as a single varietal or in “GSM” blends with Shiraz (Syrah) and Mataro (Mourvèdre). These wines are often the product of old vines grown in excellent conditions, and can be very successful.

France

Grenache can make three very different styles of wine in France, where it is planted on nearly 100,000 hectares in the Rhône valley and across the huge vineyards of Languedoc-Roussillon, where it may be known as Alicante or Carignane Rousse. As a single varietal it makes rosé wines throughout the region, although the most famous are from the Tavel district of the Côtes du Rhône. Grenache is best known for making dry red wines, sometimes as a single varietal but more commonly blended with more chewy grapes such as Cinsault and Mourvèdre. It forms the basis of the red wines of Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where 12 other grapes can be included in the blend. Emmanuel Reynaud of Château Rayas in Chateauneuf du Pape, and Philippe Laurent of Domaine du Gramenon are notable proponents of Grenache as a single varietal.

Grenache is also used in vins doux naturels, sweet fortified wines from French Catalonia. Banyuls is the best known of the red vins doux naturels, but they are also made in Maury and Rivesaltes.

Italy

Grenache is known as Cannonau in Sardinia, where it may have originated and is still common.

Spain

Garnacha (Garnatxa in Catalan) used to be the most widely planted variety in its homeland of Spain, but has now been surpassed by the fast-expanding Tempranillo. It is still the dominant variety in southern Aragón, particularly in the Cariñena, Calatayud and Campo de Borja appellations. In the famous Catalan wine producing region of Priorat it is traditionally blended with the dominant Carignan. In Terra Alta, just southwest of the Priorat, the blend is often the same but many wineries have been begun to blend it with Cabernet and Syrah.

USA

Grenache is grown in California’s Central Valley.

Vine and viticulture

The vine is upright, with good wind tolerance. Its natural vigour must be controlled for best results. The three-lobed leaves are yellowy-green, with no hairs on the undersurface unless it’s the ‘hairy’ clone mentioned above. The medium-sized bunches are conical and winged, with blue-black berries.

In commercial production, the vine tends to alternate, with one ‘good’ year of production, followed by a ‘lighter’ year whilst it recuperates.

Synonyms

Abundante, Aleante, Aleantedi Rivalto, Aleante Poggiarelli, Alicant Blau, Alicante, Alicante Grenache, Aragones, Bois Jaune, Cannonaddu, Cannonadu Nieddu, Cannonau, Cannonau Selvaggio, Canonazo, Carignane Rosso, Elegante, Francese, Garnaccho Negro, Garnacha Comun, Garnacha Negra, Garnacha Roja, Garnacha Tinta, Garnatxa Negra, Garnatxa Pais, Gironet, Granaccia, Granaxa, Grenache Noir, Grenache Rouge, Kek Grenache, Lladoner, Mencida, Navaro, Navarra, Navarre de la Dordogne, Navarro, Negru Calvese, Ranconnat, Red Grenache, Redondal, Retagliadu Nieddu, Rivesaltes, Rousillon Tinto, Roussillon, Rouvaillard, Sans Pareil, Santa Maria de Alcantara, Tentillo, Tintella, Tintilla, Tinto Aragones, Tinto Menudo, Tinto Navalcarnero, Tocai Rosso, Toledana and Uva di Spagna.

Synonyms for the hairy Grenache include Garnatca Peluda, Garnatxa Pelud, Lladoner Gris, Lladoner Pelud and Lledoner Pelut.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannonau

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