Wines

Pack the Perfect Picnic with Red Wine in a Can

Picnics are a great way to enjoy some time outdoors with your friends and family. Aside from the obvious enjoyment of basking in the sun, picnics also make for great memories that will last you a lifetime.

So, how do you prepare for the perfect picnic that’ll leave you wanting more? Below, we’ll share with you the best picnic packing list to make your next picnic picture perfect.

What to pack to make the perfect picnic?

When you’re packing for a picnic, you’ll want to make sure you bring along the essentials to make it a great afternoon out. Aside from checking ahead for good weather, here is a list of things you’ll want to put in your picnic bag. You could also use a picnic basket for that extra Instagrammable experience.

  • A picnic mat: These are mats you’ll have to lay down so you can sit on the grass or beach. Picnic mats come in a variety of colors and designs, so you can pick what suits your mood best.
  • Wet wipes: As picnics are usually held in a park or beach, it may be hard to find a spot to clean your hands after. Bringing wet wipes ensures you can keep your hands clean even after you’ve enjoyed your meal.
  • Utensils: If you’re looking to serve full meals at a picnic, then utensils will be a must on your picnic packing list. You may opt to use disposable utensils instead of your regular silverware. This not only makes your cleaning up easier but is also more convenient to pack, and you won’t have to worry about losing your utensils along the way.
  • Food: No picnic will ever be complete without some finger food. You can make it as simple as you want with finger sandwiches or chips or add some flair to your picnic with some homemade mac and cheese.
  • Wine in a can: To complete your picnic experience, you’ll want to have some wine. While you could bring a large bottle of wine along, you’ll also have to go through the hassle of bringing a corkscrew and glasses for sharing. Packing red wine in a can eliminates all that hassle, so you can enjoy your picnic straight from the basket.
  • Bags for cleaning up: Finally, you’ll want to be sure you have bags to throw your rubbish in. Keeping the picnic area clean is a shared responsibility so everyone can enjoy the facility together.

Why red wine in a can?

Gone are the days when you’ll have to lug around a full bottle of red wine and be forced to bring a corkscrew as well as wine glasses to a picnic. Red wine in a can allows you to enjoy crisp tasting red wine in just a matter of seconds. It’s convenient to carry around, and you can enjoy it almost anywhere you’d like.

Red wine in a can also eliminate the dangers of having glass around the picnic areas, where it is usually not allowed after all. Subsequently, you also won’t have to worry about finishing a full bottle of wine, as canned red wines are usually portion controlled, so you can drink a can and recycle the packaging after.

Finally, canned wines are easier to store. While most red wines in conventional glass bottles may ask that you keep them away from direct sunlight, this becomes less of a worry for canned wines. Although you should keep it cool where possible, canned wines are less likely to have an altered taste than conventional wines after a day in the sun.

The Dynamic and Differences of Cabernet

A Cabernet wine is a great choice for a hearty winter meal or an outdoor barbecue event, and there are The Dynamics and Differences of Cabernet Wine that will be the deciding factor when ordering multiple bottles of this wine. This wine typically has a deeper red hue, and it is refreshing to have when consuming a steak or a meal with beef. This wine is produced in Europe, the United States and different areas of the world. This is a great drink to introduce to a husband who enjoys lounging on the patio during summer months consuming BBQ ribs. The characteristics of this wine are complex and full bodied. It is a renowned red wine that tastes delicious when served chilled. There is also a slightly sweet taste to this drink when it is consumed. The buyer will need to decide on the amount of wine that will be needed when planning a large gathering. The flavor will also vary depending on the region where the grapes where grown and harvested. The winery can give the finished product a fruity taste, or it can be infused with peppery accents. The top note is usually the fruity flavor, and the bottom note may include vanilla, peppers or other flavors.

The blending of these different aromas makes the Cabernet wine the best choice when serving chilli, beef and other meat favorites. The dark flavoring of this wine makes it a favorite for both men and women. Many foods that are high in fat, such as burgers, should be consumed with this type of wine. Bottle of red wine can be ordered well in advance of an event, and they are best stored in a cool slightly dark area. During the day of the event, they can be pulled out and chilled to get the right taste prior to being served to guest. Some people love the flavor of these wines, because they may also have a tobacco taste under the fruit flavor. The winery decides what flavor notes to add to each batch of wine during production. A customer should order several cases of a wine that they like when it is released to store for further consumption. This is a great wine to drink on a cool summer evening as the grill produces mouth-watering burgers and steaks. The flavors in this wine are diverse enough that it will also taste great when served with traditional chicken dinners.

A new buyer can expect to find different flavors in each bottle, which can range from black cherry to licorice. This wine is a great choice, because there are also many affordable options for all budgets. This will make it easy for the party host to order large quantities at a reasonable cost. This is also a great wine to finish an evening of wine tasting, because it can be served with a rich dessert, such as a chocolate mousse. A great bottle can also be used to create the finishing desert recipe. There are many dishes that call for the addition of wine. It can boost the flavor of the meal by being added into the food during the cooking process. Grapes that are used to create a Cabernet wine can grow in dry climates. The finished product may also be created with a blend of different grapes depending on the final results that is being sought after by the winery. The many different flavors that are added ensure that drinkers will always have a wide selection to pick from when ordering this quality wine. The final test is the experience of enjoying this great wine with a tasty meal.

Some blended cabernet wines, such as Call Me a Cab from Miles Wine Cellars, has a unique taste on its own. It’s body has a tasty balance that can be paired well with a wide array of foods. It’s only limited to your imagination.

by Don Stevens

High Altitude Wines: Production And Demand Shows Steady Growth In Colorado

Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words. –Plautus

Colorado has never really stood as a wine connoisseur’s paradise, however in recent years Colorado locals have been turning more towards the high-altitude, home-grown vino than those imported in. Colorado wine drinkers are now buying more local wine and spending more to support their homegrown industry. Compared to last year, wine production in Colorado grew by 14% while sales jumped from $19 million to $28 million.

It is believed that this is due to the wine market in Colorado maturing, where businesses have long been focusing on higher quality and more unique wines while working hard to build up a demand for local wine in the state. Overall this has not been terribly difficult as “anything” homegrown in Colorado is more appreciated by locals than products from outside the state. There is a very real sense of community and duty amongst Coloradoans which drives them to purchase locally. Whether that be foods, clothing, supplies, alcohol, or anything else. This, in part, contributes greatly to the success of the Wine industry in the state.

The Colorado Wine Industry

Again, Colorado has never been known for producing the “best” wine. However Coloradoans are known for doing the best with what they have, and as such, the wine in the state has been generally improving in quality over time. This is evident, at least to Colorado consumers, as sales last year were an all-time high. Overall the Wine industry is still relatively small and accounts for only 2% of total wine sales in Colorado.

The average cost of Colorado wine has been around $17 per bottle. The average cost for all other non-Colorado made bottles of wine is around $6. The ability to charge nearly three times the average cost for a bottle of Colorado wine is indicative that the wine is actually considered to be valuable. Generally, Colorado wine drinkers consider Colorado wine to be a rarity or special occasion wine. This makes sense as not only is the cost greater, but there is far less Colorado wine in the state than there are others.

Beyond direct sales of Colorado wine, the wine industry has begun to become a large contributor to Colorado’s overall tourism industry. High altitude wine tours, especially around Grand Junction where many of the state’s wineries are located, have begun to become popular. Compared to Napa Valley, or any vineyard in France or Italy, a Colorado wine tour may seem like a novelty vacation trip.

However, novelties wear off in time, and wine driven tourism in Colorado has been growing steadily along with sales. Colorado wine tourism generates over $100 million annually in direct and indirect economic sales. Overall it is estimated that the wine industry in Colorado is worth around $144 million which is relatively small, but does contribute greatly to the state’s overall agricultural industry.

To take a 20 year look at how far Colorado wine has come, let’s simply consider a few things. For starters in 1993, roughly 30,000 gallons of Colorado wine was produced and Colorado wine producers owned an estimated .5% of the total market share in the state. Compare this to 2013 when nearly 335,000 gallons of wine was produced, and Colorado wine producers owned roughly 5.5% of the total market share. So over a 20 year period, wine production grew by 1,016% and at an average rate of 50% annually. Though, the greatest increases in production occurred between 2000-2010 while the greatest increases in total market shared gained was between 2005-2013. So as is for most industries, there are better years than others, but overall, the Colorado Wine industry is doing, well… rather stellar.

What the Future May Hold For the Colorado Wine Industry

Well if we attempt to make assumptions based on its history, the Colorado Wine industry will most likely continue to rise at a constant and steady pace for production, sales, and market share. Of course there is a point where it will begin to slow down, but that doesn’t appear to be any time soon. As Colorado wines become more refined, have higher quality and greater consistency, Wine producers in the state will receive greater attention not only locally, but nationally, and internationally.

The biggest issue the industry faces is simply that most people are unaware that Colorado produces wine. This is even the case for Colorado locals, as often they are surprised to hear of all the vineyards the state has. There is no doubt that Colorado wine is unique, and as time passes; more people will undoubtedly realize this as well. But if you ever come across a bottle yourself, give it a try, there is little doubt you will be pleasantly surprised.

Featured images:
  • License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/85626

The author of this piece is Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this article you can follow me on Twitter @CustParadigm. When I’m not writing about wine production, I can generally be found perusing the internet for the best wine deals online, as you never know exactly what you’ll come across.

American Viticultural Areas (AVA) 101

American Viticultural Areas (AVA) 101

Whether you’re a wine aficionado or someone who simply enjoys an occasional once-a-week glass with your dinner, you’ve probably come across wine varieties labeled as AVA. Some people assume this is a particular variety of grape, but this isn’t the case. Understanding AVA and the unique characteristics of each region will allow you to make smarter decisions when it comes to purchasing wine. Don’t worry if you’re still scratching your head trying to make sense of AVA, as we’re going to break down this system and what it means.

AVA, short for American Viticultural Areas, is a wine region classification system governed by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). If a vineyard or winery wants to label their wine as “AVA,” they must file a petition with the TTB, including all of the pertinent information and documents.

While the number of AVAs varies from year to year, there are currently around 206 scattered through the the U.S. Before this system was in place, the origin of U.S. wine was based simply on state and/or country lines. This helped to inform consumers where their wine was coming from, but unfortunately it wasn’t a foil-proof solution. Some of the larger counties throughout the U.S. have several different types of geographical features and climates, resulting in a mixed variety of wine qualities and characteristics; therefore, labeling a wine based on county boundaries wasn’t an accurate way to gauge their qualities.

AVA Requirements

The TTB has a certain list of prerequisites wineries and vineyards must meet if they want to achieve the AVA label. For starters, the AVA label name must refer to a known geographical feature of the area, such as Leelanau Peninsula for instance. Unfortunately, wineries aren’t given the freedom to choose any name for their AVA; the name must refer to either a locally or nationally known geographic feature.

Another AVA requirement set forth by the TTB is evidence showing terrior of the region is unique. Terrior, as some of you may already know, is the set of climate, soil and other regional characteristics that contributes to wine production. In order for a winery to have their region designated as AVA, it must show the TTB that terrior in the region is unique and not found in other AVAs.

After establishing a new AVA, the winery must produce at least 85% of the grapes labeled on the bottle in the region. This is a unique condition that’s not found in Europe’s AOC system of classifying winemaking regions.

So, what are some of the top AVAs? If you asked ten different wine critics, you’d probably get ten different answers. Don’t get caught up on the regions, or date, when the wine was produced. Instead, focus on the actual characteristics of the wine (flavor, aroma and texture) to determine whether it’s suited to your liking. With that said, California’s Napa Valley AVA and Sonoma Valley AVA are two of of the most notable AVAs in the country.

Amy is a content writer for Wine Refrigerator Now. She thoroughly enjoys writing about interesting wine facts as well as drinking wine.

Best Wine And Cheese Combinations For Evening Buffets And Dinners

 

Wines have the potential to bring out the best aromas and flavors in many different recipes. Since cheese is a popular ingredient used in a wide variety of dishes, it complements the tastes of various wines. If you’re planning to throw a cocktail party for your friends, you might want to pair them up. Pairing wine and cheese for a party can be a tricky and challenging task, however. You need to consider the strength of wine and different flavors of cheese so that they do not overpower the other.

Does that spark an idea? Here are a few simple tips you can follow.

Things to Consider

1) First of all, you need to determine the type of wine you wish to serve. The kind of cheese you choose for the menu depends upon the type of wine you select.

2) You can either look for the best cocktail recipes that feature several varieties of cheeses or plan the entire menu around specific cheese dishes. Look for local treats that complement an Alsatian Riesling or an Oregon Pinot Noir since they’re the popular members of buffets and dinners.

3) You can use recipes that feature the best varieties of cheese and explore the breweries to find wines that complement their tastes. Include dishes that feature common cheese varieties (like cheddar) that can be paired with a wide range of beverages.

4) Match local cuisines with wines belonging to a particular country or region. For instance, you can serve Bacon & Leek Quiche, Chicken Fricassee with Tarragon and Parsleyed potato wedges with quality French wines like 2006 Bourgogne Chardonnay, 2005 Chateau Mont Redon or Laurent Perrier NV Brut Ultra Champagne.

5) Last but not the least, you can mix and match local cuisines and wines from different regions and countries. For example, Mediterranean cuisine goes well with traditional Californian wines.


Best Wine and Cheese Combinations

# Strong cheese varieties fit with strong wines like Cabernet and Bordeaux. Likewise, you should pair light cheeses with delicate wines like Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.

# Match aged cheeses like Cheddar, Gouda, Le Moulis or Provolone with old wines like Cabernet.

# Dry white wines (Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot and Chardonnay) go with fresh Gouda, Brie, Mozzarella, Baby Swiss and other mild cheeses.

# Sweet, fruity wines like Sauternes and Riesling complement the taste of Provolone, Fontina, Stilton or Roquefort.

# You can pair up creamy Gorgonzola, smoke Gouda, Gruyere, Havarti, smoke Cheddar cheese and smoked Swiss varieties with spicy drinks like Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Shiraz or Syrah.

# Pair up aged Swiss, Cheddar, Pont I’Eveque, Asiago or Taleggion for Merlot or you can choose triple crème cheeses for bubbly and sparkling wines and Champagne. Opt for Cambozola, Boursin or Explorateur.

Feeling creative? Let those creative juices flow! Arrange a potluck party for your guests and ask them to bring their best wine and cheese combinations. Add your personal favorites to the platter and savor the tastes of different members.

Moreover, you can create a special wine and cheese takeaway gift baskets for the guests. Include Swiss, Gorgonzola or Cheddar cheeses, plenty of crackers, caviar and a bottle of canned oysters, pickles or olives. Add fruit slices and potato wedges to the basket. Finish it up with your favorite red or white wines. This is how you design personalized complementary gifts for different occasions!

Featured images:

Anthony Robert, the writer, is a chef and an avid blogger on food and wine. He has featured wines such as chardonnay and pinot gris. He also make wine notes on Taylors Estate Merlot and explores interesting things about its taste.

Grapes You’ll Be Seeing More Often In Napa Valley

Grapes You’ll Be Seeing More Often in Napa Valley

Napa Valley is the most historic and well thought of wine region in the United States, if not the world. As such the choices that vintners and wine growers make in Napa have an inordinate amount of impact on the wider wine market than you might expect for a wine region that currently produces only 2% of the nations wine grapes. Napa, unlike its arch rival in Bordeaux though has both a reputation as well as a culture to innovate. Here are the grapes that you’ll be seeing more of in the coming years in NapaValley:

Grenache:

A combination of a look into cooler climate varietals along with the simple fact that the warmer vineyard sites simply cost too much money are pushing Napa land owners into increasingly cooler environments to grow their grapes. A great example of this is the Grenache grape, which when grown in warm environments simply makes good keg wine, or jug wine at your local grocery store, but when it is grown in cooler conditions can be every bit as complex as Pinot Noir. NapaValley is a relatively small geographic area with a rather unbreakable land trust that only allows planting on a limited number of acres, meaning new vineyards are being planted further and further away from its geographical center in Rutherford. One growth area is the Carneros region, which is actually shared by NapaValley and next door Sonoma, but more importantly sits directly on top of the San FranciscoBay. You have both Bay and river cooling going on, as well as strong winds blowing across the bay from the Pacific Ocean. Yes, there’s plenty of fog as anyone whom has ever seen a picture of the Golden GateBridge can attest. The final results are one of the coldest growing regions in California, but a haven for Pinot Noir and likely Grenache as well.

Riesling:

If you are not a fan of German wine, you may have never actually had a Riesling before. Riesling is a white wine grape that needs cooler growing conditions (thus its inclusion here) and produces a sweeter white wine that carries some residual sugar. A generation ago that residual sugar would have only disqualified Riesling from ever receiving good vineyard sites in America, but times are changing. Millenials are all the rage when it comes to the wine industry, for good reason. They are the first generation of Americans to drink more wine than beer from the first day they were allowed to legally purchase alcohol. They also grew up in the exact middle of the soda wars, meaning most of them are completely accustomed to sweeter drinks. One of the things they’re already shown a willingness to do, is to discount common wine knowledge for wines that they simply like better, or that they feel fit their palates more easily. Riesling is one grape likely to benefit from all of this, largely because it is a sweet wine, that never gained market share in America because it is difficult to pronounce-two strikes that don’t exist with the youngest and most serious generation of wine drinkers that this country has ever seen.

Featured images:

By Mark Aselstine

Mark Aselstine is the owner of Uncorked Ventures, an online wine club recently rated among the best wine clubs in America by Forbes Magazine. He is constantly in search of the best wines in Napa Valley and beyond for his wine club members who allow him to deliver two unknown bottles to their doors each and every month.

Spanish Wines.

Every so often, you find that completely delectable wine that becomes your new favourite. From a great range of countries, you can find some of the best flavours that can revolutionise your palate. If you’d like to taste the best of Spain, you should look no further than one of the many Spanish wines on offer to you.

 

With particular regards to their Rioja exports, Spanish wines are some of the most crisply rich drinks you can find from any country and are finding a second home in other places all of the time with particular regards to the United Kingdom who have completely embraced it.

 

First-time sampler of these great wines? Here are a few classifications to help you understand the difference between the premium and the table fare.

 

Denominación de Origen (DOC)

Above and beyond the elite, the wines found in this classification are the best you could ever hope to drink from Spain.

 

In fact, these premier tipples are so highly thought of that only the regions of Rioja and Priorat have ever had the distinction of the label and should be interested in a bottle, it would be quite the handsome price but one that is totally deserved.

 

Vino de la Tierra

These are one of those rarities in the wine world that not only offer superb quality but also are also available at an outstanding price.

 

Were you to pick up one of these humble drinks, you’d be treated to what comes under the category of “wines of the land” which speaks for the adoration it holds with the Spanish people and those lucky enough to sample it in other countries.

 

Vino de Mesa

The slightly poorer cousins to the above classifications, wines that attain this label are not as desired but still offer that distinctive Spanish taste.

 

Typically lacking in a labelling of its region or a vintage year, these tastes are thought of as “table wine” and are usually enjoyed as a light refreshment to couple with a decent, hearty meal.

 

Now that you know a bit more about Spanish wines, you should feel a lot more knowledgeable when you go to pick out your first bottle and is doubtlessly a taste that you won’t forget in a hurry.