Cheers and clinking glasses.

What is the origin of cheers and clinking glasses? Ask The Wine Ladies.

Dear Wine Ladies,

At a recent pub gathering a few friends and I we were in a particularly celebratory mood and proceeded to clink our glasses and boisterously announce “cheers” every chance we got. I was just wondering how this custom got started? Why do we say cheers when we clink our glasses and can we only participate with an alcoholic drink?

Robin, Detroit Michigan

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Dear Robin,

Great questions! There are a couple of theories out there as to why we clink and cheer. The most interesting of which dates back to ancient times and protecting ones self from the possibility of an untimely death by poison. The custom began with a host pouring some of his guests wine into his own drinking vessel. Then drinking it first to prove that the drink was safe. This then evolved into clanking the vessels together. Quite assertively, so that a little of each drink would spill into the others. This practice of course proving that all could be trusted. One other explanation we’ve come across states that the clanking of the glasses was meant to drive away any evil spirits.

The word cheer actually comes from the Latin word for face and was used to describe facial expressions, whether “cheer-ful” or not. In the early 18th century it came to signify happiness and eventually became a gesture of best wishes, celebration and camaraderie.

As to restrictions on participation, although any records we could find point to wine and/or beer being the beverage with which to cheer, we say anything goes! Cheers! Prost! Salut! Na zdravje or Skal from around the world!

The Wine Ladies

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Episode #9.

Happy #ChampagneDay! Celebrate the unique sparkling wine that only comes from Champagne @TheWineLadies.

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Wine Cellar Aroma

Dear Wine Ladies,

My husband is quite proud of his wine cellar, which currently holds about 200 bottles, half of its capacity. Lately he’s been complaining about the cellar smelling like mould.

We’re guessing that is not a desirable aroma to have emanating from one’s wine cellar and are wondering where do we go from here? How did the mould get there? Any suggestions?

Dale

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Steen

Can you tell me about the grape steen from South Africa? Ask The Wine Ladies

Steen

Steen

Dear Wine Ladies,

Up until now I’d never had the opportunity to taste any wines from South Africa but had a delicious white wine recently made from a grape that I believe was called “steen”.

This grape is new to me as well. What can you tell me about it? Is it a new wine or just not very popular? Some-one recommended we try a wine called Lammershok that is suppose to now be available, saying it was made with this grape but we are unable to find it.

Allison

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Dear Allison,

Steen is actually the name of the most planted white grape variety in South Africa, which is more commonly known as Chenin Blanc. The wine you are referring to which comes from the winery Lammershoek, is labelled Chenin Blanc Barrique 2007 and is currently available at the LCBO for $18.95. This is a full bodied wine, at 14.5% alc., is barrel fermented in French oak and is very rich – it has notes of spice and honey with a long finish. The grapes were hand picked from forty year old vines, and the yield was kept to a minimum resulting in a complex wine which is well worth the price.

Chenin Blanc, or Steen has the ability to make some wonderful wines in a broad range of styles. At one end of the spectrum, it is capable of producing some of the longest living sweet wines while at the other it is sometimes used for table wines (mostly in South Africa) and even for the base wine for fortified wines and spirits. It does have a natural high acidity which serves it well in hotter climates, often producing lively wines with good fruit and with a flavour reminiscent of honey. Steen, or Chenin Blanc is also called Pineau or Pineau de la Loire in its native region, the Loire, located in the northwestern part of France.

Chateau Fortia

How many grapes make up a Chateauneuf-du-Pape? Ask The Wine Ladies.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Dear Wine Ladies,

A small group of us get together every couple of months and more and more. Wine is becoming an important part of our socials. Last month we had a super red called Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  I heard has to be made of thirteen different kinds of grapes. Is this right? I was also wondering if a white of this wine exists?

Oh, and I have to tell you, I totally enjoy tuning into your audio podcasts. I love all your amazing guests!

Lena

Ask The Wine Ladies

Ask The Wine Ladies- Please submit your questions to info@thewineladies.com

Dear Lena,

No, it is not obligatory to use all thirteen grape varieties when producing a Chateauneuf-du-Pape. However, up to thirteen varieties are permitted. In 1923 the Baron Le Roy of Chateau Fortia, a vigneron of that time in Chateauneuf-du-Pape got together with the other growers and drew up a set of rules for the production of these wines.

Baron Pierre Le Roy de Boiseaumarié of Château Fortia

Baron Pierre Le Roy de Boiseaumarié of Château Fortia

Actually the entire appellation system (appellation d’origine controlee) in France as we know it today, was fashioned after this very set of regulations. Apart from dictating minimum alcohol content (12.5%, the highest in France) and defining an area as permitted to be included in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the Baron also included in the rules ten permissible grape varieties. In 1936 three additional grape varieties were added to the list bringing the total to thirteen. The most prominent grape variety is grenache, with mourvedre and syrah (Shiraz as many know it) in second and third place.

Ask The Wine Ladies. Is there such a wine as a white Chateauneuf-du-Pape?

BBQ

How much alcohol do I need per person for my BBQ? Ask The Wine Ladies.

Alcohol Consumption Standard Unit

Alcohol Consumption Standard Unit

Dear Wine Ladies,

We’re throwing a party in the next couple of weeks to celebrate the completion, finally, of our backyard patio including a built-in barbeque and kitchen! It’s been quite a while since we’ve entertained and are unsure as to how much alcohol or wine to buy; is there some kind of formula to figure out how much we will need? Merci.

Giselle

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Dear Giselle,

Awesome, sound like you’ve got quite the venue for a party! Yes, when it comes to purchasing the wine and/or other alcoholic beverages for any event or party there is a rule of thumb. Basically you should count on one drink per person per hour. Usually in the beginning of the party guests will tend to drink a little faster and as time goes by the consumption will slow down. In the case of wine, a five ounce pour is considered one drink, for beer, a twelve ounce glass and approximately a 1.5 ounce shot for spirits. Be sure to always have plenty of water available as well as a small selection of non alcoholic options.

Sleepy Chardonnay

Dear Wine Ladies,

What does it mean when some-one says “a wine goes to sleep” for a while? Did I hear that right?

Douglas

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Ask The Wine Ladies

Is Port considered a wine and how do they make it so high in alcohol? Ask The Wine Ladies

Taylor Fladgate Port Wine since 1692

Taylor Fladgate Port Wine since 1692

Is Port considered a wine and how do they make it so high in alcohol? Ask The Wine Ladies

Dear Wine Ladies,

Is Port considered a wine and how do they make it so high in alcohol? What is the range of alcohol levels found in Port?

Ask The Wine Ladies

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Germaine

Dear Germaine,

It is actually considered a fortified wine that owes its higher alcohol content to the addition of brandy. This delicious beverage starts off being made as with regular table wines. The grapes are harvested, crushed and de-stemmed leaving one with the must available for fermentation. In the case of this beverage, the wine is only partially fermented, generally to the point at which approximately half of its grape sugar has been converted to alcohol. The wine is then poured off into a vessel that is a quarter full of brandy. The brandy stops the fermentation and leaves a blend that is both strong and sweet.

Taylor Fladgate one of the most sought after ports in the world!

Wine stones or diamonds.

Ask The Wine Ladies. I discovered wine stones in the bottom of my wine bottle, are these dangerous?

Wine stones or diamonds

Wine stones or diamonds

Dear Wine Ladies,
At a recent dinner party I attended the hostess noticed a small amount of sediment that looked like tiny pieces of glass at the bottom of a bottle of white wine from Germany. I was a little hesitant to drink the wine but one of the guests assured us the wine was fine and there was no cause to worry. What were those little pebble-like stones and are they really harmless?

Karen
Newmarket,Ontario

Ask The Wine Ladies

Ask The Wine Ladies- Please submit your questions to info@thewineladies.com

Dear Karen,

Those pebble-like wine stones you are describing are commonly referred to as “wine diamonds” or weinstein which literally translates to “wine stones” in German speaking countries.

What exactly are they and how did they end up at the bottom of the bottle? These wine diamonds are actually harmless crystalline deposits that naturally separate from wines during fermentation and aging. Potassium acid tartrate, the potassium salt of tartaric acid is the major component of this sediment. The presence of tartaric acid, along with malic acid are very important in winemaking as they help provide good structure, fruit flavours, crispness on the palate and an increased lifespan of the wine.

The majority of winemakers today recognize that the consumer is alarmed or put off by the presence of these crystalline deposits even though they are harmless. Rather than educating the public, many wineries employ a process called “cold stabilization” prior to bottling. This involves chilling the wine to just below zero degrees causing the potassium bitartrate to crystallize. The wine is then filtered and bottled. Having the wine undergo this process prior to leaving the winery assures a clean filtered wine with no sediment. In cases where the wine does not undergo cold stabilization at the winery, this precipitation of the tartrates could happen during cold weather transport or cold storage conditions.

Join The Wine Ladies this Nov 2018 for a Rhine River Cruise For Wine Lovers.