Ask The Wine Ladies- What is the difference between Organic and Biodynamic wine?

DEAR THE WINE LADIES,

Probably a little slower than most to jump on the bandwagon as a fan of Australian wine, however, my latest discovery was a delicious Shiraz. It came from a biodynamic winery called Paxton and the wine was Paxton MV Shiraz. Can you tell me a little about this winery and how being biodynamic affects the taste of a wine? I am familiar with organic wines but not with biodynamic.

– JEREMY

DEAR JEREMY,

Absolutely, we’d be happy to. It’s never too late, or better late than never to enjoy and discover new wines. PAXTON, located in McLaren Vale South Australia, is a family owned winery founded in 1979 by David Paxton. Mr. Paxton is recognized as one of Australia’s most highly respected viticulturists, growing grapes of exceptional quality for over thirty years, all biodynamical. The company owns and manages their own vineyards exclusively which are spread across various sites and soil types in the region. Their goal is to showcase the exceptional quality of the fruit, the expression and natural diversity of the grapes, with a particular emphasis on Shiraz, which is well regarded as the region’s top performing variety.

The Paxton MV Shiraz you enjoyed is made with grapes from four of the six biodynamic properties they own and manage. MV ‘McLaren Vale’ or ‘Multiple Vineyard’ “was developed to highlight optimum fruit flavours” says David Paxton. You stand in great company as a fan of this wine, as James Halliday, guru critic of Australian wine rated the 2015 MV Shiraz 92 points.

David Paxton best describes how a wine may be impacted by biodynamic practices.

“Biodynamic is the most advanced form of organic farming. We use natural preparations and composts to bring the soil and vines into balance, resulting in wines that truly showcase our McLaren Vale vineyards.” A few examples of this is the incorporation of bee hives in the vineyards which improves grape pollination, and the use of cow manure as a compost that comes exclusively from Paxton’s own small herd of cows. Why? Because manure tainted with chemical intestinal worm treatments make poor compost and their own cows will ensure the integrity of the compost.

With respect to the added benefits of this type of farming – when the viticulture and the winemaking “work in synchronicity” the result is a naturally elegant wine, that radiates purity, vitality and elegance.

AVAILABLE AT THE LCBO
Paxton MV Shiraz 2015
Shiraz/Syrah
Vintages: 327403

thewineladies.com

As read in Community Captured

Ask The Wine Ladies… How do we lose the extra 5 lbs and still enjoy an occasional glass of wine? Keto//OS

DEAR WINE LADIES,

I’d like to wish you a Happy New Year. Thank you for spreading the joy of wine throughout the year! Once again as we head into 2017 I have a question for you.  How do we lose the extra five pounds we have been gifted and still enjoy an occasional glass of wine?  Which wines are the least caloric?

– Jackie

DEAR JACKIE,

Happy New Year to you as well and we must confess, we too have been similarly gifted!
Here’s the good news, if it is only an occasional glass of wine, and time is not of the essence, the additional 100-125 calories/ 5 ounce glass shouldn’t impede your progress too badly. In fact, there are many diets out there that actually allow for an occasional glass or two such as Weight Watchers and L.A. Weight Loss.  Even the popular ketogenic diet has a place for vino says Dr. Dominic D’Agostino of Keto//OS. In fact there is one company, Dry Farm Wines, deemed “ketogenic friendly”  that we are looking at bringing in, so keep an eye out for that.

We would order cialis from uk like to offer a word of caution though, if you are anything like us, we tend to bring out the assortment of cheeses, dried fruit and nuts to accompany our wine.  This behavior is definitely better reserved for post diet times.

In fact, studies show that total consumption of calories tends to go up when an aperitif or two precedes or accompanies the meal.

Finally we are often asked if the driest wines are the least caloric. Actually the ideal choice is to select wines that are both dry and lower in alcohol. Percentage alcohol is definitely a determining factor when it comes to caloric content. Opt for wines that come from cooler climates such as Germany, Austria, New Zealand and Ontario to name a few.  Cooler climate regions tend to produce lower alcohol wines that are 12% or 12.5% , and Germany has one as low as 9%. If you’d like to learn a little about our keto//OS that keeps us in ketosis, you can visit us here too –  www.thewineladies.pruvitnow.com.

WE’D LIKE TO WISH EVERYONE A HEALTHY AND HAPPY 2017!

Ask The Wine Ladies as read in Community Captured.

Ask The Wine Ladies.Last week a wine reminded me of pears, is this possible?

Le Nez du Vin

Le Nez du Vin

DEAR WINE LADIES,

Last week I had a wine that reminded me of pears so much in the taste and smell, that I wondered if pears were used to make it, or at least added to the wine.
Is this possible? If not, how is it that so many wines are described as having tastes and smells of such a variety of fruits and other foods? I’ve heard of blackberries, plums and even blueberries, not to mention one that really threw me – green peppers! Are there any wines that smell like grapes?

– Erica

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Le Nez du Vin

Le Nez du Vin

DEAR ERICA,

We are pretty sure there are many people out there who are wondering the exact same thing. There is actually a logical explanation for how someone might recognize a variety of familiar smells, such as pears, when it comes to the aroma of a wine. All foods and drinks are made up of a complex combination of molecules, some being more aromatic than others.

Scientists have been able to identify some of these molecules. They have discovered that if present in a certain food and wine, a similar smell can be detected.

Take pears for example.According to “Editions Jean Lenoir” creator of Le Nez du Vin, it’s been demonstrated that hexyl-acetate, one of the typical compounds found in pears, is responsible for the scent of a pear found in wine. Green peppers, sometimes detected in the aroma of Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc, also shares a similar compound called methoxy-2-isobutyl-3pyrazine. The most recent discovery was the peppery character that is often detected in wines such as Shiraz from Australia or Syrah from Rhone. Australian researchers detected a trace of a peppery molecule in Shiraz wines.  They discovered the same molecule in ground white pepper. This peppery character in Shiraz grapes can be identified as a chemical called rotundone.  This is all fascinating information, which explains why winemakers consider winemaking a blend of both science and art.

As read in Community Captured

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

Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Dear The Wine Ladies,

A small group of us get together every couple of months for food and drink. Wine is increasingly becoming an important part of our socials. Last month we had a delicious red wine called Chateauneuf du Pape. Is it true that unique to this wine is that it has to be made with thirteen different kinds of grapes? Basically a Cab or Shiraz kind of guy I was just wondering if I heard this right and also if there might be a white Chateauneuf-du-Pape as well subject to the same regulation?

Stan, New York, New York

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Dear Stan,

Delicious indeed, the wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape definitely rank among some of our faves. Actually Stan, it is not obligatory to use all thirteen grape varieties when producing a Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Vintners have the option to use any of, and/or up to all thirteen specific varietals.  Regulations were actually adjusted and up to eighteen varietals in the last few years. 

How and when did the original regulations come about?

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 wines coming from this region. 

Baron Le Roy Chateau Fortia

Actually the entire appellation system (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) in France as we know it today, was fashioned after this very set of regulations. Rules included dictating a minimum alcohol content. The first time in France, 12.5% the highest in France. 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 prominently used grape variety continues to be Grenache, with Mourvedre and Syrah (Shiraz as many know it) ranked second and third.

There is a white Chateauneuf-du-Pape produced, made of up to six white grape varieties.  It is made only in very small quantities and not regularly available for purchase. 

 Chateauneuf-du-Pape, which translates to “new castle of the Pope”, is an historic village (as well as name of the appellation) between towns Avignon and Orange located in France’s southern Rhone.  It is the best-known wine of the region and typically produces full bodied, powerful, juicy and complex red wines considered among the best of the Rhone Valley. The name dates back to the early 14th century when Avignon was chosen as the new home for the Pope’s court.

The Wine Ladies, Georgia and Susanne 

Ask The Wine Ladies…Is Prosecco a grape or a place?

Dear Wine Ladies,

I am a bit of a novice when it comes to wine. At wedding I discovered recently how much I enjoy a glass of Champagne! I soon realized that this bubbly is a little out of my budget. I have since been introduced to Prosecco from Italy, which I thoroughly enjoy! This delightful bubbly, much more affordable has quickly become somewhat of a staple in our household.

I’d like to learn a little more about it, including my confusion as to whether it’s a grape or a place? Does it have to come from a specific part of Italy to be called Prosecco ? I have learned is the case with Champagne and is it made the same way?

Where can I find a rosé Prosecco, another of my favourites? Thanks Wine Ladies for your help. I am looking forward to learning more and enjoying more of this bubbly as spring approaches.

Hillary
Mississauga

Dear Hillary,

Congratulations, you have now joined the ever growing ranks of wine lovers, whether novice or not, smitten with this lively, delectable and affordable bubbly! Thanks for the great questions too. In fact there does seem to be a little confusion out there with respect to this ever popular sparkling wine.

In terms of where Prosecco must be made in order to be called Prosecco, you are right.

Just as is the case with Champagne, this sparkling wine must come exclusively from one of two wine growing regions in north eastern Italy. The regions are Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. In fact the name comes from the Italian village of Prosecco near Trieste which is the capital of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Curiously Prosecco is also the name of the wine. And was until recently the name of the grape. Due to a change in regulation in 2009 the “Glera” grape which is a long standing synonym for Prosecco was officially recognized as the proper grape name used to identify this iconic Italian export.

One of the main attractions of Prosecco, besides it having a lively, zesty and cheerful flavour, is of course its affordability.

In contrast to Champagne which can be explained partially at least in the way these two sparkling wines are produced. Champagne undergoes its secondary fermentation in the bottle, which is costly, takes time and is labor intensive, while Prosecco’s secondary fermentation takes place in a large stainless steel tank, much more economically, known as the Charmat method. Of course there are other reasons why Champagne fetches the prices it does, and all very well deserved indeed.

Looking for a rosé Prosecco? You can find a rosé sparkling wine, otherwise known as spumante, or a rosé frizzante but because Prosecco must be a white wine and Pinot Noir is not among any of the permitted grapes for making Prosecco, this will not be possible. There are however some absolutely delectable rosé Spumantes on the market, which do hail from this unique region of Friuli.

We recently had the opportunity to interview Nicola Pittaro, of Pitars winery, a fourth generation, historic and stunning winery located in Friuli, who was visiting here showcasing his wines.
Nicola treated us to an extensive tasting of a suburb line up of sparkling wine. We sampled their Prosecco, as well as their Pitars Rosé Spumante, which was elegant, delicate, dry with hints of strawberry and raspberry, very delicious. They also produce a sparkling wine using one of the indigenous grapes of the region, the Ribolla Gialla, also delightful. If you would like more information on the various aspects of Prosecco, either on the region or on the wines, please tune in to our radio show www.connectmeradio.com and get the scoop from Nicola himself. The three above mentioned wines are available by the way here in Ontario, through VDF Imports located right here in Mississauga. Cheers.

VDFWines.com Contact: Dan Scodellaro

Festive Fizz! In love with Champagne and Prosecco.

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Ask The Wine Ladies. Why is rosé wine so popular now?

Remy Pannier d’Anjou 2014

Remy Pannier d’Anjou 2014

Dear The Wine Ladies,

I have been seeing loads of rosés showing up on the shelves in our LCBO these days. I am just wondering what’s the deal? The last time I had a pink wine was too long ago to remember. I do however recall it was terribly sweet and not to my liking. Has the tide changed in style of roses being made these days? Which grapes are used to make them and are the ones from France the best?

Jennifer, Toronto, Ontario

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

Dear Jennifer

It is definitely time to re-think pink. When looking for a crisp, fruit driven, aromatic, versatile wine to pair with foods, that comes in a range of beautiful shades from light salmon, to peach, pink and even light red.

Gone are the days when rose was synonymous with sweet. The great majority now-a-days are vinified dry or semi-dry responding to the tastes of the more sophisticated wine drinker. The roses of today, though not hugely complex, deliver pleasure for the palate. They are often abundant in fresh fruit on the nose and on the palate, strawberries, raspberries, red cherries, floral notes, hints of spice often characterize them, as well as being crisp and medium to full bodied. Plus they are so versatile to pair with an abundance of foods transitioning well from a white to red depending what’s served on the platter.

True, a plethora of roses are now available in store.

The fact is that sales have soared in the last few years. They continue to charm the wine drinker with their seductive qualities. In terms of France being the go-to region, more specifically Provence traditionally regarded as the heartland for rose. Most of the wine growing regions around the world have responded to the rise in rose. They are now producing some wonderful roses to rival even the most established regions. When it comes to varietals, in Provence the roses are made with a combination of grapes which include Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Carignan just to name a few. Elsewhere winemakers are producing their roses using most any red grape they have planted. This could be Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz (Syrah), Tempranillo, Zinfandel and the list goes on. When it comes to selecting your rose of choice here are a few top shelf ones to consider:

The #1 selling French rose in Ontario is the Remy Pannier d’Anjou 2014 made from the grape Cabernet Franc, a great buy at $13.95, with spicy strawberry, citrus aroma, just off-dry.

Remy Pannier d’Anjou 2014

Remy Pannier d’Anjou 2014

Henry of Pelham Rosé VQA 2014,Niagara Peninsula,$13.95 strawberries and watermelon, crisp and dry.

From New Zealand, Kim Crawford Pansy, made with Merlot, light ruby in colour, strawberries, hints of spice, dried flowers, exuberant, tangy and delightful ($17.00)

But Jennifer as you know there are many others to consider, just jump right in and think pink the next time you’re considering which wine to drink!

Georgia and Susanne

The Wine Ladies

If you would like to learn more about rose wine please tune into our on-line radio show, The Wine Ladies, Taking Life One Sip At A Time, on”Everything is coming up Rosé” Episode 24  launches, Monday June 1st at 10:00am! See you on the air waves!

Demi-Sec Champagne

Ask The Wine Ladies. How does one know whether a Champagne is dry, off dry or sweet?

Champagne Sweetness, from Brut Nature to Demi-Sec.

Champagne Sweetness, from Brut Nature to Demi-Sec.

Dear Wine Ladies,

How does one know whether a Champagne is dry, off dry or sweet? The terms on the bottles seem very confusing. We prefer Champagnes that are sweeter. Last week we were told to select a Champagne labelled demi-sec or doux, doesn’t that mean off-dry?

Liz

Boston

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

Dear Liz,

Thanks for your question, it seems to be one that comes up pretty regularly. True, deciphering the sweetness levels of Champagne can be confusing, particularly as you mentioned when “demi-sec”actually refers to a Champagne that contains approximately 35-50 grams of sugar per litre. Below is a continuum of driest Champagnes to sweetest. Brut natural (no sugar added), brut, extra-dry, sec, demi-sec and finally doux.

The Wine Ladies, Georgia and Susanne

You can take this special sparkling fizz anywhere, anytime! Cheers, Salute or Prost! Bubbles & Bites as read in Arabella Magazine.

Pinotage

What is Pinotage? Ask The Wine Ladies

Pinotage

Pinotage

Dear Wine Ladies,

We recently enjoyed a red wine from South Africa called Pinotage. I understood it was a blend of two wines, Pinot Noir and Cinsaut then discovered it is a clone of Pinot Noir. Or is it?

Jack, Mississauga, Ontario

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

Dear Jack,

This grape is considered to be the signature grape variety of South Africa is not a clone of Pinot Noir, it is actually a cross between the two grapes Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. The variety was created in 1925 by Professor Perold of Stellenbosch University. At the time, and occasionally today, Cinsaut was commonly called Hermitage in South Africa, hence the contraction Pinotage.

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Open wine with a shoe

Do I throw away my corkscrew now? Is it true that you can open wine with a shoe? I don’t believe it. Ask The Wine Ladies

Alternative wine openers and corkscrew.

Alternative wine openers and corkscrew.

Dear Wine Ladies

Is it true that you can open wine with a shoe? I don’t believe it.

Derek, Halifax, Nova Scotia

 

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

Dear Derek, 

The proverbial grapevine comes through again! Yes, a bottle of wine can be opened with a shoe, a phone book, a tree, or even your bare hands for that matter, all of which methods are based on the same action, utilizing the same theory. The simple action of pounding the bottom of a wine bottle when up side down or horizontally against a fairly hard, vertical flat surface will result in the cork nudging out due to the pressure of the wine that mounts against the cork. In the case of the shoe, a quick warning, a stiletto will not do, simply place the bottle inside the heel area of the show, pound it against the wall, or a tree, if on a picnic and strike repeatedly.

Voila, the cork slowly submits and eases out. Another option, place the bottle between your legs, upside down of course, and strike the bottom of the bottle with the shoe. Once the cork is out far enough to grasp finish the job either with your hands or a some pliers. A word of caution, this particular method of extraction may not be successful with synthetic cork closures and of course not be needed in most cases these days with the prolific use of screw caps.

The Wine Ladies

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Ask The Wine Ladies – Is the sediment at the bottom of the bottle all right to drink?

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Ask The Wine Ladies…What’s the best way to deal with a crumbly cork?

Crumbly Cork

Crumbly Cork

Dear Wine Ladies,

This may sound like a silly question. I’m truly at odds on the best way to deal with a crumbly cork! Last night, once again, while trying to open a bottle of wine the cork was dry and crumbly. The harder I tried, and the further I drove the cork screw, the more the cork crumbled and then finally ended up in fragments in the bottle. Is there a way to properly extract a crumbly cork?

Chris, Houston, Texas.

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Dear Chris

This exact same scenario just happened to us this week with one of our favorite wines! The trick here is to exercise patience, as the harder you push the corkscrew into the cork, the worse the situation. Here are a couple of suggestions.

Often times a firm but lighter hand is all that is needed. Carefully extract the corkscrew and proceed once again, with caution and with a light yet firm hand. The goal is to get the corkscrew back into the cork without pushing it entirely into the bottle. Try to re-insert the opener into the portion of the cork that is not compromised, usually off-centre; be firm but cautious, pulling up gently and re-adjusting as necessary. Sometimes this is all that is needed.

Option number two: a sommelier friend of ours advises using two corkscrews instead of one. Approach the cork from opposite directions, working the corkscrews in, and having them meet at the bottom. Pull gently, and voila! Finally, a nifty tool called the “Ah So” could also come in handy; as a two-pronged cork remover, the two flat blades slide down either side of the cork allowing it to stay intact as much as possible while being retrieved. Hopefully one of the above suggestions will help, but if not, no worries, simply filter the wine with a paper coffee filter into a decanter or glass pitcher and enjoy.

The Wine Ladies, Georgia and Susanne

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