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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

Purchase a Le Nez du Vin at Atkinson’s on line store.

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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 

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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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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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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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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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The Wine Thief- Pipette

Ask The Wine Ladies…What is a wine thief?

In the barrel room at Vinwood Cellars, where several of Kendall-Jackson’s key wines are made. Not open to the public, we are treated to lessons in “battonage” and enjoyng a “wine thief” or pipette experience. Drawing a sample of wine straight from the barrel.

In the barrel room at Vinwood Cellars, where several of Kendall-Jackson’s key wines are made. Not open to the public, we are treated to lessons in “battonage” and enjoyng a “wine thief” or pipette experience. Drawing a sample of wine straight from the barrel.

Dear Wine Ladies

What is a wine thief?

Jason, Dallas, Texas

Watch The Wine Ladies TV and our adventure at Kendall-Jackson where we experienced wine thieving first hand!

 

Dear Jason,

It is a “pipette” a slim tube-like product made with glass or food-safe material, about between 12-24 inches long, used to draw a small amount of wine from a cask or other fermentation container.

The Wine Ladies, Georgia and Susanne

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Audiopodcastanti-agingshow04212018

Audiopodcastanti-agingshow04212018

What are some of the reasons for cooking with wine? Ask The Wine Ladies.

Cooking with wine

Cooking with wine

Dear Wine Ladies,

I am a culinary student and am part of a group project that is looking at cooking with alcohol. What are some of the reasons for cooking with wine, what does it do to the food and does the acidity in wine play a role?

Cynthia

Brampton, Ontario

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

 

Dear Cynthia,

 A splash of wine or definitely a cup or two depending on the recipe can definitely add another dimension to the gastronomic experience. Cooking with wine adds extra flavour; it acts like a turbo booster, just as garlic, salt, pepper and even lemon does. It can also add extra body, complexity and texture. It is great for adding acidity to rich dishes, can serve to tenderize and impair flavour as well. A few hints we’ve garnered over the years from award winning chefs include;

1.       Make sure you let the wine cook off before adding another liquid such as stock. If you add them together the result will have an “uncooked wine” flavour.

2.       Reserve the better wines for the finishing off of a dish when the flavour will be more present, for dishes that require longer cooking time such as braising, a lesser wine will be fine.

3.  For a winning combination using our iconic icewine try this recipe we  found “Vineyard Leg of Lamb with Icewine Fig Compote. It can befound in the book Icewine, by Donald Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser, foundersof the beautiful, award winning winery Inniskillin.

4. To “save” a dish in which you’ve used too much wine, re-establish  balance by adding more butter or olive oil.

Submit your questions to The Wine Ladies, Georgia and Susanne to info@TheWineLadies.com

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Ask The Wine Ladies. What is Pisco?

Pisco

Pisco, Peru’s national drink.

Dear Wine Ladies,

Last weekend my husband and I were invited to a Peruvian restaurant. While there we enjoyed a delicious dinner and a new drink called Pisco. I had a sour and my husband had one on the rocks. We both loved our aperitifs! Can you tell me a little about Pisco and where it can be found? We had never heard of it before but learned it is the national drink of Peru.

Leesa, Toronto

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Dear Leesa,

You have discovered what many mixologists expect to be the next big spirit to take the drinks world by storm already making a splash at many trendy bars and restaurants. Pisco is a premium, delicious, savory and complex white spirit. It orginated in the town of  Pisco in the region of Ica, Peru. It dates back hundreds of years and is an integral part of the Peruvian culture. A spirit that can be enjoyed on its own. It offers up a range of seductive notes on the nose including citrus, peach, green apple, flowers, hints of chocolate and more. Such a delicious range due to the variety of 8 different grapes permtted to be used. It is also made in three styles. Whether it be a Pisco Puro, meaning a single varietal Pisco. Or a Mosto Verde, made with the must that has not completed fermentation. Or a Acholado using a blend of two grapes or more this wonderful spirit offers the palate a unique and  sophisticated adventure.

Add to this the possibility of using either the category of aromatic grapes such as Toronte or non-aromatic like the most prolific Quebranta grapes. This spirit  is truly a very special spirit in its unique ability to offer the bodegas an opportunity to handcraft their spirit in a fashion unique to them. Pisco producers must also adhere to very strict regulations as set out by the governing body ensuring further a premium product. Ask for Pisco at your local liquor store, and if they don’t stock it they need to get on the Pisco Trail! See link for our adventures in Peru with Pisco.

Melanie Asher the woman behind the rise of Pisco and Macchu Pisco