FARGO — Some of my wine-loving colleagues asked about differences between sparkling wines and why some cost so much. All agreed they were enjoyable to drink, giving an air of celebration, no matter if it is a good dinner with someone, a group of friends, or a special occasion.
Making wine — the growing of the crop, the fermentation process, aging in barrels, bottling and sealing — is a study in proper sequential science. Blow it somewhere along these lines, and the winemaker could be out of business quickly. Dr. Paulo Lopes, research and development manager at Amorim Cork, has found that with proper temperature and humidity control, wine can be stored upright with no ill effects.
Reaching into the older section of my modest wine cellar, I pulled out a bottle of Bogle Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel 2013 vintage. A beef stroganoff dinner was on the menu for that night, and under orders from the chef (my wife) to come up with an appropriate wine, I thought this might be a good match. It was!
Picture the Bordeaux region of France, and place your mind's eye in the city of Bordeaux looking northwest up the Gironde Estuary that empties into the Atlantic. All the vineyards to the left are considered Left Bank plantings and all the plantings on the opposite side of the Estuary and Dordogne River are considered the Right Bank.
FARGO — The impression of the wine grape growing and winemaking industry as being a fun-loving and romantic, lifelong experience is an illusion. It takes planning, smart capital investment and backing, willingness to work hard, trying to outguess nature's eccentricities, while recognizing and overcoming your own foibles. A glimpse at the wine industry today reveals there are high numbers of competent women meeting the demands and exceeding the expectations of their male compatriots in the business.
Wines only? No way. Red wines, dark chocolate and flowers are the requisite for a happy, rewarding evening extending into the rest of the week. Briefly first, being a horticulturist since my teen years, I'll address flower color and variety. Red is the winner with red roses having the greatest impact. Save the money you would spend on a dozen red roses, and get a single red one instead, accompanied by a bottle of Serralunga d'Alba Barolo DOCG 2013.
FARGO — It is the final days of January, a tough month to get through in the upper Great Plains of America. The Bison winning the FCS National Championship helped, and I'm certain that a good number of celebratory toasts were made with their clinching the title again. For that occasion, I'm sure bubbly wines were tasted.
FARGO — Did you know some Champagne doesn't have bubbles? Known as 'still' champagne, this is considered real champagne for two reasons: • It originates from the Champagne region of France. • It uses the same basic varietals — pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier. The only thing lacking is the second fermentation that takes place in the bottle to create the bubbles associated with this popular wine. Read point number one again: Champagne region of France.
Many people who will celebrate the end of 2017 and the start of 2018 will do so with a bubbly of some sort. A Prosecco? A fizzante? Champagne? Or, how about a Sekt, Leitz 2016 Rudesheimer riesling trocken from Rheingau, Germany? For those who are confused by terms 'Sekt' and 'trocken' on bottles of German wine, trocken means dry in taste, and Sekt means bubbly. When the two are combined on a bottle, it translates into sparkling wine that is best described as off dry or semi-sweet, while a Sekt brut is completely dry.
Giving wine as a holiday or house visit gift is a sign of generosity at any time, but especially so during the Christmas and New Year's holiday celebrations. You may drink and enjoy wine that you pay no more than $5 or $6 five a bottle for, but I advise NOT giving it as a gift to anyone. I view gift giving as a reach above one's own standards to true friends and great relatives. That "reach" doesn't have to be foolishly extravagant to be generous or appreciated, but should be something that shows appreciation and thoughtfulness.