Wine improves with age. The older I get, the better I like it. ~ Anonymous
We can practically smell summer in the air! OK - so a little imagination goes a long way, but Memorial Day is the unofficial - official start to the summer season, and that's approaching fast. If picnics, barbecues or al fresco dining are high on your fine-weather agenda, you're not alone. In our Summer Sensations class we'll taste some wines that are perfect for summer dining, but for those who won't be at the class we'll give you a few of our favorite picnic food and wine pairings in this edition.
In this month's Eppelation News, you can also learn about our new wine feature, test your viticulture knowledge with our pop quiz, and find some hints on decanting and aerating wines.
Oh, and one last thing... we just gave our website a fresh new look... check it out and let us know what you think!
Mark & Karen Eppel
new wine feature
To learn more about our featured wines, please visit our wine feature page.
A good Gruner Veltliner is a must-have food-friendly wine for any time of year. We're big fans and want to share the love, so the Berger Gruner Veltliner tasted in our Austria-Germany class is the white wine feature this time around.
Our red wine selection is the Piazzano Chianti from our Wine & Cheese class. This is a tasty little number, also very food friendly, and another handy everyday wine.
This feature runs from May 23 - June 5 and is available at Pringles, Supermarket Liquors and Wilbur's in Ft. Collins, and World Beverage in Loveland.
wine tasting classes
Well, our last class - the Wine & Cheese tasting - was a delicious success! We'd like to thank Shannon Brennan, the cheese expert from Wholefoods, for helping to teach this class and provide insights and anecdotes on the fabulous cheeses we tasted.
According to the class comments, the wine & cheese parings were a raging success. A minor grievance was that we had too many wine & cheese pairings, and next time maybe we could use the "less is more" approach! Profuse apologies to those individuals! We talk a lot about balance in reference to wines but when it comes to wine and cheese, gluttony rules supreme and we get a little enthusiastic... can't help ourselves.
As many of you know, this class sold out quickly and we had a long waitlist, so we'll be adding this to our schedule later in the year for those who missed out. See what our guests had to say about the class here.
As we go to "press", the remaining tasting classes are SOLD OUT. If you missed out on these classes, we always have a waitlist and one or two seats usually open up - no guarantees though! Just send us an email to be waitlisted for Austria/Germany, Summer Sensations, or Sassy Sparklers.
new classes coming soon
Please don't forget to let us know what topics you are hankering for us to cover in the next series. There's a vast world of wine out there and we'd love your input. We're hoping to have the new class schedule on the website by mid-June, so please email us or contact us via our website guestbook.
summer lovin'As you all know, we love our wine and food! So, here are a few of our favorite combinations for an easy summer picnic feast, not necessarily all together!
Our absolute favorite throw-together picnic lunch or dinner includes a few chunks of different cheeses, fresh bread, and a charcuterie platter with pate, prosciutto, salami, olives, marcona almonds, fresh figs stuffed with blue cheese or chevre, and a few strawberries or grapes. Not the healthiest selection, but definitely tasty! A dry sparkling wine, a fruity rose or a light pinot noir are our wines of choice for this feast.
We're also quite partial to:
- a good salmon quiche - paired with a Sancerre, Bordeaux Blanc, Rose, or Chardonnay;
- Mediterranean stuffed chicken roll with a great, fresh salad - paired with a CA Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Chianti, or Rose;
- caramelized onion & goat cheese tart paired with a Riesling or Sparkling wine.
We could continue, but this is a short-list of some of our favorite picnic foods to get us in the summer mood!
decanting and aeration
First, let's understand the purpose of decanting - in a nutshell, decanting removes sediment from the wine, and has the added benefit of allowing a wine to breathe. It's that simple. The tricky part is knowing which wines should be decanted and for how long. We'll also touch on the topic of aeration... hopefully you'll find this information helpful.
Sediment is the gritty matter often found in older red wines and is made up of color and other organic particles that precipitate out of the wine over time. It's not harmful, but can be mildly annoying if you get chunks while sipping a fine wine! Generally, big, tannic red wines over 10 years old may benefit from decanting - if they have sediment. If they don't have sediment, decanting is not necessary, but a little aeration might be a good thing - depending on the wine....
To check if a wine has sediment, hold it up to a light and see if there's any crusty material on the inside of the bottle. If you have time, let the bottle stand upright for one-two days so the sediment falls to the bottom. When the time comes to decant, slowly and gently uncork the bottle without too much movement. Pour the wine slowly into a decanter until you begin to see sediment reaching the bottle neck. Stop pouring!
Older wines can be frail, so if you have a tannic wine, decant about one hour before serving. Less tannic wines with sediment can be decanted just before serving. The "breathing" part of decanting will benefit highly tannic wines, but destroy the delicacy of the less tannic wines, so be careful!
Aeration, or breathing, softens wine and can help it to open up. There are lots of gadgets available that will aerate wine and they will do the job, but if you want to keep it simple, all you need to do is pour the wine gently into a decanter so it mixes with oxygen. You can leave the wine in the decanter for show, or pour it back into the bottle.
Many young, tannic wines like Cabernet, Nebbiolo, and Merlot will open up with aeration, taking away some of the rough edges. Aerate most big, young wines for about an hour. If in doubt about the aeration time, see if you can find information online about your particular wine.
Some white wines also benefit from aeration, but with more subtle effects. Avoid aerating old, delicate red wines - it will probably blunt the flavors and disappoint your palate.
wine quizJust for fun, try your wine knowledge out with this short quiz with a focus on the art of farming grapes - viticulture. Click here for the answers and to see previous quizes!
1. Name the root louse pest that can destroy and kill grape vines.
2. Name a country that has never been affected by the root louse in question 1.
3 What does "hangtime" refer to?
4. What is veraision?
5. What is Brix a measure in grapes?
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