Author: martaburgues

Ecological wines

Our daily life, which imposes the fashion of the healthy and green, has made the biological or ecological products to gain increasing importance. The same way happened to the world of wine, always a trend receiver, as one might expect.

Ecological wines are no longer an exception, but are fully recognized in shops and restaurant menus worldwide. Moreover, there are wineries that, knowing the success that this kind of wines have, incorporate them into their most respectable vintages.

Being grown and elaborated without pesticides or chemicals, they have are better beneficial properties for the body than other types of wine, something about not all wine producers agree and generates a broad debate among the industry.

Elaboration and certification

Ecological wine is made with the use of natural resources, without chemicals (chemical fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides), which ends with the existence of some residues in wine. Therefore, a higher quality product is obtained. In order to guarantee that a vineyard is ecological, it must be rated by an official agency to certify it.

Such is its importance that the first steps in investigating the benefits of ecological wines have already taken, as demonstrated by a study conducted by researchers on Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Cancer from University of Barcelona. According to reports, they stated that the administration to animals of Volvoreta ecological red wine -produced in the winery Viña Zangarrón, appellation Toro (Zamora)- prevents the development of chemically induced cancer tumors.

Some ecological wines

Piedra Luenga

From Cordoba, they research to give their wines biological properties. Bodegas Robles presents a delicious range of ecological wine: Piedra Luenga, the first certified organic under an appellation in southern Spain.

Genium Ecológico 2005

Bodegas Genium are the architects of this bodied Genium Ecológico 2007, with aromas of berries and a touch of acidity in flavor; 100% ecological guarantee.

Montesierra Ecológico Tinto 2007

There goes one of my recommendations: Montesierra Ecológico 2010, a red Somontano very well priced, perfect for long evenings with friends. Consistent, rough and full of flavors to be discovered.

The color of wine

At the beginning of a wine tasting, the first thing to consider is the color of it, its appearance, the visual features. In order to appreciate its color in the best way, it should be done in natural light since artificial light can be quite misleading. It is true that for many the candlelight can be convenient, on a white background, to recognize a tonality, but in the case of red and white wines, sunlight is what allows a better way to find subtleties in its tonality.

The changes in the color of wine are due to several variables, such as the vine from which it comes, the form of wine elaboration, the time which the skins remain in the must, the fact of having been placed in wooden casks or not, its age and the manner in the wine was preserved.

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The color range is usually much more varied in red wines than in whites. In those, the color ranges from deep purple to brown tones, maroon or violet, to a large range of middle tones: crimson, vermilion, ruby, brick red, russet, etc. Whenever we talk of these tonalities, we must made clear that there is always room for discussing about. There is not a color palette that can be considered a pattern and which allows to accurately describe the color of a wine, with some exceptions such as ruby and russet.

Anthocyanins are the pigments that give its red color to wine, these are found in the skins of red grapes and are extracted by alcohol. Depending on the time that the skins are in contact with the must, will be obtained a more or less intense color. When the wine is young, red can get closer to orange and over time it becomes increasingly close to brown or russet.

In regard to to white wines, the tonalities are less and really seem that white wines today are increasingly clear, pale, even with some degree of transparency that had once been considered aqueous. Those wines that could be considered golden, are no longer seen anywhere, luckily, since they are considered to be of poor quality because of deficiencies in their elaboration, since this tonality is due to an excess of oxygen. Another feature that no longer is usually seen in white wines is the turbidity that the existing filtering processes have been removed. We must clarify that there are particular white wines such as sherry or manzanilla, which can have golden tonalities not due to a bad process of elaboration.

The elaboration of wine

 TAGS:In the first place let’s clarify that is difficult to express how to elaborate wine in a few words, we just try to convey to the reader what we can summarize after visiting wineries, especially in times of harvest and what the experts explain about.

If we simplify, we can say that what is needed for the grape juice to transform into wine is a process that should be the most natural way possible: fermentation. This is a chemical phenomenon whereby the grape sugar turns into alcohol and carbon dioxide, and it is produced by the intervention of the yeasts found in greater proportion in the skins. When the grape skins are broken, yeast start to work on sugar resulting in fermentation.

Then the grapes are brought from the vineyard holding together the bunches, then settled to the wine press, a cellar space for that function, next they will pass through the destemming process, there emerge the grains to be pressed and the juice extracted. This juice, consisting of pulp, skins and seeds is called must, and this will be put to ferment in tanks or barrels. Normally yeast would act to transform all the sugar into alcohol, or at least until it reaches a level of 15% alcohol in wine, but often happens that some grapes are too sweet and the process must be stopped manually.

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Currently the process by which wines are elaborated is accompanied by the use of technologies never even imagined for such process, elements that are now extremely needed to ensure quality. For example, it is known that white wines require that fermentation occurs at low temperatures, thereby cooling equipment will be necessary to slow down the fermentation process, achieving control of the process and preventing the oxidation, an absolutely damaging agent in the process of creating wine. By contrast, red wines do not require temperatures as low, but the oxygenation should be also avoided in its elaboration process.

Those wines which mature in oak casks, whether white or red, face a very soft oxygenation process because the element is ?strained? in small proportions, but stops if it is bottled and corked. Its stay in bottle is necessary and essential to make the wine settle, achieving an optimal point of maturity.

Wine in diets

 TAGS:All of us sometime in our lives have followed a diet, perhaps imposed by the doctor or simply by our own initiative, most of them to reduce weight. And almost always these diets tend to be austere and a bit hard to follow, which almost always pushes us to abandon them.

Well, today we will see a more bearable and easier way to carry a complicated diet. If our diet is to reduce weight, you should know that wine can be the perfect companion for those regimes that can become tedious and boring.

Calories and wines

As we can see in our table of calories and wines table, which implies that 100 ml of wine is below 85 calories, wine becomes one of the beverages containing alcohol that best accompanies a diet to lose weight, if you bear in mind other beverages like beer or whiskey, which are over 240 calories per 100 ml.

Mediterranean Diet

The wine, in addition to being one of the healthiest beverages containing alcohol, is one of the most ?dietetic?, has been proven capable to avoid the concentration of cholesterol in the body. In a test of what is called a “Mediterranean diet“, which included two glasses of wine per day, the result was strong and clear: people who consumed that daily dose had a lower cholesterol concentration than those who didn’t.

But the result of the Mediterranean diet not only was this, lower levels of saturated fats and polyunsaturated fats were also found, a fact which makes it even more attractive. This makes it to bring on a lower risk hemostatic profile.

Basically the Mediterranean diet consists of including two glasses of wine per day, one at lunch and one at dinner (in addition to following certain dietetic patterns of the Mediterranean countries: Spain, France, Italy, Greece…) and follow that religiously. Remember that any diet or regimen should be monitored under medical observation, not all diets can be followed by everyone. We advise you to propose to your nutritionist or dietitian the incorporation of wine in your different regimes or diets. The results can be very favorable and make this diet much more bearable.

Source on the Mediterranean Diet: Mezzano et al. PCVS

Elaboration and variants of sherry

The sherry is not a single wine, but its appellation includes 4 variants that come from a base liquid elaborated in the same way:

By law, the initial 70% of the pressing is used to develop fino wines and light or common sherry, the next 20% goes to the production of oloroso and other wines of lesser quality, while any remaining liquid should be distilled (converted in a spirit like cognac).

In developing these wines the important thing is to get -after the harvest of grapes, grinding, pressing, fermenting and fortification (addition of wine alcohol to raise their graduation)- that in the barrel where it rests grows what is known as “flor“, a yeast that develops a layer that gives the wine unique properties while protecting it from the harmful effects of oxygen. However, unlike what happens with the traditional wine, here oxygen is not always a bad company. On the contrary, sometimes the deterioration caused by its presence is intentional. Such is the case, for example, of the “amontillado” sherry. The alcohol content of the fortified shall determine the wine. In the case of the “fino” “amontillado” and “oloroso”, it will be 15 volumes and, in the “palo cortado”, 17 volumes (the ?flor? can not develop in this atmosphere).

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The ultimate expression of these wines is the “fino“, pale golden color and almond aroma. This is a very dry drink with a smooth flavor. Here, the ?flor? avoids the oxidation of the liquid for at least 3 years of biological aging. For many the perfect aperitif, this wine is consumed at 8° C, and goes well with fish and seafood, as well as with the typical Spanish tapas.

The “amontillado” sherry reminds for his part to hazelnuts, and its color is amber. Also dry flavored, this drink comes from a double aging, biological and oxidative, since its development began as a “fino” with ?flor?, but with time it disappears and oxygen begins to act on the liquid marking its own characteristics. Served optimally at 14° C, experts advise drinking this wine with soups, white meat and oily fish.

Oloroso” is the term used to identify a sherry darker than the others, with notes of nuts and toasts in mouth. With higher alcohol content than “fino” or “amontillado”, this sherry comes from a prolonged contact of the wine with the air inside the barrel. Habitually is consumed with game meat because of its pronounced flavor, at a temperature around 14° C.

Among the “amontillado” and “oloroso” is the “palo cortado?, which is obtained when the tasters identified citrus notes during aging of fino sherry, and they fortify it with more alcohol in order to remove the ?flor? and give way to an oxidative phase that will enhance the special features found in the barrel. This wine is consumed at 13° C, and is ideal for drinking it alone or maybe with nuts.

In the area of Sanlucar de Barrameda, the winters are warmer than in Puerto de Santa Maria and Jerez de la Frontera, since the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean moderates the cold. Nature does that here the ?flor? is active all year round offering a special feature to the “fino”, so actually it is known as manzanilla.

Origin of port wine

 TAGS:Great Britain not only made famous tea and whisky. Despite barely not producing wine, it also made great contributions to the development of global viticulture: British were the ones who discovered port wine. The history of this Portuguese wine dates back several centuries in the past, but it was only in the seventeenth century when English imposed it on the rest of the world. Great Britain was at war with France, which forced the Crown to declare the embargo on products from that country. It was in search of quality wines to replace the French that its citizens found that different drink, with a greater than usual alcohol content and a dry or sweet flavour, which surprised even the most demanding.

Its secret lay in the addition of several liters of brandy per barrel during fermentation in order to retain some of the natural sugar in the grape. The interest aroused in England by port wine made many investments from that country to establish in the area surrounding the Portuguese city of Oporto, giving great impetus to viticulture in the region. Some of those wineries still retain the English names of its founders, ?Croft?, ?Offley?, ?Gordon rahams?, ?Sandeman?, ?Dow?, ?Warre?.

By the mid-eighteenth century, the port wine received a final boost when the Portuguese Crown created by law the current Real Companhia Velha, the oldest winery for elaboration of port wine, and immediately after, between 1758 and 1761, delimited the region for port wine production, giving birth to the world’s oldest appellation, prior to that of French wines. From that date are definitively established the processing methods that are still respected today.

The wines, made from over 12 varieties of grapes, white and red, are fermented in the cellars located in the alto Douro (name given to the Douro River as it passes through Portugal), near the terraced vineyards installed on the slopes of the hills. After development of the fermentation, when the yeast still have not consumed all the sugar, it is added brandy (spirit of wine), preventing the further fermentation and sweetening the drink. Once completed, the port wine is moved downstream to aging in the cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, facing the city of Oporto, near the Atlantic Ocean.

Sherry and Pedro Ximenez

 TAGS:Pedro Ximenez and Palomino Fino are the grape varieties which define the character of the regions of Cordoba and Andalusia in Spain, respectively, since in these hot and dry lands are produced the country’s most recognized wines, sherry and Pedro Ximenez. In the sixteenth century, long before the world knew of Rioja and Ribera del Duero, two of the most famous appellations, these two drinks were already successful exports, being the UK their main destination.

In fact, it was the marriage of Catherine of Aragon, the eldest daughter of the Catholic Kings, with Prince Arthur of England which boosted the trade in these products outside the borders. To the extent that much later, in the nineteenth century, sherry accounted for 40% of wine imports in Great Britain.

For ignorance is common to confuse sherry with Pedro Ximénez, due to their identical color and provenance from very close areas. However, the differences between the two are not minor. The first is an aperitif dry wine, made from Palomino Fino grapes. In contrast, the second is a sweet wine produced with the variety Pedro Ximénez, ideal to accompany desserts. The union of these drinks is given by the soil, since its cultivation requires many hours of sun and little water. In addition, in both cases these products are fortified, i.e. wine alcohol is added after fermentation, and then the liquid is transferred to oak barrels for its aging in sills.

Once in the cellars, the barrels are arranged in a pyramidal shape, being always the oldest below and the newest on top, and for bottling the ?venenciador? (cellar master) takes a portion of each container. Finally, the barrels are filled using younger wine. Thus, the sherry and Pedro Ximenez are always kept fresh. A Pedro Ximénez can get to rest for so long that there are still labels on the market from 1924, which are eagerly sought.

The sherry wines, elaborated always dry from the Palomino Fino grape variety, are named after the town of Jerez de la Frontera in southern Spain, in Andalusia. Typically the wineries, owned by large companies, produce the drink in this city or in two nearby villages, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Puerto de Santa Maria.

Seeking to raise its image, in recent years the production of sherry was defined by a set of rules. Among other things, the amount of wine that each winery can sell each year was restricted, the sale of bulk wine was banned and was allowed the incorporation of the vintage on the label for premium wines.

Reserve wines

 TAGS:What means that a wine is a reserve? What the experts are talking about when they say a wine is complex? The more expensive the wine, is it better? What makes a bottle excellent? These are some of the many questions that must be deciphered when choosing a wine. The market requires buyers to be increasingly informed, not overwhelmed or confused in front of the oversupply of grape varieties and wine styles. This or the wine recommendations at Uvinum, of course. Or maybe both…

The possibility that a wine will become a great wine, depends on the ability of the enologist, since it is he who must raise grapes to the utmost, so that -at the end of their winemaking– they result in a friendly and seductive liquid. Although there are many recipes, roughly the process of creating a wine born in the harvest.

Once in the winery, the grapes are destemmed, i.e. the green parts as rods that connect the grapes and capes are separated. Then the grapes are transferred to a container for further fermentation. In the case of red wines, the grapes remain macerating for a while to extract, among others, the color, located in the grape skins. For white wines, moreover, the pulp is separated from the skin immediately.

In refrigerated stainless steel tanks, open cement tubs, oak barrels or drums, depending on the winery, the grape juice turns into wine by the action of microorganisms called yeasts, which consume the natural sugar in fruit discarding ethanol and carbon dioxide.

Moreover, during this process, new aromas and flavors are created in wine, other than those natural in grape, called primary. These “secondary” compounds, for example, are responsible for the Sauvignon Blanc to release notes of asparagus peel and freshly cut grass, as defined by experts.

Upon completion of the conversion, in the case of wines made to be consumed young, just remains passing through stabilization and filtering processes to ensure the longevity of the wine for at least 1 year before bottling. However, for those labels who intend to carry with pride the title of aged or reserve, still remains a stay in oak barrels or bottles, which may range between 3 and 18 months of rest, depending on what the enologist wants.

However, the lines of elaboration of a wine are not immutable, each has his methods and, in this case, every enologist has his own recipe.

The ideal temperature to drink wine

 TAGS:The temperature of wine is a long-standing and much controversial topic. As is often popularly said, white wine is drunk colder than red wine but, what is the right temperature to enjoy wine at its best? We will try to elucidate this and other questions below.

Usually the wines are stored in basements or cold spots in the house, places that could reach 11 degrees Celsius, considering that normal room temperature ranges from 18 to 25 degrees Celsius. These environmental details are even more complicated, since everything depends on where you are and what season it is. The range of different climates opens in a myriad of options that make it impossible to get an exact temperature. However, it is always advisable to use wine thermometers to check the temperature exactly.

The temperature in red wines

Red wines should be drunk in what is commonly known as room temperature, i.e. between 16 to 18 degrees Celsius. This temperature will help keep the flavor, aroma and body of wine.

However:

  • If the wine in question is young, the ideal temperature will be lower, between 12 to 15 degrees Celsius, so we can savor its freshness, and eventually a floral or fruity flavor.
  • If it’s an aged wine, the temperature should be between 16 to 18 degrees Celsius, so we can appreciate its bouquet as best.
  • If the wine is of great vintages, it can be drunk up to 20 degrees Celsius. This will depend greatly on the type of origin of wine.

The temperature in white wines

White wines definitely are best enjoyed cold, more than red wines. But as in the case of red wines, there are some specific varieties of white wines. If the white wine we are about to drink is a young white wine, enjoy it ideally below 10 degrees Celsius, up to 7 or 8 degrees is ideal, so we can highlight its aromas, without actually stripping its acidity or alcohol flavor.

If the white wine is semi-dry, we could drink it up to 6 degrees Celsius, so we can highlight its soft, sweet and fruity taste. The fine white wines are enjoyed well at 10 degrees Celsius, for example the Manzanilla wines.

Rosé wines deserve a special mention. These should be drunk preferably below 8 degrees Celsius, never below 6 degrees. In regard to the Cava wines is recommended to drink them between 5 and 7 degrees Celsius.

The Viognier grape

 TAGS:The Viognier grape is a type of white grape of unknown origin, but is presumed to have French origin by its use in these lands. Perhaps its most important characteristic is its difficult cultivation, a fact which makes it more valuable and protagonist only of great wines, especially the Condrieu French wine from the Rhone Valley.

History of Viognier grape

As we said the Viognier grape is of unknown origin; perhaps the starting point of its history is the Rhone Valley, but it is also said it came from Dalmatia (now Croatia) and was brought to French territory by the Romans, specifically the Emperor Probus (281 AD), who is also credited by bringing the Syrah grape.

Nowadays Viognier grape -after having been close to extinction in 1965- has become one of the most precious grapes of the Rhone Valley. We can also find it today in Spain, United States -especially in California-, Australia, Chile and Argentina.

Viognier wines

The wines made from Viognier are very fine and select. Their floral and fruity aromas are one of their main features. We emphasize that the elaboration process of this wine is more complicated than a traditional wine, even is often consumed relatively young by fear that with aging comes some problem. Most Viognier wines usually have a maximum of 3 years of aging, although we must remark that we also find wines from this grape with more years of aging, but rarely exceeding 10 years, since after this time, they often lose their characteristic aromas and gain an unflattering acidity.

“Viognier strains are harvested in late October or early November.”

Its unique flavor and aroma make it a highly sought wine by experts. Its value per bottle is usually above other wines of similar elaboration and style. That’s why the Viognier grape is one of the most desirable.

“Currently the U.S. is the largest producer of Viognier wine, since the mild climate of California Valley is favorable for its difficult cultivation.”

Viognier wine pairing

Its unique flavor makes it a sophisticated wine, but also when pairing is often combined with sophisticated cuisines such as Thai and Peruvian, both high in spicy flavor which pairs beautifully with.

Surprise yourself with the best Viognier wines! Here we recommend two that you can not miss:

 TAGS:Bàrbara Forés Blanc 2011Bàrbara Forés Blanc 2011

One of the first Viognier from Spain, is a key reference for understanding its development in Spain.

Buy Bàrbara Forés Blanc 2011 7,50?

 

 

 TAGS:Vallegarcia Viognier 2010Vallegarcia Viognier 2010

The fashionable Viognier. Presented as VT Castilla, is warmer and tasty on the palate, and slightly less aromatic. Reference for the future of Castilla whites.

 TAGS:Buy Vallegarcia Viognier 2010 14,16?