02 November 2011

Confessions of a (not quite) Wine Connoisseur

Hi, friends!

My name is Amy, and I blog over at Amy Around the Corner. First of all, I'd like to thank Hannah for the opportunity to write guest post for her while she is off sunning & funning in the Caribbean with her husband ;) When Hannah first put out the call for "guest posters", I knew that I wanted to help her out, but I wasn't entirely sure what to write about. I gave myself a little time to brainstorm, and finally came back to the #1 blogging statute that "Thou shalt write about what thou are passionate about."


... And for me (among other things, of course!) that is wine.

To know me is to know that I am a wine drinker. While I don't prefer sweet wines, for the most part I do not discriminate -- I love it all: full-bodied, hearty reds; crisp, fresh chardonnays; multi-tonal, rich dessert wines. Yum! I love quiet Friday nights filled with make-your-own pizzas and large globes of merlot... and I live for the dinner parties where the wine flows freely, and the conversation and laughter goes well into the night. ... We recently got our gas fireplace working in our house, and enjoying a glass of wine fireside adds a whole new dimension to my 'wine loving ways'.

This past September, my husband Jon and I spent a week in Northern California. We spent several days in San Francisco ... and the rest was spent in wine country. ...Honestly, if we ever get the chance to go back (and I hope with all my heart that we do!), we would spend a whole week in wine country. ... It was just much more our pace. We enjoyed strolling through quaint shops on Healdsburg Ave., stopping in to family owned vineyards to taste & discover new favorite wines, and sitting on park benches and simply breathing in the color and beauty and peace of wine country. 

 On our second day in wine country, we joined up with a wine tour (through Platypus -- a wonderful experience!) and visited 5 wineries in the Russian River Valley. We had a fantastic time, and by the time we returned to our hotel room that evening, exhausted (a bit buzzed) and deliriously happy (um, with ... *ahem*... almost a whole case of wine in tow ...) we had tasted at least 25 different wines, and learned a fair bit about wine (making & tasting!) in the process.

Today, I share some of this "wine wisdom" with you!


1. As with all of life, oxygen is a vital part of the wine experience. Oxygenating or aerating the wine allows the wine flavors to open up and deepen -- in fact, experts say that aerating the wine improves the entire flavor profile of the wine. ... This is why people swirl their wine glasses before tasting-- it oxygenates the wine and releases the wine vapors!

2. ...Speaking of scent: wine tasting is a multi-sensory experience! The scent, the mouth feel (i.e.: velvety, tannic, big, soft), and finally, of course, the taste all go into what makes a wine taste unique.

3. ...Never cook with wine you wouldn't want to drink. ...It doesn't have to be expensive wine, but it should still be palatable :)

 4. If you want a sweet treat, seek out a late harvest, or ice wine. Late harvest wines refer to when grapes are left on the vine longer than other grape varietals to increase the sugar content in the grape. By the time the grapes are harvested, they have dehydrated on the vine and look like raisins. These grapes produce some of the sweetest dessert wine that will ever pass your lips.

5. Cheese & wine may be the most brilliant combination ever ... ranking right up there with peanut butter and chocolate, chocolate & red wine, or cake & ice cream ;) There's just something about the creamy saltiness of the cheese and the crisp bite of the wine that is simply perfection.

6. No matter what else you may choose to serve as an accompaniment, wine is best enjoyed slowly & sweetly, in the company of good friends and loved ones. 


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