Wine(s) of the Week: University (week 8)

Hi everyone,

I caught up with some friends to farewell one who is leaving back to Norway. We went to a regular haunt of ours – Little Creatures in Fremantle for a meal. With my meal I decided to have a glass of the Bellarmine 2011 Riesling from Pemberton. It was an ok Riesling for me, with its zesty, fresh, vibrant and a clean mineral finish on the palate however I would have loved to see more stone fruits on the nose and palate as I love and cannot resist a Riesling with apple flavours.

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The other wine I tried this past week was a new red wine at work from Portugal called ‘Lab’. I was also drawn to this wine as it had two new grape varietals for me (Castelão and Touriga Nacional) in it along with Shiraz and Tempranillo (Tinta Roriz). At only $10 a bottle I was prepared to give it a go, and even if it wasn’t that great I would be two grapes closer to my 100 needed for the Wine Century Challenge.

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I was actually pleasantly surprised with the wine. I used my Vinturi to really open up the wine and besides it being a a little more sharp than smooth at the start before mellowing out towards the back of the palate. This wine is punching well above it’s price bracket and one that I would happily recommend!

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My last ‘drink’ for the week was some tea from T2. I was given a gorgeous tea cup by a friend as a graduation gift and figured it was only fitting to whip out the fancy teas again to test out the cup. I have retried the English Breakfast which I tried many weeks ago and still love as a hearty tea to start my morning.

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T2 English Breakfast.

I also decided to give Earl Grey tea another go after having been turned off it when I over brewed it a few too many times while backpacking Europe. I  must say it was much better than I remembered and quite a relaxing cup of tea over the weekend.

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Until next time!

Wino 101: Preservatives – allergies.

Hi everyone,

I’ve decided to continue on from yesterday’s post as it was a rather rushed little blog and wine allergies and preservatives is something that many people have spoken to me about from friends to customers at work. Wine allergies are not simple to pin point as there are many components in wine from which people can react to. Yesterday’s post was on sulphides, but there are all the refining products such as milk and eggs, along with yeast and the grapes themselves for people to have allergic reactions to.

Sulphides

As yesterday’s post explained sulphides are necessary for imported wines as well as Australian wines due to them being lower in acid than wine from cooler climates. And overall sulphides allow wine to not spoil as easily as it did in the past.

Sulphide reactions are often linked to asthma and this is the more serious concern as sulphides in wine can lead to reactions with histamine. Wines contain naturally occurring sulphides and therefore will always contain a small proportion of sulphides, what can be controlled is how much more sulphur is added to the wine during production and fermentation. Wine without added sulphides are hard to find in Australia when you’re looking in major wine retails shops, if you think this is a concern and would like to try low-sulphide or preservative-free wines then going to cellar door or building up a friendship with your local independent bottle shop is my best advice. However you will be restricted to quite a small section of the wine industry and market if you make this decision.

Another alternative is to add something to your wine which will cause a chemical reaction to occur forcing the sulphides to be released from the wine. I am not a fan of this method as the additive is bleach and if it is not fully consumed by the sulphides in the wine then it will remain in the wine and be consumed by yourself.

Personally my favourite method is to allow the wine the chance to breathe either in a decanter or in my glass and while this method perhaps does not remove all the sulphides it is the most natural method which allows me the ability to not be restricted in my wine drinking. Also drinking when eating allows the food to decreases the full effect of the wine on your stomach and insides in comparison to drinking on an empty stomach (something which I do not advocate either).

Phenols

Phenols in wine are naturally occurring chemical compounds which can be found generally in the wines skin. Therefore the percentage of phenols is higher in wines which have had increased contact with the skin, red wines and the more expensive generally the longer the time spent on skins. Phenols can also get into the wine through time spent in barrels and this again impacts upon only certain wines and more often red wine than white wines.

There is no products on the market for removing phenols like there is for wine. People who react to red wine have told me that drinking it over ice prevent it from occurring and I will have to ask my chemistry majoring friends about this as it is likely the lower temperature alters the ability for the reaction to proceed, but I will get back to you on that. The best advice if you fall in this category is to avoid oaked wine and wine which has spent a lot of time on skins.

Refining Products

Common refining products for wine are egg and milk. If you have an allergy to either of these products then the only solution is to avoid all wines with the product mentioned on the label. Due to allergic reaction is it a requirement for Australian wines to label if these products are used, so don’t be afraid to have a look at the back label.

Also if you are vegan than wines that uses refining products such as egg whites and milk are to be avoided. Yalumba Y Series is one range which I know is vegan friendly however there are many other on the market.

Yeast

Yeast allergies are noticeable when you feel fatigued after a glass of wine (or beer). Yeast allergies occur when the yeast is still alive in the wine and it is consumed by someone who is allergic to it. There is no solution to remove all traces of yeast from wine. Best solution is to avoid all drinks that use yeast in fermentation.

Until next time!

Wino 101: Wine Preservatives – Sulphides

Hey everyone,

Sorry for such a late and short post; I was without internet yesterday so it was hard to get the research done for this post. Just a quick intro into Sulphur Dioxide as a preservative and trying to demystify it. Preservatives are used to preserve the wines for transportation as well as shelf life, the preservatives do so by reducing spoilage of the wine through oxidisation and wild yeast continuing fermentation. The most commonly used additional preservative in Australian wine is Sulphur Dioxide/Preservative 220, however there is a few others which are also used less commonly.

Wine is alreay preserved by the acid, alcohol and tannins present in the wine. White wine lacks tannins and therefore looses out on it’s preserving features, the upside to this is that white wine often needs to be drunk in the short-term for the freshness of wine is a key part of a good white wine. While some white wines can be cellared for an extended period of time these wines are often higher in fruit flavour and often oaked. Preservation is also dependant upon many features of the wine from for example the grapes, alcohol, tannin and acid content, as well as the device in which wine is stored and it’s permeability.

Some people react badly to the sulphides or preservatives used in winemaking. There are products on the market which will release the sulphides from the wine such as SO2GO and pure wine, these are basically diluted hydrogen-peroxide aka bleach. I personally am not a fan of these additives as have studied chemistry in the past along with having bleached my hair the thought of adding hydrogen-peroxide even in a diluted form to my wine seems not only a sin but also not the smartest thing to do.

Sulphides however tend to me more present in white wine than red wine so when people say they are allergic to the sulphides in red wine they are more likely reacting to phenolics. I will put up a post in the future on phenolics as red wine allergies seem to be a common problem for many people I know and even I have from time to time felt a little rotten a while after a glass of red wine.

Until next time!

Wine(s) of the Week: Summer Break (week 3)

Hi everyone,

The review of my last Wine Essential Class and reviews of the wine’s I tried there can be found at this blog post for those of you who missed it. This class was spent comparing two different wines with each course of the meal and comparing and contrasting how different wines paired differently with the meals. This is something that I would love to continue at home to see how my palate deals with and prefers food and wine combinations.

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Crush Rose.

Mum was given a bottle of Barwick Estate’s Crush Rose which we opened with dinner one night this past week. The wine had berries and cream on the nose and a slight sweetness on the palate. It was a delicious wine! Tasting notes for the wine can be found here. This is a wine I would happily drink again and a big thanks to the family friends who gave it to mum!

Sitella Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay.

Sittella’s Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay.

To welcome the overseas family to Perth we began the night with Sittella’s Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay. This was not a bad drop, definitely one to make me curious to try the rest of their range.

Kerrigan & Berry Cabernet Sauvignon decanting.

Kerrigan & Berry Cabernet Sauvignon decanting.

Along with the bubbly I also dove into my small collection of Margaret River red wines, the family was given the choice of a 2007 Leeuwin Estate Arts Series Cabernet Sauvignon or a 2008 Kerrigan and Berry Cabernet Sauvignon. The Kerrigan and Berry was selected and was then decanted into my recently acquired decanter which BF spoilt me with for my birthday. The Cabernet Sauvignon spent roughly 2 hours in the decanter and what came out was a smooth and fruity but still young wine. Tasting note for the 2009 vintage can be found here, while it is the wrong vintage you can get an idea of what the winemakers were looking for.

Kerrigan & Berry Cabernet Sauvignon.

Kerrigan & Berry Cabernet Sauvignon.

Last new wine try of the week was Leaping Lizard‘s Semillon Sauvignon Blanc. This wine surprised me as I was expecting quite a mellow SSB but instead this wine packed a punch on the palate as if you had just bitten into a ripe lychee. Not a bad wine, and I personally think this one would go perfectly with seafood over the summer months! Tasting notes for the 2009 vintage (I tried a much more recent vintage) can be found here.

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Leaping Lizard Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.

I will be in the Swan Valley today with the family so expect to see a review of my wine and food discoveries next week! Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday and enjoy what is left of your weekend!

Until next time!

Pizza from Blend Cafe, Melville

BF and I returned to Blend Cafe, which was reviewed in the first posting on this blog. We opted for a takeaway pizza each (so we both would have leftovers for lunch the following day) and shared a bottle of Amerley’s Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.

Dinner

I had a Pizza called ‘Little India’ which consisted of tomato base, mozzarella, tandoori chicken, red onion and chilli finished with a cucumber and mint raita. It was zingy from the fresh chilli on it and I enjoyed it immensley!

Little India.

BF had the ‘Copacobana’ which consisted of tomato base, mozzarella, italian sausage, blend’s baked honey glazed ham, pancetta and pepperoni. I tried it after getting halfway through my pizza so for me there was not enough zing, but if you’re in the mood for a meaty pizza this one has a good array of different meats, all of which do not remind you of a domino’s pizza and it’s fatty meats.

Copacabana.

The wine was from Amberley, located in Margaret River. A label which has been made famous by it’s Chenin Blanc, and one which I had wanted to try more of their wines from. The wine was spritzy and refreshing, a good accompaniment to my zingy pizza. BF and I were both content with the spur of the moment wine choice.

Overall from Blend I would say I was more impressed with their pizzas (roughly $20 each) than their pasta from last time we went.

Until next time!

Blend Cafe on Urbanspoon

Vinituri

Update to last nights post: had a second generous serving of the 2009 Preece Cav Sav courtesy of my oversized Cab Sav (vinium XL range) wine glass from Riedel (I collected the glass at the Good Food and Wine Show in Perth earlier this year from a wine tasting session) when I realised that I had received a nifty little aerator from my Grandparents for my 21st this year that would speed up the airing of the wine. Oh my goodness did the second glass get poured very soon after! The device is called the Vinturi and it is a life saver for a last minute decision to have a glass of red! Vinturi also produce aerators for white wines and spirits, of which I cannot comment on except that I am definitely curious to try out the white wine one.

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Often when you look at the vintages of red wines in the shelves of bottle shops they tend to be young, the oldest I can remember seeing is 2005 (and that one was an expensive slow selling wine) while most mid-ranged and commonly bought red wines tend to be 2010 or later with the odd 2009 popping up here and there. So a device like this can really bring out the smoother and more fruiter aspects to your wine without having to wait around for a few hours for you wine to decant – even those cheaper red wines!

Also with regards to the glass, I am sure that there are many of you who will not believe me when I tell you this but the glass really does make a difference when drinking your wines. The reason I have some Riedel glasses is from a tasting session I attended at the Good Food and Wine Show which was based not around the wines sampled but instead around the glasses used to drink the wine from. It is amazing how something as simple as a glass can completely transform the smell, taste and texture of a wine. I will have to elaborate upon this in another post but to anyone who is curious and knows me I’m more than happy to provide a demonstration as we had in the tasting session.

And with that I will finish this glass of wine and head off.

Until next time!