Why Wine makes you Happy ?


Wine makes people happy, Its a known thing – but as it turns out, there are a few cool facts about this alcoholic beverage that you probably didn’t know. Here are 10 facts about wine that will make you look at your cup a bit differently.

1. The custom of bumping glasses with a “cheers” greeting came from old Rome where they used this method to make sure no one is trying to poison the other (bumping glasses makes the drink spill from one cup to the other). This tradition started even earlier in ancient Greece – where the host was to drink the first cup of wine to show his guests he does not intend to poison them.

Happy friends toasting red wine glasses at restaurant table

Happy friends toasting red wine glasses

2. And if we mentioned Rome – In ancient Rome it was forbidden for women to drink wine. If a husband found his wife drinking wine he would be allowed, by law, to kill her.

3. An ancient civilization that did not like wine was Egypt. The old kings avoided wine from the belief that the red alcoholic beverage is actually the blood of men who tried to fight the gods and failed. This is why, according to the egyptians, what makes people act irrationally while drinking it (alcohol).

4. Do you like wine AND living extreme? If you visit Vietnam, ask your waiter a glass of cobra wine.  This extreme beverage  is rice-wine covered with snake blood that is killed on the spot. if you’d like you can add the snake’s heart to the mix as well.

5. During the prohibition period in the United States, grape juice concentrate manufacturers took advantage of the big drinking lust Americans had and put a great warning sticker on their product saying “After you mix the concentrate with water, please do not keep the mix in a barrel for 20 days – as it will turn into wine.”

6. The world champion of recognizing wine by smell was crowned in 2003. Richard Juhlin, a sport ed from sweden, was able to recognize 43 wines out of 50. For comparison – second place was only able to recognize 4 of them.wine5

7. Although the temptation is great – try not to keep your wine in the kitchen. The heat there is too much and may damage the wine’s quality. the fridge is no place for a wine either since it is just too cold. Find a cool dark closet somewhere in the house where you can keep all your bottles, or just get a wine cellar.

8. If you own a collection of bottles – don’t keep them standing up – this can cause the cork to dry, shrink and oxygen\air might get in the bottle. always keep the bottles lying down (Unless its an artificial cork.)

9. A survey that was being held in said that women that drink 2 cups of wine a day tend to enjoy relationships more than women who don’t drink at all.

10. People who have wine phobia are called Oenophobia – and they really do exist. It might sound funny, but this phobia – just like others, cause them a lot of suffering, especially if they go out to restaurants a lot.

Now you can raise your glass be Happy!


Decanting a Vintage Wine


Regardless of color or style, the majority of wine for sale in our  wine shop does not require decanting. In general, if it follows the 3F principle (Fun, Frilly, and Fruity) or if it comes in a box, tin can, tetra-pack, or with a lizard  or fuzzy Koala  on the label, don’t insult yourself or anyone else by suggesting that it will improve with some breathing time!!!  It  will not. Decanting is normally reserved for full-bodied red wines such as vintage port, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, and the big Italians like Amarone, Barolo, and Brunello.Although it is enjoyable to do, there is no real secret to mastering the act of decanting vintage wine.

 A great number of  people feel more comfortable using some kind of filter such as a  funnel, or others things such a coffee filter paper. However if the bottle of wine has been properly prepared and addressed, such items are not always necessary!

If using a filter, most of us tend to pour the entire contents of the bottle into the decanter – assuming that all the deposit will be detached. At times the sediment in a bottle can be quite fine and passes through some filters leaving the wine somewhat cloudy. Decanting technique is more a question of style than anything else and you can opt for the quick, easy, and failsafe method of simply pouring the wine through a filter, or perhaps the more formal and traditional practice of decanting by candlelight.  For this reason we prefer the following steps.


1. A day before you intend to decant, place your bottle of Vintage wine upright. This will allow any loose sediment to fall to the bottom of the bottle.

2. Obtain a clean, odorless vessel. A wine decanter is perfect. Alternatively you could decant into another container, rinse out your bottle and return the wine to the bottle.

3. When pouring the wine into the container it is important where you hold the bottle. When the wine has been lying in our cellars at Mel and Rose, we  mark the uppermost side of the bottle at the bottom with a white mark, so-called the splash mark. The reason for doing this is that over the years sediment will have gathered in the bottle and settled on the lower side. Some of this sediment can stick to the glass so that if not careful when decanting, air bubbles can free this material and it will ruin the effect of your having stood the bottle upright for a day.

   As for a particular style of decanter, the possibilities are endless and you can really let your creativity run wild here. A perfectly suitable glass decanter will cost around $10 or run you in excess of $500 for something unusual – they do exactly the same thing. Just make sure it fits in Grandma’s old china cabinet before you fork out the cash.

4. To avoid the risk of this happening, when decanting, always place your hand on the same side of the bottle as the splash mark. In this way, any sediment stuck to the side of the bottle is below the wine and away from air bubbles entering the bottle as you pour.

5. If the splash mark has been wiped off, which is why at  Mel and Rose we will always put the front label exactly above the splash mark. In this way all you need to remember is that when you pour, have the label in the palm of your hand.

6. Now you must hold your decanter so that when you pour the wine you can see it briefly passing over the neck area of the decanter. This is because, as you pour with your steady hand, you are looking for signs of the deposit starting to come through. Stop as soon as the sediment starts to enter the decanter.

7. You will need a light background to see the sediment clearly. In the past, candles have been used for this.

8.  Pour in one steady movement. Stopping part way through will stir up the sediment and you will need a filter from there on in.

9. We  suggest you decant before the meal, you are likely to have a steadier hand and it will give all but the very oldest vintages the required time to breathe.

10. Finally, do not throw away the sediment. It is very nutritious and excellent in soups, sauces and gravy. You can freeze them in freezer ice cube bags.

It seems a long explanation, but once understood and practiced you’ll soon be a master.

Browse our Vintage wine selection.

Reading an Italian Wine Label

Although most common of wine labels have a rectangular shape, some producers use more creative shapes and, in some cases, even break the label into two separate parts!

Strangely enough, the information printed on the wine label sometimes is of little help in understanding the kind of wine that one is drinking. This is especially true when our customers are novice, who might not be familiar with the definitions used in enology, or when the consumer is a non-Italian speaking is purchasing an Italian wine abroad.

Here you will find a reference key to common information printed on all Italian wine label. We hope this elementary approacht will be helpful when you venture into the Italian section of a wine shop.

To explain our short supplement, we have chosen three labels that are different in shape as well as in the amount of information printed on them.
To provide a common reference key, we have numbered the data printed on the 1998 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva Bosco label, the one that includes the greatest amount of information from 1 to 11. On the other two labels we have skipped the numbers for which no information is provided. Thus, the 2000 Korem Isola dei Nuraghi label from Argiolas is missing numbers 3 and 11, while the 1998 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Conte di Bregonzo label is missing numbers 6, 10 and 11.

1. Type of wine
2. Wine appellation
3. Additional denomination
4. Vintage year
5. Name of the wine
6. Color of the wine
7. Quantity in milliliters
8. Alcohol content by volume
9. Nation of origin (in our case, obviously Italy)
10. Bottling company data
11. Importer (this information is obviously missing from labels of Italian wines purchased in Italy).

I love…. Amarone, maybe we should order another bottle!

I was recently at dinner with my husband. Together we sat at a patio on 3rd St, a small fire pit going in front of us and a glass of Amarone in hand. It was a wonderful minute in time that we as two working parents rarely get to enjoy. I spoke in complete gratification, “The Big stars are so distant & beautiful.” My husband looked at me, and I looked at him, and he said, “I love… Amarone, maybe we should order another bottle!”

So maybe it wasn’t as adoring as I may have expected, yet I nodded in perfect agreement. The fact is, with all the talk of Barbersco, Barolo, Sangiovese, Aliganico and the amazing white wines of Pinot Grigio I really do love Amarone.

Amarone is a wine that is made by the hand of man through procedures such as Recieto (Appassimento), where the collected grapes are left to dry for months before being pressed.
This raises sugar (hence alcohol) levels and gives the wine a haunting level of depth, complexity and the ability to age. There is also Ripasso, which is a process where the newly fermented juice (usually Valpolicello) is passed back over the lees of an Amarone fermentation, which adds depth and complexity to an otherwise fresh and easy drinking wine. Be warned, however, that in the hands of some producers, these techniques are used to cover up an otherwise inferior wine. But in the hands of quality producers, they can build works of art. The Vento is the perfect wine for a lover of big, bold Italian taste, especially when you are in the mood for self-indulgence instead of seriousness.

When speaking of Amarone however, these can sometimes be hard wines to recognise. Some Amarone are big, rich and with a level of residual sugar that comes through in the finished product. Others are fermented to be completely dry and show a bitter quality marked by high alcohol. This can make it difficult to know what you’re going to get when you purchase a bottle. And then there is the most common issue with Amarone, what foods to pair with it.

So what’s a wine drinker/collector to do? First, it is important to understand which style you prefer and, once you know, to stick with like-minded producers. As for pairing, most people will offer powerful cheeses (such as blue cheese) or desserts with concentrated flavors but moderate sweetness. In many cases, Amarone ends up being a wine that is enjoyed on its own, simply because it can be so difficult to fit into a meal.

My favorite paring of Amarone is with a creamy Risotto. I promise you will be blown away by how well Amarone paired with risotto . Here is a link of the Amarones that we have for you to enjoy.