wine

Why Wine makes you Happy ?

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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!

LABOR DAY – WHAT WINE TO SERVE WITH YOUR BBQ

Labor Day with our family sometimes begins local craft brews; such as not your NOT YOUR FATHERS ROOT BEER and you most defiantly can’t go wrong with good, cold beer in a tub of ice. My husband like me, are committed to being wine fans. Choosing the right wines isn’t as easy as you might think.  Often times, he would say it’s totally about the meat, the technique, and the sauce! I happen to agree

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There are many flavors you’ll come across while barbecuing: umami, smoky, salty char, and sometimes sweetness and savory. They’ll vary by which area you are eating the BBQ like in Texas barbecue, beef rules, either brisket or ribs, and is often served with a sweet, hot tomato-based sauce. The flavor is deeply smoky, the meat rich. On the other hand Southern-style like North Carolina pork barbecue, hang on on vinegar-based sauces and lighter spice rubs.

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So for a stern wine-and-barbecue conversation, big, heavy, high-alcohol reds seem heavy with rich meat goes great with chilled rosé.

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What you want for all types of barbecues are wines that rub the smoke and sauce off your tongue so you can take another fresh bite.  So with dense, ingratiating brisket needs the difference and refreshment of acidity and bright fruitiness. We are great drinkers of Super Tuscan wine barbecue pairing. These big, heavy, high-alcohol reds seem ponderous with rich meat. We feel biased just thinking about the combo. Here are some tips on what to try instead:

  • Rosé (“the beer of the wine world”) with barbecue.  Me, too—and the fruitier the better, to hold its own with smoked meat.
  • Syrah or some people call it Shiraz with your spicy chicken wings
  • White wine with barbecue only if it’s grilled shrimp or chicken with citrus-y rubs can be delicious with tart, floral-scented vinho verde, we’d rather drink bubbly or a chilled rosé.
  • Reds – Save big, bold, tannic, high-dollar reds, such as cabernet, for char-grilled steaks. The quick cooking doesn’t break down the meat’s fat the way hours in a barbecue pit do, but the wine’s tannin will do the trick.
  • Forget oaky wines. The meat is already smoky enough, and a spicy sauce will make the wine’s oak character stand out even more.
  • Keep your choices simple. Grilled foods and barbecue have so many intense flavors that wine nuances will be lost.
  • Pulled pork and succulent ribs go very well with lively pinot noir and with other high acid, lighter reds or rosés that can be chilled.

Rosé: The Best Summertime Wine

Now that summer is well and truly upon us, (and in fact, has been for some time,) we at Mel & Rose thought it appropriate to take the time to talk about that oft-ignored member of the wine family: the Rosé.  In that liminal space between red and white, the pink wine is rarely mentioned when discussing wine.  (After all, when was the last time you went to a restaurant and saw a “Rosé” section on their wine list?)  But, to discount this entire category of wine is to miss out on some of the most enjoyable libations that wineries have to offer, and it is the perfect accompaniment to a backyard barbeque, a pool party, an evening on the porch: basically, anything that has to do with a hot summer’s day.

A little background on rosé wine.  Like red wine, it is made from red grapes, but receives much less color from the grapes during its making.  It can be made using three separate processes: skin contact, saignée, and blending.

The skin contact method is the most common, and is the closest to the way red wine is made.  After the grapes are picked, they are crushed to extract the juices, skins left on.  Then, the skins and juice are left to soak together for a short time, usually around a couple of days, in a process called maceration.  The pigments and tannins in the skin impart some color to the juice, but not nearly the amount that a red wine would receive.  (A red wine would have the skins soak with the juice for weeks or even months before fermentation.)  After the short soak, the process is the same for most other wines.  Like white wine, the lack of extended maceration means that the wine is less oxidized and has less potential for aging.  Rosés should be drank soon after they are made and ought to be enjoyed right now.

The other process is the saignée method.  When making a red wine, the winemaker may wish to create a richer, deeper color and flavor than a normal maceration would allow.  So, he will “bleed” off a portion of the juice from the must (the mixture of juice, stems, skins, and leaves created after the grapes are crushed) to intensify the remaining juice.  This pink juice can then be used to make a rose.  While amazing rosés can be made with this method, it is traditionally considered to be inferior to the skin contact method, in that the rosé made is created from the “leftovers” of the “primary” red wine.

Finally, the blending method is exactly what it sounds like: a red and white wine are blended together to create a “pink.”  This method is very rarely used and is in fact illegal in the prominent rosé-producing regions of France.

Though you might not think it, rosé is most likely the oldest style of winemaking.  The ability to cleanly skin grapes (in order to make white wine) and to concentrate the must sufficiently (in order to make red wine) takes a lot of technical know-how that the earliest winemakers simply didn’t have.  They mostly likely were only able to crush the grapes by hand is barrels and then shortly after made wine out of the juice, which is essentially an early version of the skin contact method.  As winemaking progressed, rosé has always been present.  France, that great winemaking country, has been making rosés for hundreds of years in virtually all its winegrowing regions.  Provence, in the south of France, currently holds the reputation for the greatest roses in the world, but Rhone and Champagne are also known to make fantastic roses.  Italy makes rosé versions of many of their wines, including their Proseccos, while the Spanish make “Rosado” wines, some of which are made by a process called “dolbe pasta” (double paste), which is basically a reverse saignée method.  (The rosé is made by the skin contact method, and then the dry remains of the must is added to a macerating red wine must to concentrate the red wine.)

Rosés are made in the New World as well, though their reputation has been marred in the wine community by something called a White Zinfandel.  Also often called a “blush” wine, a White Zinfandel is a much sweeter version of a rosé made by a different process called a struck fermentation.  Often when making wine, a struck fermentation mean disaster.  After the juice has been drained from the must, it is mixed with yeast, which digest the sugars in the juice into alcohol.  The yeast, though, requires a very particular concentration of alcohol and sugars in order to thrive.  If the concentration is off, the yeast can die before they transform all the sugars into alcohol, leaving the remaining wine much sweeter than usual.  In 1972, a Californian winemaker named Bob Trinchero managed to salvage a struck fermentation of Zinfandel, which had resulted in a sweet, pick colored wine.  He marketed this as a new style of wine, dubbed “blush” by wine writers of the time, and reaped the benefits of its remarkable success in the 1980s.  Unfortunately, most wine connoisseurs did not enjoy this very sweet wine, and the reputation of rosé was swept along with it.  Now though, and in fact, throughout its wine making history, New World rosés of all styles, from bone dry to dessert sweet, can be found and enjoyed, whatever your taste.

Now, for some actual recommendations.  Although we have rosés of most every style and origin available, we have a particular fondness for those from Provence.  Of the rosés of Provence, our favorites would have to be from the Chateau d’Esclans Winery.  They have a range of four wines, starting with the entry-level Whispering Angel, followed by the mid-range Rock Angel and Clans, and ending with the luxurious Garrus bottling.

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But, our favorite, both for its flavor and its value, is the mid-range Rock Angel.  Their newest bottle, Chateau d’Esclans wishes for this to be their flagship offering, and it is certainly worth that title.  A bright and crisp wine, with soft red-fruit notes on the nose and front of the palate, it matures nicely to a dry, refined finish that leaves one exceedingly refreshed.IMG_1067

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If you are looking for something a little sweeter, Provence has another fantastic offering with Domaine Ott.  Their Chateau De Salle rosé is a pale pink color with gold highlights, that starts fruit forward, with notes of peach and lemon, before giving way to warm red fruits and soft vanilla notes, all wrapped up in the sublime terroir that only Provence is capable of.IMG_1062

So, now, as summer is winding down, if you ever are looking for something to drink that is cool and refreshing, while bright and flavorful, don’t forget about Mel & Rose and that dark horse of wines, rosé.  We promise it won’t disappoint.

Manteo Wine: Paying Homage to Those Who Came Before

Wine-making has been around nearly as long as human civilization itself.  So when the first English settlers arrived on Roanoke Island, they brought wine-making along with them.  They soon found two kinds of wild grapes growing on the island, which helped sustain them and the natives they soon encountered.  Though it would be a while before wine-making began in earnest in the New World, a 400-year-old strand of that grape still grows on the island, a clipping of which will soon be planted at American Pioneer Wine Growers new vineyard in Geyserville, California.

To commemorate this, they are releasing four bottles of wine to reveal the name of the vineyard.  The second of those bottles is Manteo, named after the Native American chief who helped the colonists and later became a trusted diplomat.  A rich Sonoma County red blend crafted with 28% Syrah, 16% Petit Verdot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 13% Petite Sirah, 6% Merlot, 4% Malbec, and 2% Zinfandel, Manteo debut vintage offers depth and balance along with rich, flagrant flavors of boysenberries, black cherries and cassis; featuring aromatic spices of pink peppercorns and notes of earthy minerals, tobacco leaves and smoky, toasted oak.

A truly remarkable bottle with a rich back story, Manteo is a bottle history won’t soon forget.

“Oenophilia” – Celebrities owning their own Winery!

francis-ford-coppola-francis-ford-coppola-winery-california images6VOYGGPH kyle-maclachlan-pursued-by-bear-washington It is true that celebrities have access to everything but to own their own winery is of course a very unique experience.

One of the well know celebs who has done this transformation with impeccable taste is Francis Ford Coppola and now this trend has been catching on many others in Hollywood.

Brad Pitt and Angelia Jolie are the epitome of a power couple. Among their charity projects and awards, Angie and Brad own a $60 million estate and winery in Provence, near a village of Correns.

Their winery is located at Château Miraval, a 1,200-acre estate in the village of Correns, France. Built in 1841, the French Country manor has 35 rooms and 926 acres of fountains, gardens, and woodlands. It even has a moat.

The couple just released their second award-winning wine this year, a rosé called the Chateau Miraval. The wine, which was was one of  Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines   last year, was released on February 7th and sold out with in 5 hours.    

The Château was also the location of their secret wedding.

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Brangelina aren’t the only celebrities with a wine label. Cliff Richard, Drew Barrymore, Yao Ming, Ernie Els, Antonio Bandaras, Francis Ford Coppola, Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, Zhao Wei and even rapper Lil Jon have one too. David Beckham reportedly gave wife Victoria a vineyard in California’s Napa Valley when she turned 34 in 2008, while former Brat Packer Emilio Estevez and his journalist wife Sonja Magdevski dug up the grass of their Spanish-style Malibu home, planted vines and started boutique wine endeavour Casa Dumetz in 2004.

While the trend of celebrities owning vineyards is no recent phenomenon — back in Roman times, philosophers, playwrights, politicians and generals often owned one for personal use —  it is increasingly possible to throw a stone at any film or sports gala and hit a star with a wine business these days. (In fact, in the last few months alone, this writer has met a banker, restaurateur, interior designer, fashion titan and tyre maker, all with wine ambitions, so this particular dream isn’t exactly celebrity-specific either.)

Some, like Estevez, do it to battle creative burnout. “I write a lot of dialogue out there,” says the writer-director of films such as Bobby and The Way of his Pinot Noir-planted garden in a New York Times article. “I’d [prune] a row and then go back inside to write and then [head] back outside,” he says. “It was a wonderful exchange.” What’s applaud-worthy is that Estevez, as Casa Dumetz’s assistant winemaker (Magdevski is the designated winemaker), doesn’t seem to trade on his fame to market his handcrafted blends. No where on the brand’s website is there even an “Estevez” mentioned; only one instance of a rather ambiguous “Emilio” in Magdevski’s foreword.

There is, of course, a difference between interest and passion, business and pleasure.
In the case of Brangelina, it has emerged that they do partake in back-breaking grape-picking, but leave the actual winemaking to their partners, the Perrin family, owners of the famed Chateau de Beaucastel in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, who have been enlisted to produce and market Miraval’s three wines — a white, rosé and red. Miraval’s connection to the arts and celebrities is a long one. Its previous owner was well-known jazz pianist and composer Jacques Loussier who outfitted the chateau with a recording studio where the likes of Pink Floyd, Sade, The Cranberries, The Gypsy Kings and Sting came to record music. Sting and his wife Trudie, incidentally, are owners of Il Palagio, a 351-hectare Italian estate overlooking the Tuscan hills which produces olive oil and honey in addition to wine.

“What draws celebrities to the wine business is that wine is a great brand and an easy way to slap their name on something and sell it, a la perfume,” WineLibrary.com’s Gary Vaynerchuk told the Daily Beast. While he wasn’t specific in his critique, one might imagine he refers to the likes of Mariah Carey, whose bubbly Angel Hint of Pink by MC is made by progressive champagne brand Angel, which sells unique bottles at up to US$250,000.

At the opposite end of the wine divide stands Sam Neill of The Tudors and Jurassic Park fame, who both Goodwin and Singapore-based oenologist and wine educator Edwin Soon single out for his abundant passion. Soon further declares Neill’s Two Paddock wines from New Zealand’s picturesque Central Otago region as “very good”. So good, in fact, that actor Liam Neeson buys them by the cases.

Like Estevez, Neill’s wine pursuits seem to have transcended from mere hobby to soul-enriching endeavour. “At the end of the day, I wanted to do something entirely different from what I normally do and this is as different from acting as I can think of,” says Neill during a recent stopover (on his way back from his Irish film set to New Zealand for the birth of a grandchild). “I’ve always loved farming and all that stuff,” he adds.

Though a descendant of wine merchants, Neill’s love affair with the drink only blossomed when, in 1979, the great James Mason, star of iconic films 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, North by Northwest, and Julius Caesar, took him out for a meal in Montreux, Switzerland. The bottle Mason opened was a Gevrey-Chambertin, a great Burgundy Pinot Noir. “I said to James: ‘What wine is this?’” Neill regales. “And his words were as follows: ‘This, my boy, is Burgundy and don’t ever forget it.’

“I’ve never forgotten that, and that’s why I got into Pinot Noir and eventually decided to plant some,” he continues. Two Paddocks, the name he christened his wines, was a deliberate choice. “I wanted the most humble name I could think of. And what we had was two little paddocks with three sheep between them before we planted the grapes,” he says. “Now, I’m always asked why not give up film and make wine. But, one, I love my day job and have no intention of retiring. And two, there is only one person at Two Paddocks who never gets paid, and that’s me.”

“Some stars do it because of the love for wine,” Soon states. Gerard Depardieu, the French actor who has taken up residence in Russia, is another fine example, he tells us. For decades, Depardieu had made wines — first in France’s Nuits-St-Georges, then Condrieu and then at Chateau de Tigné in Anjou — without so much as thinking to put his name on a label, that is, until he paired up with wine magnate Bernard Magrez (owner of Bordeaux’s Chateaux Pape Clément and La Tour Carnet) in 2001. The two are joint owners in La Clé du Terroir, which owns estates in Argentina, Bordeaux, Italy, Algeria and Morocco.

Speaking to Decanter’s Guy Woodward in 2009, Depardieu claimed he felt more comfortable in the field than on a Hollywood film set. “I’d rather work with winemakers than film directors. They don’t talk as much,” he said.

One film director, though, whose name is as synonymous with wine as it is with The Godfather franchise is Francis Ford Coppola, whose Italian-immigrant grandparents made wine in the basement of their New York apartment building.

In 1975, while looking for a small cottage in Napa Valley to use as a weekend family retreat and to make a little homemade wine, Coppola found what turned out to be the Niebaum Mansion in Rutherford, on the famed Inglenook estate. Three years later, he made his first vintage of Rubicon wine, and in 1995 purchased the remainder of Inglenook estate and began restoring it to its historic dimensions.

Believing that wineries could double up as what he calls “a park of pleasure”, Coppola next debuted the nearby Francis Ford Coppola Winery in 2010. Designed by long-time friend and Academy Award-winning production designer Dean Tavoula (whom Coppolo met on the set of The Godfather), the new winery drew inspiration from Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens and other modern family-oriented parks, and houses tasting bars (to sample the more than 40 wines produced onsite), restaurants, a swimming pool, movie gallery, performing arts pavilion and a park with game tables and bocce courts.

“As Inglenook began to emerge more as a kind of upscale place, I felt bad about the families that used to go there,” Coppola told The Globe and Mail. “I built [the Francis Ford Coppola Winery] as a place they could go.”

Actress and new mum Drew Barrymore would agree that wine and family go together. When releasing her new Barrymore Pinot Grigio last year, she said the white, made from grapes grown in Italy’s Triveneto area, was created to honour her family. As such, the label showcases a family crest (based on the sign at her family’s estate in California) and was designed by Studio Number One, the agency famed for creating Barack Obama’s “Hope” poster in the 2008 US presidential elections.

“Wine is all about the journey, the discovery of new places and new varieties. I’m excited about sharing this Pinot Grigio with my friends and family and other wine lovers,” Barrymore, a fan of crisp, fruity white wines, says.

The Chinese equivalent of Barrymore, actress Zhao Wei (who so happens to also be a Singapore Permanent Resident), has also jumped on the wine bandwagon. An enthusiast, she created quite a stir when she snapped up the sleepy Chateau Monlot in Bordeaux in 2011, pledging to maintain yet improve the winery’s status quo. Her first coup came when she managed to coax Jean-Claude Berrouet, ex-technical director at Chateau Petrus, out of retirement to join the winery as an advisor. More recently, Zhao was initiated into the Jurade of Saint Emilion — a brotherhood of wine dating back to 1199AD — after having been invited to join by current councillors of the group.

On the slew of celebrity-backed wine, Soon sums up: “The wine has to stand on its own — in tastings, wines are always tasted blind so judges are not influenced by labels and prices. That said, the link with celebs might appeal to some wine-drinkers who would like to take a bottle to a party that has a talking point.”

It also gives those of us who are everyday drinkers an opportunity to get closer to these otherwise-distant stars. Just imagine popping a bottle of Il Palagio Sister Moon and rolling a sip of its velvety Sangiovese-Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon on your tongue, while Sting’s jazz-influenced Sister Moon plays in the background. Trust us, by the end of the bottle, you’ll feel a pleasant dizziness that’ll put a smile on your face.Now let’s move on the Sting an Trudie Styler who have their own winery 45 minutes south of Florence,Italy.  They grow their grapes “biodynamic and Organic”

The 900-acre estate, known as Il Palagio, also has a 16th-century villa with swimming pool, 12 acres of vegetable gardens, around 80 bee colonies, olive groves, and several small lakes.

Their wines are also often named after Sting’s songs. The first wine they made was called “Sister Moon,” and they also have a wine called “When We Dance.”

In addition to wine, Il Palagio also produces honey and organic olive oil.

 

“The Godfather” director is a true oenophile and has produced over 40 wines from his resort in the heart of Alexander Valley, California.

The winery is named the, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, and is located in Sonoma County. The estate has a wine tasting bar, two restaurants, swimming pools, a movie gallery, a performing arts pavilion, and a park area with game tables and bocce courts.

The winery also produces a rosé called Sofia in honor of his daughter Sofia Coppola.

Now if you feel you like to take home a drop of Sting, some Francis Ford Coppola and even Mariah Carey be sure to go our website to purchase them. http://www.melandrose.com

 

CAVIAR PETROSSIAN PARIS @ MEL & ROSE

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My eyes always widened with excitement when there is a cause to celebrate with a fare of  exceptional caviar.  Petrossian Caviar is our official caviar because of it’s quality and world of knowledge that comes along it. But you don’t need to become a caviar connoisseur to to understand the basic knowledge of etiquette, many different varieties and special utensils required to serve with caviar. Below is a guide to everything a wife should know before ordering caviar at your next lunch or serving it at your next dinner party .  

Strictly speaking, the correct and proper definition of caviar is limited to eggs harvested from different species of sturgeon, traditionally Beluga, Osetra and Sevruga sturgeon from the Caspian Sea in Russia and Iran. However, the rising popularity of other types of fish roe in modern cuisine has caused the definition of “caviar” to broaden. Nowadays, basically any fish egg is referred to as caviar.

The tradition of preparing caviar has remained the same for thousands of years, and is one of the many reasons why caviar prices are so expensive. The harvesting, preparation and manufacture, of caviar is incredibly arduous, and follows strict traditional methods. Click “Continue Reading” to learn more.

A Brief History  of Caviar:

 The first known record of caviar dates back to the Greek scholar Aristotle. In the 4th Century B.C. Aristotle described this delicacy as the eggs of the sturgeon, heralded into banquets amongst trumpets and flowers. But it was Russia and the Russian Tsars that catapulted caviar into the world of utter luxury. The golden roe of the Sterlet sturgeon – now over fished to the point of near extinction- produced what would become the “imperial” caviar, the most delicate and coveted type of caviar available.
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Types of Caviar:

Beluga Caviar:  The best, rarest – and definitely the most expensive- of caviar’s is the Beluga Caviar, traditionally harvested in the Caspian Sea fisheries in Russia and Iran, from the white beluga sturgeon. Beluga roe is superb- large eggs, soft in texture, heavy and ripe, ranging from pale silver to black in color. By far the highest quality caviar you can get, with the most superior flavor. Soft, buttery taste, with a delicate and sweet flavor.

Sterlet: The small golden strerlet caviar which is rare and was once reserved for Russian, Iranian and Austrian royalty. Female Sterlet mature after five to seven years and produce a small-grain caviar. Sterlet caviar is light to dark gray in color and has a distinctively strong and intense flavor. It is most similar to Sevruga with regard to size and over all appearance offering an assertive styled caviar with a clean finish. Sterlet caviar makes for a perfect addition to caviar tastings or food pairings offering another worthy Caspian selection.

Osetra: The next-best-thing to Beluga Caviar, Osetra is of medium-size, and comes from the osetra sturgeon, harvested mainly in Russian and Iran. You’ll find caviar fans that will swear by this caviar, preferring it over beluga. To rest the case, osetra is a fantastic product all the way around, and in the world of gourmet caviar, it is definitely not a runner-up. It is intensely nutty, and has an oilier, silkier texture that just melts in your mouth. It is more recognizable due to its golden yellow/brownish color. Golden Ossetra or Golden Imperial caviar is highly sought-after by connoisseurs, and is very expensive. It is light to dark brown with golden highlights, Delectably fresh and fruity, Osetra has a firm, juicy grain with a distinctive nutty taste.

Sevruga: Here’s an option for those with a budget in mind: Sevruga caviar. You get the high quality and taste of a sturgeon roe, but from a far more common species of fish, therefore making it more available, and thus less expensive. The sevruga sturgeon is small, and reproduces faster that the other species, so this caviar is cheaper and easier to find. Taste-wise, it is strong, but the eggs are on the smallish side (slightly greenish or gray) and crunchier than the other sturgeon varieties. It is light to dark grey with brown highlights, The smaller beads of Sevruga allow for an intense, robust flavor of sea, green nuts, bitter orange, and cashew.

Salmon Roe: This is the cheaper alternative to caviar having been developed from the roe of whitefish and the North Atlantic salmon.

Accouterments to Serve with Caviar:

For serving accompaniments, always present caviar with blini’s (A small Russian pancake), toast points or unsalted crackers with crème fraiche. These are very subtle flavors made specifically to let caviar’s full flavor shine through.

Save the following garnishes for inferior grades of caviar:

  • Lemon Wedges
  • Finely Chopped Onion
  • Capers
  • Chopped Hard Boiled Egg

What to Drink with Caviar:

ChampagneAny excellent chilled brut or extra brut champagne will usually do. The savory saltiness of caviar finds another perfect counterpoint in the clean, crisp flavor of Champagne, preferably a dry, yeasty one with undertones of citrus flavor. And when serving these great epicurean pleasures, by all means invest in a set of fine glass flutes and a wine bucket to keep the bottle chilled.

VodkaA venerable Russian tradition, the pairing of vodka and caviar is customary throughout the world of gastronomy. Like wine and cheese, they are the ideal complements to one another. Served ice cold, vodka has a subtle flavor that allows the distinctive taste of caviar to prevail.

Choose a high-quality traditional brand and make sure it is well chilled, at least four hours or as long as overnight. (Vodka can be stored indefinitely in the freezer; it will not freeze but does become syrupy.) Serve vodka straight, in chilled tumblers or vodka glasses, or over ice, if desired.

Wine:  Chilled dry white wine as a substitute for Champagne. Good choices include a crisp white Burgundy, such as Chablis, Pouilly-Fuissé or an austere New World Chardonnay. Any rich, oaky wine would only mask the delicate flavor of caviar.

Storing Caviar:

Caviar is always packaged in small containers and meant to be consumed in one serving the same day. Unopened, its quality can be maintained for up to four weeks. After purchasing it should be kept in the coolest part of your refrigerator (28 – 32 degrees) and kept unopened and refrigerated until ready to serve. Don’t save leftovers as the caviar will change in taste and spoil quickly.

Serving Caviar:

You can estimate 1 oz. of caviar for every 2 people. Caviar should always be served chilled and NEVER at room temperature. If you’re keeping it out to serve, maintain chilled caviar by  keeping it in the original jar or tin over a bed of crushed or shaved ice.

Utensils for Caviar:

Caviar should ALWAYS be served with a non metallic spoon, like mother of pearl, glass or plastic. Metal and stainless steel plates and or utensils change the taste of the caviar and make it taste bitter or metallic.

Eating Caviar:

It is traditional etiquette to eat caviar in small bites, and if you’re just learning to eat it, small bites will help you experience the flavor more completely without becoming overwhelmed by the flavor or texture. A good rule of thumb is: Help yourself to amounts as small as a teaspoon. So as not to break the eggs, caviar should be spooned carefully with mother of pearl spoons onto lightly toasted bread or directly in the mouth.

What’s up with all the Sulfites in my Wine?

“Contains Sulfites” – I am sure you have seen these small words on the back or bottom of a wine label too often. Do you need to be concerned?  How much sulfites are in wine and how do they affect you?  Do you think your headache is caused by sulfites?  And ultimately Are sulfites in wine bad?

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About 5-10% of people with asthma have severe sulfite sensitivity and thus the US requires labeling for sulfites above 10 parts per million (PPM). Sulfur is on the rise as a concern among humans as a cause of health problems (from migraines to body swelling) because of its prevalence in processed foods.

Sulfur in Wine vs. other foods?

Depending on the production method, style and the color of the wine, sulfites in wine range from no-added sulfur (10-40 PPM) to about 350 PPM. If you compare wine to other foods, it’s placed far lower on the spectrum. For example, many dry red wines have around 50 PPM.

  • lower acid = more sulfur
  • more color (red) = less sulfur than white wines.
  • higher sugar = more sulfur —> secondary fermentation of sugar
  • higher Temperature = more release of sulfur

Why we need sulfites in wines?

SULFITES  = PRESERVATIVE

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Should I be concerned about sulfites in wine?

If you have sensitivity to foods, you should absolutely try to eliminate sulfites from your diet. Eliminating wine could be necessary. Perhaps start your sulfur witch hunt with the obvious culprits (like processed foods) before you write-off wine.

Father’s Day Gifts – not another tie!

Single malt whiskyFather’s day is around the corner, rather than give your father another tie to add to his collection, consider the perfect time to look toward distilled spirits as gifts. This is something he can share or keep and enjoy over an extended period of time. Don’t worry if you don’t know his taste; there’s something for every type of father:

For the Connoisseur:

Reserve a gift of Glenfiddich, the world’s most awarded Single Malt Scotch Whisky. The distillery, located in Dufftown, was built in 1886 by William Grant with the help of his seven sons and two daughters. To this day, Glenfiddich remains an independent, family-owned company run by the fifth generation of William Grant’s family. This independence allows the brand creative freedom to continue to innovate and set the standard against which the rest of the category is measured, while continuing to set the trend of releasing some of the world’s rarest whiskies. “The Glenfiddich 18 Year Old is a perfect choice for the father who knows his scotch. The whisky’s complex character and sublime mellowness comes from the long years of maturation in the finest sherry and bourbon casks,” said Mitch Bechard, Glenfiddich Ambassador ($84.99). For more information on other variants.

For the Craftsman:

Consider a bottle of The Balvenie – a unique range of single malt Scotch whiskies handcrafted by William Grant & Sons. No other distillery is like it due to the fact that The Balvenie continues to retain complete control over the five rare crafts that go into the production of the spirit: (1) Growing its own barley; (2) Malting in its own traditional malting floor; (3) Employing coopers to tend every cask; (4) Having a resident coppersmith to maintain the stills; (5) And having the longest serving malt master in the industry to ensure that the resulting spirit is consistently excellent. “The Balvenie is perfect for the father with the discerning eye for extraordinary craftsmanship, because it is that skill, along with our dedication to producing a truly handcrafted whisky, which sets us apart,” said Lorne Cousin, The Balvenie Ambassador. A recent release is 17 Year Old DoubleWood, created to commemorate Malt Master David Stewart’s 50th Anniversary ( $129.99)

For the Father or Grandfather:

Whiskey

Consider a bottle of Grant’s Family Reserve Blended Scotch Whisky for the one who has taught you many of life’s lessons. Produced by William Grant & Sons, Grant’s is a premium blended whisky and is made using a method that has been passed down from generation to generation for more than 100 years. It is now in the hands of the sixth-ever Master Blender, Brian Kinsman, who keeps alive William Grant’s passion for blending the finest whisky. “Brian skillfully blends around 25 of the finest single malt and grain Scotch whiskies to make Grant’s Family Reserve. The basis for the blend is our widely acclaimed Girvan grain whisky that is vacuum distilled at a lower temperature to make it a lighter, more delicate spirit. It is then aged in oak to give it a deeper, sweeter, soft fruit flavor, creating the perfect foundation and a great gift for the family patriarch,” said Ludovic Ducrocq, Grant’s Whisky Global Ambassador ($17.99).

For the Individualist:

The man who marches to the beat of his own drum might appreciate Hendrick’s Gin, the most unusual gin. This gin has taken the world by storm since it was first introduced 1999, thanks to its delightfully unique flavor – a combination of a distinct blend of 11 botanicals and the signature infusions of cucumber and rose petals, producing a wonderfully refreshing gin. Handcrafted in Scotland in miniscule batches by William Grant & Sons, Hendrick’s uses a marriage of spirits from a Carter-Head and Copper Pot Still. The combination produces a divinely smooth gin that has both the required character and balance of subtle flavors. “Hendrick’s is not for just any dad – it’s for free-thinkers enlightened to the unusual, inspired by imagination,” said Jim Ryan, brand ambassador for Hendrick’s Gin. ($34.99).

For the Laid Back and Sociable Man:

If your father is never at a loss for words, give him a bottle of Tullamore D.E.W. – a triple distilled, triple blend Irish whiskey with an intriguingly smooth yet complex character. Using only the finest grains and purest water, it is patiently aged in specially seasoned oak casks to develop its complexity. “Tullamore D.E.W. is meant to be enjoyed ‘Irish True’ style, surrounded by good friends and good laughs. It’s fit for the easygoing father, whether he’s out with his mates or home with his family; a seasoned connoisseur or a complete whiskey novice,” said Tim Herlihy, U.S. brand ambassador for Tullamore D.E.W. Give him the very best of the portfolio with the Tullamore D.E.W. 12 Year Old Special Reserve ($40).

For the Traditionalist Who Appreciates Modern Technology:

Milagro Tequila, founded in 1997 by Mexico City natives Daniel Schneeweiss and Moises Guindi, has quickly escalated into one of the world’s leading tequila brands with one foot in tradition and the other in the future. The spirit is created by combining the finest old-world techniques and traditions and applying modern technologies and processes to produce a superior product, and then triple-distilled in small batches from the finest blue agave from the Jalisco Highlands. “The Select Barrel Reserve line is a great gift for the tequila-loving father, and the award-winning bottle design sits nicely on the shelf,” said Jaime Salas, ambassador for Milagro Tequila.

For the Self-Made Man and Entrepreneur:

Present him with a bottle of elit™ by Stolichnaya®. With a bold and balanced flavor that is expertly crafted, elit by Stolichnaya has a velvety smooth finish with a unique taste and character. As a result of being made with the classic, authentic Stolichnaya base spirit, which is produced to the highest standards using 100% Russian wheat, rye and artesian well water, it is then distilled and filtered four times to ensure that the spirit is defined by its extraordinary character. After distillation, it is mixed with specially balanced water and goes through 3 filtrations, the first of which is the unique “freeze-filtration” process to ensure no imperfections remain in the final liquid. “This spirit is an ultra-luxury vodka of unprecedented excellence that ranks among the finest in the world, perfect for the dad who works hard for only the best,” said Brent Lamberti, brand ambassador for elit by Stolichnaya ($59).

For the Adventurer:

Consider a bottle of Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur – a spirit expertly crafted in Sicily and brought to you by Master Distiller, Lesley Gracie, the same distiller as of Hendrick’s Gin. Solerno is a beautifully crafted spirit from Sicily that has a sleek and vibrant Murano-inspired glass bottle and deliciously sweet and tangy blood-orange taste that makes it the perfect spirit for any Italophile father looking for a less conventional yet versatile bar staple. Solerno functions as a base spirit aswell as a modifier and provides a unique addition to a glass of wheat beer which, according to brand ambassador, Jackie Patterson, creates “the perfect twist on a traditional summer shandy”

Visit our site WWW.MelandRose.com to place your Orders.

Good etiquette ( Corkage Fee in restaurants)

 
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 While we are in the retail business of selling wine   many of you brought up the cost of wine in a restaurant.  
Wine pricing in restaurants is often mysterious, and sometimes insulting – so what’s a wine geek to do? Try BYOB, of course! Some restaurants allow you to bring wine at no cost, but many others charge what is known as corkage.

Corkage is sometimes a difficult game to play even though it seems to be pretty simple. The customer is granted the privilege, and it really is a privilege, to bring his or her own wine to be enjoyed at a restaurant and in return the restaurateur is paid a fee, essentially for the use of glassware, dishwashing, and lost income. Sounds simple right?  Well, not always.

Related Imagery

Corkage – An Infographic

 
First off, many people act like bringing their own wine to a restaurant is some inalienable right. This is the wrong foot to get off on. Restaurateurs are in the business of making money, and while that’s usually done by keeping customers happy, some customers just demand too much. Instead of giving the restaurant staff a hard time, why not move on to an establishment that caters to your desires?

If you want to bring your own wine to a restaurant, follow these guidelines and make it easier for the restaurant of your choice to cater to you! Corkage is a courtesy that the restaurateur extends to allow you to enrich your dining experience with them. It should not be abused. If a restaurant has a wine list, it was created to enhance your experience with them. Don’t try and abuse corkage just to save a few dollars.

1. Always ask

Many restaurants do offer corkage to their customers, but sometimes there are limits. For example, if you want to bring a wine that is already on the restaurant’s list, this may be frowned upon, and rightly so — since that list was created with you in mind. It may also be outright prohibited.

2. Find out the policy ahead of time

That includes knowing if there are any stipulations, like not bringing a wine on the list, having a limit on the number of bottles a group can bring in, and agreeing to the price charged. It’s the customer’s responsibility to find this information out before arriving at the restaurant, so make a call the day before if you are at all unsure.

3. Agree to the fee, or go elsewhere

The price charged should be one that you are comfortable with. I’ve seen corkage range from $2 per person to $100 a bottle. It’s a big range — in both of those cases, the charge was commensurate with the level of service you could have expected from the respective establishments. I paid the $2, passed on the $100, and found another restaurant that charged what I was comfortable paying. And I didn’t get on the internet and rant like an entitled boor about it.

4. Don’t be afraid to negotiate in special circumstances

Note: This is true on certain rare occasions. I frequently try to negotiate a rate for my wine tastings, but not for a typical dinner. Many of the tastings I organize include many old bottles of wine, and, frequently, some bottles that are shot and end up not being consumed. I don’t want to pay for those bottles, so I always ask the restaurant if they would charge my group per person instead of per bottle. It’s usually the same fee, except now we don’t have to worry about those clunkers costing us even more money!

5. Offer your server a taste of some of the wines

Or better yet, send some back to the kitchen. This not only will get you in with the most important folks in the restaurant, should you wish to return, but may also help get some or all of the corkage charges waived. Don’t quote me on that, but I have seen it happen.

6. Tip generously

Even though you are paying corkage that money goes to the house, not your server. While you have been able to save money on the evening, your server may be coming out on the short end since they lost out on the sale of a bottle or three. Take some of the money saved and add it to the tip, it’s good karma.
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What should you expect in exchange for paying corkage? Well, this obviously depends how much you are paying. I am pretty comfortable paying up to about $35 a bottle in corkage, which seems like a fair trade to me, but I do expect something for that $35.