Here's 12 interesting facts about wine you may not have known. I came across some of these nuggets in the past online, but was recently trying to figure out how many fluid ounces there were in a bottle of wine. Hope you find them helpful.
How much wine is in a bottle? Generally a bottle of wine measures the liquid in milliliters, with 750 ml being the standard amount in most bottles (or about 25 fluid ounces).
How many grapes does it take to make your average bottle of wine? It takes about 2 ½ pounds of grapes to make a bottle of wine.
How many bottles of wine does it take to make create a case of wine? 12
How many gallons of wine are produced from one acre of grapevines? About 800
Where does the vanilla flavor in wine come from?If newer oak barrels were used in the winemaking process, the wines will often have a hint of vanilla in both the aroma and flavor.
When was the corkscrew designed? Mid-1800’s.
How many varieties of wine grapes exist in the world today? Over 10,000!
How many gallons of wine does California produce annually? Over 17 million gallons
How many calories are in a four ounce glass of red wine Approximately 85
How many gallons of wine are in a single barrel? 60
How many grapevines generally make up an acre? 400
When did winemaking begin? The Mesopotamians were credited with producing the first wines in 6000 B.C.
I picked this wine up for about $26 from Master Sommelier Jesse Becker's périphérique wine merchant. As per his tasting notes, this seemed like a great pairing and it was. Here's Jesse's notes:
"We seek wines of terroir and authenticity from our Crozes-Hermitage growers, and we have one in the 2009 Domaine Combier Crozes-Hermitage. For you wine-searcher.com folks, please note that this is the Domaine-grown wine, not the négociant wine labeled "Laurent Combier," aka "the purple label." It was harvested by hand with yields around two and a half tons to the acre. Unlike our top-selling Bernard Ange Crozes, the grapes in this wine are completely destemmed, resulting in a wine that is pure and expressive of place and vintage. All of the wine goes into used oak barrels and is aged for 12 months. The wine is minimally sulphured and filtered ever so lightly.
The result is a deeply colored, intensely aromatic wine of superb depth and mid-palate richness. We are in love with the 2009s from the Northern Rhone, showing even more concentration than the 1999s yet with the finesse and focus of the 1990s. This 100% Syrah is black-fruited and mineral, with smoke, pepper, and complexity in the foreground, although these flavors will only continue to develop over the next decade in your cellar."
When I'm not leading the Rebellion you can find me at home making bite sized Admiral Ackbar's snack bars. They make a great finger food to serve as guests are coming out of hyperdrive and docking at your ship. I like to serve them with Rylothian Yurp so you won't get too filled up but will enjoy spice on spice action.
You can't get much more American on the 4th of July than eating a dog. I grew up on Chicago Style hot dogs because both sides of my family come from the windy city, and if there's one thing we eat every time we go to Chicago, it's hot dogs. But they have to be done right. This is about as close as I can get you to the real thing, depending on what ingredients you have available. The right ingredients matter!
The combination of ingredients come together nicely to give you tanginess from the peppers, sweetness from the relish, tart from the mustard, salt from the celery salt. I'm always talking about your taste regions: sweet, sour, bitter and salt and there they are all represented. The umami region gets props from the beef dog.
One of the best herb crusted salmon pairings is the 2010 Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. The lemongrass notes work well here, especially if you grill some asparagus and squeeze a little lemon juice with grated Parmesan on top. This is a full throttle white wine that you gotta swirl around in your glass to get the full experience.
Big expressive notes of lychee, lemongrass, passionfruit, fresh grapefruit are evident even as the glass is sitting on the table in front of you. It's not very often you can smell a wine that's almost two feet away from your nose. The aromatic fireworks practically fill the entire room. The notes are a good example of New Zeals Sauv Blanc typicity, but what I like about this one is it has a fatter mouthfeel because the winemaker leaves the wine on the lees longer. The result is a full body texture that'll stand up to the full body, rich texture of the vinaigrette.
Pairing Local is all about finding localized wine+food pairings in each region of the world. In this episode I visit Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander in Yarra Valley, Australia and meet a man who knows something about how your palate works. Winemaker, cheese maker and trained chef, Steve Flamsteed took time out of harvest to create pairings that feature the best of what Yarra Valley has to offer.
The first pairing was King Fish in a soy broth paired with Giant Steps Chardonnay, and the second pairing baby chicken with Pinot Noir. It goes to show Mother Nature gives us everything we need to eat and drink well in many regions around the world.
WINES TASTED IN THIS EPISODE:
2008 Giant Steps Chardonnay - Yarra Valley is a place where top notch Chardonnay and Pinot Noir flows like a river. Giant Steps has a unique production facility tucked neatly into into a building that features a bakery, restaurant, wine shop and wood fired pizza ovens. You could spend a week in there and be perfectly happy.
In the glass, this beauty shows candied meyer lemon peel, hawaiian pineapple, yellow carnations and baked bread. There's slight hints of toffee suggesting a deft balance of oak integration married with bright acidity. Yarra Valley is cold enough to give the wine the acidity it needs. It worked with the local king fish because the acidity cuts through the fattier fish, then compliments it with a backbone of minerals aka mild wet rocks (which sound weird but you want that), meyer lemon, honeydew, pineapple, marmalade and other tropical fruits. A ying to the yang of the soy broth on the fish.
2008 Giant Steps Pinot Noir - Australia makes some damn good Pinot Noir. Many wine lovers in the states may not realize it's not all about Shiraz and Cabernet. The Yarra Valley reminds me quite a bit of my beloved Willamette Valley in Oregon. The lush, rolling green hillsides are dotted with green grass and groves of big, bushy trees. It's farmland, and it's cooler than the Barossa or McLaren Vale.
Beautiful aromas of dark cherries, roadside raspberries and rose petals drift out of the glass. You can smell the wine even as it's sitting on the table in front of you. I also found some faint tertiary notes of asian spices. Like many Yarra Pinots there was a light body style, but focused intensity with soft, rose petal texture like cashmere. I liked the almost-chocolate-covered black cherry and RC cola notes, combined with raspberry tart, anise and smoky minerals. The Sexton vineyard fruit provided a fun experience and an exotic, sassy Pinot that paired nicely with the grilled chicken. But the secret to making this dish work was the onion cooked in stock for added complexity and savoriness.
In this episode I had a chance to visit d'Arenberg winery in McLaren Vale, Australia where Chef Peter Reschke (co-head chef with Nigel Rich) sourced local lamb and paired it with Grenache. When you think about McLaren Vale you might think Shiraz, but I really fell in love with the Grenache. Some of the oldest Grenache vines in the world can be found in Australia about two hours north in a little region called the Barossa. Grenache doesn't get much love as a grape, but when you get a good one, it can provide exceptional range in food pairings.
Mother nature blessed these guys with the gift of great lamb, as well as great old vine Grenache. Lamb can be prepared in a way that makes it both savory, yet delicate. Over the years I've really come to appreciate good quality lamb if it's raised right and comes from the right region. Chef Peter Reschke created three lamb dishes specifically to bring out the delicate, yet powerful notes of old vine Grenache and used herbs from their own herb garden at the winery.
WINE TASTED IN THIS EPISODE:
d'Arenberg is a well known Aussie winery in the states for wines like The Hermit Crab, Dead Arm and The Stump Jump. One wine you might not know or appreciate is the 2007 Custodian Grenache which is foot trodden and aged on lees to keep the flavor fresh and bright.
Distinct black cherries, stewed plums, dark red fruits and raspberries (almost blackberries) complimented by tobacco, earth and spice box surround the fine grained tannins. In other words, it was rich and robust without being hot or overpowering, yet smooth as a baby's butt. The reason it works is this Grenache has medium weight, yet great depth and complexity. If Grenache was a musician, it would be in a cool ass jazz trio with Syrah and Mourvedre. The three of them are hip and stylish on their own, but when they come together, they create magic.
Lamb can be a wonderful protein if seasoned correctly. Mutton might not be the way to go, but the three ways chef Peter Reschke prepared lamb not only showed off what this region has to offer, but how versatile lamb can be.
Matching wine with food means combining elements with similar levels of intensity. All three lamb creations, along with the wine had similar weight or intensity of flavor. Add in the complimentary dark fruit with key seasonings and you have another great localized pairing. For about $20 you can't go wrong. I'd highly recommend picking up a bottle. Thank you to the chefs at D'arrys Verandah.
. .Here's a wine+food pairing from Bergstrom's wine club. In my recent shipment they included this recipe, and being the pork lover that I am, I thought it would be good to share with all my readers.
Fruit Stuffed Pork Loin Roast
4 lbs boneless pork loin roast prepared for stuffing
1 cup pitted, chopped prunes
1 cup dried, chopped apricots
1 clove garlic
8 TBSP butter
1 TBSP dried thyme
1 cup Madeira
1 TBSP molasses
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees
2. Mix prunes and apricots, roll up in cavity of pork loin and secure with twine
3. Cut garlic clove into thin sliver, make slits in roast with tip of knife and push garlic into slits
4. Rub the roast with the softened butter then sprinkle with salt & pepper and thyme
5. Set the roast in a shallow pan, mix the Madeira and molasses, then pour over roast
6. Set the roast on the middle rack of the oven and bake 1-1/2 hours or approximately 20 min per pound. Baste frequently. Roast will be medium when the temperature is 160° degrees
7. When roast is done, remove from oven and cover with an aluminum foil tent for 15 min
8. Slice thin and spoon pan juices over slices. Garnish with watercress if desired.
GARLIC SCALLOPED POTATOES
3 lbs yellow potatoes peeled and sliced thin
2 cloves of garlic
6 TBSP butter
3 cups heavy cream
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Cut garlic and rub over the survace of a shallow casserole dish
2. Layer potatoes with dots of butter & cream. You can also add caramelized sweet onions to layering if desired
3. Bake slowly at 325° degrees for approximately 1-1/2 hours. It's important to cook slowly so the cream doesn't curdle but gets absorbed by potatoes
4. When done, increase heat to 400° degrees for last 10 minutes to brown tops
5. Let potatoes set for about 10 minutes before serving
To celebrate the global release of Penfold's Grange's new vintage, Penfold's hosted an evening of wine+food at Ghiradelli Square in downtown San Francisco. Celebrity chef Curtis Stone was tasked with creating food pairings to match with each wine. This was an incredible evening not only because of the food, but the people in attendance provided excellent conversation throughout the night. For me personally, it was a treat as I had just visited Penfolds' Magill estate a few week prior and had the chance to sit down with winemaker Peter Gago. All wines for the dinner were served out of magnum into varietal specific stemware.
One of the real treats of the evening was getting a personalized video greeting from Penfolds winemaker, Peter Gago. He is the man responsible for making Grange, and keeper of the Penfolds quality level. After dinner was over, I had a chance to talk with Curtis and get his thoughts on how he likes to pair wine with his food creations. What he says about balancing intensity of flavor is spot on. Think of intensity of flavor on a scale of 1-10. If you have a wine that's a 7 on that scale, you want the intensity in your dish to also be around a 7. Here's what Curtis created to pair with each wine:
First Course - Dungeness Crab, Pickled Petit Beets, Tangerine, Arugula, Aragon Oil & Shallot Vinaigrette paired with 2008 Penfolds Yattarna Chardonnay Curtis shaved the beets razor thin and then pickled them specifically to marry up with the acidity in the Chardonnay. The 2008 Yattarna has a distinct acid backbone, so much so that the wine will make the roof of your mouth tingle (which is how you detect acidity).
Second Course - Wagyu Beef "Tataki", Chantrelle Red Wine Compote, Horseradish Créme Friache Foam, Confit Baby Tomatoes, Micro Chives paired with 2007 Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz This was one of my favorite pairings of the night. The Beef was just right and really benefitted from the earthiness of the Chantrelle mushrooms. I think that was the thread that tied the Shiraz and dish together. St. Henri Shiraz might be the most "un-Aussie" style shiraz. The wine is fermented in large neutral oak barrels imparting very little oak influence, which allows the stellar fruit to show through.
Third Course - Strozzapreti Pasta, Foie Gras "jean Louis" Style, Pickled Ramps, Fava Leaves, Fava Beans, Beaufort Cheese paired with 2008 Penfolds 707 Cabernet Sauvignon I wolfed this dish down so fast I didn't even get to take a photo of it. The 707 is an exceptional Cabernet that's decidedly Australian meaning it truly expresses the place it is grown without being overpowering. One of my favorite Cabernets (also Penfolds), Block 42 goes into this Cabernet allowing the wine to have power combined with finesse.
Fourth Course - Sonoma Quail "Lardon", Crushed Purple Potatoes, Bacon, Sauce A La Orange, Frisee paired with 1998 and 2008 Penfolds RWT Barossa Valley Shiraz Curtis wanted to try an alternative version of Duck A La Orange and it worked beautifully. It takes confidence to serve a quail dish after beef and pasta, especially when you're doing a progression dinner. This dish was really tasty, but not the best pairing of the night. The RWT Shiraz was a solid example of what Barossa Shiraz can be in a great vintage, but ultimately it was a bit too much for the quail. The 1998 RWT was so youthful in both color and fruit it was hard to believe this was a 13-year old wine. Many red wines start to change color around the rim as that age changing from red to pink to salmon to a brownish hue. The 1998 was showing now signs of age yet, and with such a youthful nose it's got another 20 years ahead easily.
Fifth Course - Australian Lamb Loin "En Croute", English Pea Puree, Morels, Pea Sprouts, Lamb Jus paired with 1996 and 2006 Penfolds Grange As if the night could get any better, it did. Curtis saved his best for last with the lamb loin wrapped in philo dough. The real star of the dish was the pea puree providing a unique combination of texture and flavor. I take that back, the real star of the dish was the lamb wrapped in a thin puff pastry. No, wait. Maybe the star was the lamb ju. No matter how you look at it, if you're going to create a dish to pair with an iconic wine like Grange, it better deliver and this one did. What can you say about Grange that hasn't been said? This 2006 vintage combines the power of the 2004 but has the elegance and grace of 2000. If you follow the "law of 6's" you'll see Grange tends to be at its best in years that end with the number 6. Can't wait to see how 2006 develops over time.
Dessert - Delice Cheese, Berkshire Lomo, Crispy Bread, Sausalito Springs Watercress, Quince Paste Essence paired with NV Penfolds Grandfather Tawny Port Dessert is my favorite course, and a cheese plate is a good way to go. This cheese was a small little morsel but it was "triple creamed" creating a rich foamy brie texture. The crispy bread was paper thin providing just the right compliment for the cheese. Of course you can't go wrong with a nice Tawny port. I love port, and had a chance to talk port and madeira with Bartholomew Broadbent recently. Many wine lovers might now realize this, but Aussies make some of the best fortified wine in the world from port to Muscat. The Penfolds Grandfather Tawny port was provided an exclamation point on the evening.
This was a night full of celebrities and great company. Wine+food never ceases to amaze me in its ability to bring people together. From a wine lover standpoint, it was one of the best meals I've had in a long time. From a sommelier standpoint, these wines represent the pinnacle of what Penfolds makes. Mrs B and I don't drink Penfolds as much as we used to, but it's always good to be reminded about a winery is capable of. This meal along with my recent tour through Australia has reminded us about all the great wines coming from Australia, Penfolds and the Barossa. Thank you to Penfolds for inviting my wife and I to be part of the May 1 festivities. Cheers!
I had a chance to visit the Rockwood Room in Houston, Texas. Originally, I visited because their bartender won a drink competition in NYC with his bacon-infused Whiskey. But after meeting with Chef Michael Del Maggi, it became clear he had a perfect localized wine+food pairing that needed to be shared with the world. Chef Del Maggi used pork belly sourced from just north of Houston, he then braised it in a Coca-Cola mix and added some accoutrements to enhance flavors. We paired it with the Becker Vineyards Cabernet-Syrah from Hill Country.
* as a side I'd like to apologize for the sound and video quality in this episode. The camera we planned to use crapped out on us so we shot this entire episode on my iPhone..
WINE IN THIS EPISODE
Hill Country wines are gaining mass love from wine lovers and critics alike. The higher elevation of Hill Country gives Texas wines one of two things they need to make good wine: cold temperatures at night. During the day, heat and sunlight aren't a problem, so it's a good thing when winemakers find a place to grow good, quality fruit.
Becker Vineyards has a long history of making quality wines with critical acclaim. We found the coca-cola braised pork belly had sweet and savory flavors that lent themselves to this new world styled wine. There's gobs of ripe fruit, low tannins and low acidity... Some might compare this wine to some low priced Australian wines. For a localized pairing, it works. Coca-Cola braised Pork is a treat, and this wine is one of a dozen that would've paired well.
My video series, Pairing Local is all about finding food+drink pairings in different regions around the world. I love finding local ingredients, and seeing how chefs marry flavors with local wines or beers. At the Four Seasons in Vancouver, Chef Oliver and Chef Grant each took at run at a localized pairing. Chef Oliver assembled a Charcuterie board featuring local meats and cheeses. He paired the Nichol Syrah from British Columbia with the selections, which was a great pairing.
Chef Grant went with a white wine, choosing Stag Hollow Sauvignon Blanc also from British Columbia. His pairing with Dungeness Crab, pureed peas and parsley along with grapefruit was incredible. The sweet/salt flavors in the local crab offset the sweeter pea and sour grapefruit notes. Perfect with the Sauvie B!
Wines Tasted This Episode:
Stag's Hollow Sauvignon Blanc - Sauvignon Blanc is a grape that can really reflect the place it's grown more than many white varietals. You could try Sauvignon Blanc's side by side from Bordeaux, Margaret River, Napa Valley, Chile, New Zealand, Loire Valley and South Africa...they'd all be completely different. One thing that helps set them apart is where they're grown, and the temperatures in the place it's grown. Colder temperatures during the growing season generally lead to higher acid, and in my opinion, better Sauvie B.
This was a successful Pairing Local match. The tender, sweet succulent dungeness crab has a natural saltiness. I the local grapefruit slices along with sweet pea puree all came together nicely, and lobbed one over the plate for the Sauvignon Blanc. It had the right amount of acid to cut through the crab and pea puree as well as natural delicate grapefruit undertones. This was a home run. Double rainbow all the way!
2007 Nichol Syrah - I'm in disagreement with many of the wineries in the Okanagan Valley. They seem to think red grape varietals like Cabernet, Merlot and Cab Franc do well on the Naramata Bench. I don't think they show well unless the winemaker overly extracts the juice and overly oaks the wine. Syrah and Pinot Noir seem to show better typicity and represent the growing conditions.
This is a honey badger in a glass. Honey badger don't care—its fearless. Nichol Syrah doesn't care if there's a glut of Syrah or that wine drinkers aren't buying much of the grape. This is a tenacious wine that's neither too heavy or lacking personality. It doesn't have to hit you over the head and overpower your palate to show you it's refined black fruits, stewed plum and sassy acidic backbone. The cobra in this scenario is the charcuterie board, and it doesn't stand a chance.
On a recent visit to British Columbia, I had the privilege of getting a personal tour from chef and owner of Edible British Columbia, Eric Pateman. We took a walk around the Granville Island food market, located on the water in the heart of Vancouver. If you love food like I do, you've gotta visit these guys when you go there.
Although public eateries existed as far back as Ancient Rome and the Sung Dynasty in China, today's modern restaurants originated in 18th century France. The word, Restaurant comes from the French word, restaurer which means "to restore". Early establishments were built as a place where people could come restore their energy and strength. The establishments weren't fancy nor did they have tables with linens. They were basically rooms where someone could come and consume meats that would restore one's health, especially when someone wasn't feeling well.
The modern Café originated in Constantinople in the 1500's and served as a place where educated people could come meet. Coffee was big in Constantinople, so the term coffee house translated into café.
During the French Revolution restaurants evolved into something like today's establishments where food and drink were served. One of the first restauranteurs was a man by the name of Boulanger, who opened a spot near the Louvre where people could stop and restore their health. Another restaurant called the Grand Taverne de Londres was opened by Beauvilliers in 1782. Until this moment in history, meals weren't prepared for individuals by a chef. Patrons ate what was offered. Beauvilliers and Boulanger created the first menus with dishes that could be prepared individually by a chef.
History's first sommeliers came from the same time period. The word, sommelier came from a French word that was for designated court servants who were responsible for transporting supplies. Over time, the word evolved to represent a steward who was responsible for stocking and serving wine, beer and spirits. Today, a sommelier needs to know what the wines in their restaurant taste like and be familiar with how the wines would pair with foods. Sommeliers also need to be familiar with beers, cigars, spirits and represent a high level of service.
I became a Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers because I wanted to be an educator, a student, a servant and a reference for wine+food. Hope you find this information useful for the next time you're dining out. Happy dining!
Here's the qualities I look for when evaluating a wine:
Balance - Like a good movie, a good wine has tension between the elements. When the components have equal tension between opposing forces it creates more drama, which means more interesting stories to tell.
Precision - When you look through binoculars you have to adjust the dials to bring things into focus. How well did the winemaker bring the wine into focus? How well is the grape representing typicity for where it was grown?
Distinction - What gives the wine it's personality? For example, a Burgundy is a thing that has a familiar distinction.
Complexity - How does the wine unfold on your palate?
Length - Here's a word you often hear associated with "finish". What is the wine's volume of impact? If its length were a graph how would it look? How long would it take for the wine to fade away from your taste buds?
X-Factor - Here's where the winemaker adds their personality. If the wine were a dancer, how would its choreography appear on your palate? Is it a black swan or a white swan?
Sense of Place - A wine should express its sense of place and connect you with it. A Pinot Noir from Oregon will express sense of place differently than a Pinot Noir from France. How well does the wine do it?
What do you look for in a wine? Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
One of my favorite wines to serve with pork is Pinot Noir. Pinot and pork go together like movies and popcorn. It may be one of the best wine+food pairings around. Grenache is another wine that does pork justice and the reason why is cherries. Pinot Noir and Grenache have notes of cherries, which is why I pulled out this recipe:
1 pork tenderloin
1/2 cup beef stock
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup pinot noir (see uses for leftover wine)
1 TSP nutmeg
1/4 cup shallots, minced
1 TBSP olive oil
3 TBSP sugar
2 TBSP sweet cherries in syrup
1 TBSP ground chipotle
salt and pepper
First step, tell your taste buds to buckle up 'cause this is going to be a good meal.
Next, season the pork tenderloin with salt, pepper and chipotle. You can use dry or canned chipotle. The idea is to get some of that smokey spice on the pork.
In a skillet, heat 1 TBSP olive oil and sear the pork on all sides, about 30 seconds over medium high heat. Remove the pork and set aside to grill. Preheat the grill to medium. I like to smoke the pork with indirect heat but you can just grill it. Cook the pork on the grill about 25 minutes or until done.
While pork is cooking on the grill, sauté shallots in skillet over medium heat making sure to use a wooden spoon to scrape pork bits off pan. After shallots start to brown, add in balsamic vinegar and sugar, reduce until it's about a tablespoon. Add in the wine and nutmeg. Simmer until the liquid reduces to about 1/4 cup. Add in the beef/chicken stock and simmer until liquid reduces to 1/4 cup. Add in cherries in syrup. Reduce heat to keep the sauce warm until pork is ready.
Remove the pork from the grill when it's done. Slice into medallions and serve with sauce spooned over pork.