12 Things You May Not Know About Wine

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.

Grappe Grenache
Grappe Grenache

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.

Admiral Ackbar's Guide to Holiday Wine+Food

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.

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4th of July Hot Dogs (Chicago Style)

 

photo courtesy of blogchef.net

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.

Herb Crusted Salmon w/ Lemon Caper Vinaigrette Wine Pairing Recipe

herb crusted salmon
Norwegian salmon works best

WINE PAIRING:

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.

Fruit Stuffed Pork Loin Roast w/ Bergstrom Pinot Noir

. . 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.

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Fruit Stuffed Pork Loin Roast

INGREDIENTS 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.

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GARLIC SCALLOPED POTATOES

INGREDIENTS

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

The History of Restaurants & Dining

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!

7 Things to Look for in Wine

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.

Pork Tenderloin w/ Cherry Sauce

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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:

INGREDIENTS 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.

A Trio of Spanish Cheeses

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Rich and buttery with a wood-smoked nutty nuance along with citrus undertones.  Made with raw sheep's milk.

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Made just 50 miles west of Madrid, this is technically a blue cheese — tangy, salty, and robust.  You'll even find hits of juniper.  In fact, that's what the word "Enebro" means.

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A firm textured cheese with a rind washed with fresh rosemary and olive oil, this cheese is then aged in an open cave for 8 months.