Posted by: wineatlunch | May 5, 2010

Taste the sweet stuff in life- honey!

Honey is a sweet food made by certain insects using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees (the genus Apis) is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans. Honey produced by other bees and insects has distinctly different properties.

Honey bees form nectar into honey by a process of regurgitation and store it as a food source in wax honeycombs inside the beehive. Beekeeping practices encourage overproduction of honey so that the excess can be taken without endangering the bee colony.

Honey gets its sweetness from the monosaccharides fructose and glucose and has approximately the same relative sweetness as that of granulated sugar. It has attractive chemicalAll Star!properties for baking, and adistinctive flavor which leads some people to prefer it over sugar and other sweeteners. Most micro-organisms do not grow in honey because of it has little to no water.

Honey has a long history as a comestible and is used in various foods and beverages as a sweetener and flavoring.It also has a role in religion and symbolism. Flavors of honey vary based on the nectar source, and various types and grades of honey are available. It is also used in various medicinal traditions to treat ailments. The study of pollens and spores in raw honey can determine floral sources of honey.

Join GiraMondo as we explore honey from around the world and learn how it is made, tastes, and differs depending on the plant from which the pollen is gathered. Our Taste Buds University Honey Class and Tasting is this Friday!

Posted by: wineatlunch | April 21, 2010

Wine and Twitter- a perfect pairing!

All Star!As many of you are aware, Twitter is one of the many platforms of social media. Unlike other social media outlets like Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter has been the fastest growing and fastest accepted social media tool. Celebrities, politicians, corporations, companies, movements, clubs, and more have a twitter account. It’s a fast and easy way to connect with people, send out a message, and have a voice be heard (if you know what you’re looking for). So how does the wine industry come up in this 2010 twitter world?

As you can see in the graph above, while it is a generalization, the adoption of twitter by wine bloggers is immense and winos are one of the groups leading the way in tweets. Veteran wine bloggers like Dr. Vino, Nat’s Decants, and Gary Vaynerchuck have twitter accounts and share wines and tasting notes throughout the day- every day. Twitter allows lesser known twitters to have a voice among the big guys as well. Even groups dedicated to learning about certain varietals or regions exist for you to follow and share.

One area where Twitter is influencing the wine industry is tasting. Companies, groups, and friends who may be separated by distance can now taste “together” on Twitter. This doesn’t mean you have to taste at the same time or taste your wine while constantly tweeting. Giving a short and concise note about a wine you drank will help those who follow you learn about the wine and decide if it might be one for them to try. This also works the other way around and you can choose who you follow based on their wine tweets and reviews giving you a wealth of information throughout the day- every day.

Twitter is fast changing the landscape where we share and receive information and wine information is one of the most exciting parts about it!

All Star!While your nose determines different flavors and aromas, yourmouth is an integral part in the tasting process. It takes those flavors and aromas and recognizes them as one of the five tastes- sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and savory (umami). Combined, your nose and mouth give you the overall experience of eating or drinking something and how that item tastes to you.

Your mouth is covered with thousands of taste buds. These little receptors are on your tongue, inside your cheeks, the back of your mouth, the roof of your mouth, and top of your throat. In general certain parts of your tongue were associated with certain tastes. The average person has about 10,000 taste buds and they’re replaced every 2 weeks or so. But as a person ages, some of those taste cells don’t get replaced. An older person may only have 5,000 working taste buds. That’s why certain foods may taste stronger to a child than they do to adults. Smoking also can reduce the number of taste buds a person has.

These little taste buds are what allow us to understand and enjoy food and drinks. In exploring what your taste buds are capable of, one can try foods of different textures, consistency and taste to feel different mouth sensations and tastes. Working together with your nose, your taste buds give your brain an overall account of the food or drink is like and if you think it’s tasty or not. Challenge and explore your taste buds by tasting the same food but of different qualities or types… say tea or wine or cheese!

As you have probably noticed, GiraMondo has decided to expand its offering of tasting experiences to drinks other than wines (Beers, Cocktails, Spirits) as well as to non-alcoholic but tasty food and drinks, including the study of Tea, Honey, Chocolate, Cheese, Olive Oil, and Mushrooms (in season). We will invite specialists to join us to present these topics over the next few months and jumpstart our Taste Buds University! Tastefully yours!

Posted by: Hailey | April 7, 2010

What has more tannins than red wine?

All Star!After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. This drink, made from steeping leaves of theCamellia sinensis plant, can come in all tastes and colors. In general, it is slightly astringent and full of antioxidants.

While all tea is made from the same species of plant, the actual flavors, aromas, color and transparency of the tea will be different depending on the variety used, how the leaves are grown, and processed.  There are exceptions to this such asherbal teas which use an infusion of other plants to give even different flavors and aroma. There are six main types of teas including white, yellow, green, oolong, black, and pu-erh which is fermented aged- similar to wine. Tea also comes in many different forms including loose leaf, in bags (those were invented in the US in the 1904), and as blooming tea balls.All of which impart a different experience for the senses.

As one of the world’s oldest drinks, tea has been consumed since before 10,000 B.C. and got its start in China. Today, many Asian countries are known for cultivating tea including China, Japan, India, and Thailand. Tea isAll Star! produced in many parts of the world though and each country/region has a specialty or certain teas they produce most.The U.S. only has one tea plantation located inSouth Carolina. However, the U.S. does have a hand in the history of tea creatingteabags in the early 1900s and sweet tea in the same year. However, sweet tea is widely a drink only consumed in the United States.

Posted by: wineatlunch | March 19, 2010

Wines Tasted at the German Wine Event!

Last night,  Giramondo Wine Adventures held a tasting at the German Embassy featuring a variety of wines from throughout Germany. The wines were accompanied by some traditional German food as well as some Asian cuisine, which paired well with the sweet flavors of the German Rieslings.

Wines Tasted:

  • 2007 Kuhling Gillot – Trocken (Rheinhessen) – 100% Riesling
  • 2007 Merkelbach – Kabinett – Urziger Wurzgarten (Mosel) – 100% Riesling
  • 2007 Strub Niersteiner – Spatlese – Paterburg (Rheinhessen) – 100% Riesling
  • 2007 Dr. Loosen – Auslese – Wehlener Sonnenuhr (Mosel) – 100% Riesling
  • 2007 Selbach – Eiswein – Himmelreich (Mosel- Saal-Ruwer) – 100% Riesling
  • 2008 Selbach – Spatlese – Saar (Mosel) – 100% Riesling
  • 2008 Hexamer Meddersheimer Quarzit – Rheingrafenberg (Nahe) – 100% Riesling
  • 2007 Hexamer – Kabinett – Darting (Pfalz) – 100% Gewurztraminer
  • 2008 Leitz Rüdesheimer Klosterlay – Kabinett – Rheinhessen – 100% Riesling
  • 2007 Kruger Rumpf – Spatlese (Nahe) – 100% Scheurebe
  • 2007 Friedrich Becker – Spatburgunder (Pfalz) – 100% Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir)

Our favorites were the 2007 Dr. Loosen and 2007 Merkelbach.

Posted by: Hailey | March 11, 2010

Gewürztraminer- a German Super Star!

Gewürztraminer has long been a stand out varietal in Germany. With it’s cool climate, Germany provides the perfect place for this delicate and versatile grape to grow. Often mistaken as a wine that is only sweet, Gewürztraminer in Germany has a wide range of flavor profiles and aromas.

Gewürztraminer  is an aromatic wine grape variety that performs best in cooler climates. It is sometimes referred to colloquially as Gewürz, and in French it is written Gewurztraminer (without the umlaut). Gewürztraminer is a variety with a pink to red skin color, which makes it a “white wine grape” as opposed to the blue to black-skinned varieties commonly referred to as “red wine grapes”. The variety has high natural sugar and the wines are white and usually off-dry, with a flamboyant bouquet of lychees. Indeed, Gewürztraminer and lychees share the same aroma compounds. Dry Gewürztraminers may also have aromas of roses, passion fruit and floral notes. It is not uncommon to notice some spritz (fine bubbles on the inside of the glass).

Its aromatic flavors make Gewürztraminer one of the few wines that are suitable for drinking with Asian cuisine. It also goes well with Münster cheese, and fleshy, fatty (oily) wild game.Smoked salmon is a particularly good match.

Thought to have originated in northern Italy, gewürztraminer means spicy traminer and traminer refers to the place of origin- Tramin. Over the years there have been many grapes misidentified as gewürztraminer and many crossings of the grape. It has thrived in many parts of Germany and Alsace, France. This grape can be made into sweet wines to bone dry. There is not one flavor profile that can describe it perfectly.

Posted by: Hailey | March 5, 2010

What to eat with your German Wines?

All Star!Germany produces a wide range of white, rose and red wines.Because they are generally lighter, crisper, and more fragrant than most other wines, German wines are often perfectly suited to today’s lighter, more flavorful fare.

What makes German wines so versatile?

Germany is a northern European wine country, whose cool climate and long growing season yields wines with refreshing crispness, elegant flavors, and moderate alcohol content (averaging 8% to 11%, compared with 12% to 13% for wines from most other countries).

At the table, this natural lightness, combined with the wine’s underlying crispness, allows German wines to pair easily with a broad range of foods. And the elegant fruitiness of German wines marries readily with robust–and refined–dishes of all types.

All Star!A sure combination is to pair wines with foods indigenous to the same region. A light slightly sweet Riesling pairs nicely with heavier cheeses and sausages- acting as a contrast to the fattiness of the food. A dry gewürztraminer will pair nicely with spaetzle. These are easy and delicious pairings.

Asian food has also been a favorite to pair with German wines. The spices and sauces are greatly contrasted and complimented by the light German wines. A sweet wine will also lessen the spiciness of some dishes making them more enjoyable.

Either pairing is a culinary adventure and allows different flavors and aromas to come out in both the wines and foods.

Posted by: wineatlunch | March 2, 2010

Georgian wine at lunch

We shared a Georgian Saperavi 2003 today made by the Gogi Dakishvili, the wine maker at Vinoterra Winery. Gogi produces elegant wines using both traditional European and ancient Georgian wine making techniques. The wine is produced from 100% Saperavi grapes which are native to Georgia, although several wine makers in Australia and Upstate New York are beginning to experiment with the grape. The naturally thick skinned violet colored grape produces a deep colored wine. It is made into several styles of dry and semi-sweet reds.  The wine is initially fermented 20 days in Qvevri, clay vessels that have been used since the beginning of Georgian wine making. The earthenware vessels are stored in the earth to ensure a constant temperature.  The wine is then transferred to stainless steel for malolatic fermentation and finally is aged in French oak barrels for 2 years before bottling.

Like many Georgian wines, the substantial level of acidity in the Saperavi 2003 encourages food pairing. It tastes of ripe cherry, black current, pomegranate, and toasted oak. The strong earthly flavors naturally soften producing a supple and elegant wine. It would pair well with robust dishes with red meats or mushrooms.

Posted by: Hailey | March 1, 2010

Wines tasted at the Italian Wine Festival!

Northern Italy:

  • 2008 Zenato IGT Pinot Griggio Delle Venezie – Veneto – 100% Pinot Grigio
  • N.V. Le Grotte Lambrusco IGT Lambrusco Reggiano – Emilia-Romagna – 100% Lambrusco
  • 2008 Tai Rosso IGT Colli Berici – Veneto – 100% Tai Rosso
  • 2008 Casata Monticello DOC Barbera d’ Alba – Piedmont – 100% Barbera
  • 2007 Controvento DOC Dolcetto d’ Alba – Piedmont – 100% Dolcetto
  • 2007 Solane Santi DOC Valpolicella Ripasso – Veneto – Molinara, Rondinella, Corvina
  • 2004 Girlan Lagrein DOC Lagrein – Trentino Alto Adige – 100% Lagrein

Central Italy:

  • 2008 Masciarelli DOC Trebbiano d’ Abruzzo – Abbruzzi – 100% Trebbiano
  • 2008 Podere Cannetta DOCG Vernaccia di San Gimignano – Toscana – 100% Vernaccia
  • 2008 Falesco DOC Est! Est! Est! di Montefiascone – Lazio – 50% Trebbiano, 30% Malvasia, 20% Roscetto
  • 2008 Palazzone Terre Vineate DOC Orvieto Classico – Umbria – 100% Trebbiano
  • 2008 Argiolas Costamolino DOC Vermentino di Sardegna – Sardegna – 100% Vermentino
  • 2007 Avignonese Rosso IGT Super Tuscan – Toscana – 30% Prugnolo Gentile, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot
  • 2007 Argiolas Costera IGT Isola dei Nuraghi – Sardegna – 100% Cannonau
  • 2006 Vigna San Bartolo IGT Marche Rosso – Marche – Montepulciano, Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2006 Castellare di Castellina DOCG Chianti Classico- Toscana – Sangiovese, Canaiolo

Southern Italy:

  • 2007 Planeta La Segreta IGT Sicily – Sicily – 50% Grecanico, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Viognier, 10% Fiano
  • 2008 Tenuta Oppida Aminea Caucino, DOC Greco Sannio- Campania – 100% Greco Bianco
  • 2008 De Angelis, DOC Lacrima Chirsti del Vesuvio – Campania – 60% Caprettone, 40%Falanghina
  • 2008 Terredora dipaolo IGT Aglianico – Campania – 100% Aglianico
  • 2008 Terrilogio Primitivo Apulia – 100% Primitivo
  • 2007 Planeta La Segreta IGT Sicily, Italy – 50% Nero D’Avola, 25% Merlot, 20% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Franc
  • 2006 Terre Nero d’ Avola IGT Sicily – Sicily – 100% Nero D’ Avola
  • 2005 Leone de Castris DOC Salice Salentino – Apulia – 100% Negroamaro
Posted by: Hailey | February 25, 2010

Southern Italy- the up and coming star!

The birth of wine in Italy started in the south more than 4000 years ago. It was here the Phoenicians, then Greeks, thenRomans started viticulture. However,Southern Italy has since fallen in fame compared to the ever popular regions including Tuscany, Piedmont, and Veneto. In recent years though, Southern Italy wine regions have been making a name for themselves and emerging on the world wine market as high quality and great value wines.

Campania is at the center of this renaissance. Located around the city of Naples and including the Amalfi Coast and Mt. Vesuvius areas, Campania has several standout varietals and wines. The rich soil and temperate climate here are ideal for growing all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Grapes are no exception. Taurasi, a red wine from Campania is gaining success on the international market as some compare it to Barolo, Barbaresco, or Brunello from the north. It is a tannic and complex red wine with the capability of aging 15+ years. Made from Aglianico grapes, Taurasi is hailed to be one of the best wines of the south. Campania also produces two great white wines- Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo. Wines in the Campania region thrive in the volcanic rich soils surrounding Mt. Vesuvius.

Puglia is bordered by the Adriatic Sea and is boasts negroamaro, primitivo, and malvasia nera as some of its best red varietals- all making great wines! Ranging from dark and robust red wines to lighter more acidic wines, Puglia is fast becoming another standout region in the south!

As Italy’s largest wine producing area, Sicily has been growing wines since the beginning. With a food culture rich in seafood, crisp and light whites are the perfect compliment. Sicily also has some outstanding red wines. Additionally, Sicily makes some fortified wines including Marsala.

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