Wine and Chocolate Pairing

Two of life’s greatest sweet pleasures can be the hardest to pair together. Wine and chocolate are both decadent and pleasurable and a delight to have together, when done correctly. Sweet chocolate with tannic wine can make the wine taste bitter and is a match to avoid. You need to balance sweet with sweet – a good rule of thumb is: keep the wine as sweet as the chocolate. Read more

Storing Wine

For any wine lover, saving wine well is a big problem. There are a few simple principles that need to be understood in order to select proper wine storage conditions. We can logically break down the process into just three categories: storing wine for the short haul, storing wine for long term aging and storing (or saving) wines that have already been opened.

Short Term Storage:
This is wine you will consume within 6 months. These may be bottles that are just home from the store and destined to be consumed shortly or bottles that have been pulled from longer storage to be accessible for spur of the moment consumption.
storing wine consuming wine  %tages Storing Wine

The closer you can duplicate the conditions required for long term storage, the better. However, in many situations, keeping the wines in a box in an interior closet is a satisfactory solution.

Keep the bottles stored so that:

the cork stays moist the wines are at the lowest stable temperature possible the location is free of vibration the location is not a storage area for other items that have a strong odor

Stay away from those little nine bottle racks that end up on top of the refrigerator; it's hot, close to the light and vibrates from the refrigerator compressor.

Long Term Storage:
This is wine that you will keep for more than six months before consumption. A fine storage location for wine is usually dark, is free of vibration, has high humidity and has a low stable temperature.
storing wine consuming wine  %tages Storing Wine

Generally accepted 'ideal' conditions are 50 to 55 degrees farenheight and 70 percent humidity or higher. The high humidity is important because it keeps the corks from drying and minimizes evaporation. The only problem with even higher levels of humidity is that it brings on growth of mold on the labels or the loosening of labels that have water soluble glue.

Temperatures lower than 55 degrees only slow the aging of the wines. There have been wines found in very cold cellars of castles in Scotland that are perfectly sound and are much less developed that those kept at 'normal' cellar temperature. A near constant temperature is preferable to one that fluctuates.

Regarding to light, most modern bottles have ultraviolet filters built into the glass that help protect the contents from most of the effects of UV rays. Despite the filters in the glass, long term storage can still allow enough rays in to create a condition in the wine that is referred to as 'light struck'. The result is that the wine picks up the taste and smell of wet cardboard. This is especially noticeable in delicate white wines and sparkling wines. The condition can be created by putting a bottle of champagne near a fluorescent light for a month.

Regular or constant vibrations from pumps, motors or generators should be avoided since the vibrations they cause are thought to negatively affect the evolution of the wines. One additional factor to avoid is storing other items with very strong odors near the wine. There have been many reports of wines picking up the aromas of items stored nearby.

If you do not have a suitable wine cellar, there are many types of 'wine refrigerators' that will work as well. They differ from common refrigerators in that they work at higher temperatures (50-65 degree range) and they do not remove humidity from the air. There are kits available that will convert regular refrigerators into suitable wine storage units.

Storage after opening:
This is storage for bottles of table wine that have been opened but not completely consumed. There are many methods for prolonging the life of opened table wines but even the best can only slow the degradation of the wine. These methods are for still table wines. Continue reading

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Wine Sizes

Yields:
other  %tages Wine Sizes
One ton of grapes become about 60 cases of wine. But it depends greatly on how much juice is produced.
One acre will produce two to five tons for good wine and double that for bulk wines.

Wine tank sizes:

A bottle today is 750 millimeters (which is 25.4 ounces) and restaurants typically pour 5 to 6 glasses from a bottle.
A barrel holds 225 to 225 liters (59.4 to 60.2 gallons).
A hogshead holds 300 liters (79.3 gallons).
A puncheon holds 300 or 500 liters.
A pipe holds 550 to 630 liters and is used for maturing or shipping

Ampelography

is the science of vine identification and description. It is the study of shoots, canes, buds, flowers, clusters, seeds and grapes.

There are some 24,000 names for varieties of wine grapes. It is estimated there are 5,000 truly different varieties since there are numerous names for the same variety depending on where they are grown. About 150 varieties are planted in commercially significant amounts.

Grapevines belong to the plant genus "vitis" and 99.9% of wine grapes are "vitis vinefera." The concord grape of America is "vitis labrusca."

Wine Glass Notes:

Consider using one nice style for both reds and whites as long as it has an ample bowl and narrows to the rim to present the aroma to your nose.
Fill a glass no more than Continue reading

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Chinese Wine, Chinese liquor, Chinese alcohol and Chinese Culture

Jiu - Chinese wine or alcoholhistory of wine chinese wine  %tages Chinese Wine, Chinese liquor, Chinese alcohol and Chinese Culture

In Chinese language the word for alcohol "jiu" is used to mean all types of alcoholic beverages, from 'pijiu' (beer) to liquors (just called 'jiu') to grape wine ('putao jiu'). The same character is used in Japanese and Korean languages, for that matter. This lumping together of all intoxicating beverages gives us awesome insight into the traditional use for alcohol, intoxication. Even today in China alcoholic beverages are generally classed by the general population by how much intoxication it delivers for the money. From this point of view table wine is at the bottom rung of the consumer preference list, with brandy being much higher.

History of Chinese wine

In China, wine could also be called the "Water of History" because stories about wine can be found in almost every period of China's long story. The origins of the alcoholic beverage from fermented grain in China cannot be traced definitively. It is believed to have 40 centuries history. A legend said that Yidi, the wife of the first dynasty's king Yu (about 2100 BC) invented the method. At that time millet was the main grain, the so-called "yellow wine", then rice became more popular. It was not until the 19th century that distilled drinks become more popular. Traditionally, Chinese distilled liquors are consumed together with food rather than drunk on their own. Although China has a 6,000 year history in grape growing, and a 4,000 year history in wine making, it was not until this century that Chinese wine was recognized in the West.

Wine and Chinese peoplehistory of wine chinese wine  %tages Chinese Wine, Chinese liquor, Chinese alcohol and Chinese Culture

Without a doubt, wine has influence in the culture and life of the Chinese people. Wine was intimately connected with most Chinese men of letters. It was also an inseparable part of the life of ordinary Chinese people. The banquets of ancient emperors and kings could not take place without it. Every sort of wine vessel thus became an important kind of sacrificial object. Inscriptions on bones and tortoise shells as well as bronze inscriptions preserve many records of Shang-era people worshiping their ancestors with wine. There were many famous Chinese poet or artist who crafted their masterpieces after getting "drunk". The famous poet Li Bai of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) is known as the "Immortal of Wine" because of his love of alcohol. Guo Moruo, a modern scholar, compiled statistics about Li's poems and found 17 per cent of them were about drinking. Early writers liked drinking and thought it an elegant way to pass the time. Apart from the taste of the drink, they also concentrated on the process of drinking. They created many games to go with drinking sessions involving a knowledge of history, literature, music and poetry. In ancient times, before a battle, a general would feast his soldiers with alcohol and meat. If they won the battle, they would be rewarded with good wine. If a warrior fell in battle, his fellows would scatter wine on the ground as part of a memorial ceremony.

Wine culture in China today

Ordinary Chinese people today have always just used alcohol to help them celebrate the happiness in their lives. In China, a banquet known as "Jiu Xi" means an alcohol banquet and the life of every person, from birth to death, should have pauses for drinking banquets starting a month or 100 days after a baby's birth when the parents invite people in for a drink. When someone builds a new house, marries, starts a business, makes a fortune or lives a long life, he should invite people in for a drinking session. In modern times it is a pity that the games that go with drinking are not the elegant ones of the past that involved poetry or music. Today, drinkers just play simple finger-guessing games along with a lot of heavy drinking. It also seems today that friendship depends only on the volume of drink being consumed. "If we are good friends, then bottoms up; if not, then just take a sip" is a common phrased exchanged during gatherings.

Chinese wine general classification

Chinese wines can be generally classified into two types, namely yellow liquors (huangjiu) or clear (white) liquors (baijiu). Chinese yellow liquors, are fermented wines that are brewed directly from grains such as rice or wheat. Such liquors contain less than 20% alcohol, due to the inhibition of fermentation by ethanol at this concentration. These wine are traditionally pasteurized, aged, and filtered before their final bottling for sale to consumers. Yellow liquors can also be distilled to produce white liquors, or baijiu (see below). White liquors (baijiu) are also commonly called shaojiu, which means "hot liquor" or "burned liquor", either because of the burning sensation in the mouth during consumption, the fact that they are usually warmed before being consumed, or because of the heating required for distillation. Liquors of this type typically contain more than 30% alcohol in volume since they have undergone distillation. There are a great many varieties of distilled liquors, both unflavored and flavored.

List famous Chinese liquors, wines

Fen jiu - this wine was dated back to Northern and Southern Dynasties (550 A.D.). It is the original Chinese white wine made from sorghum. Alcohol content by volume: 63-65%. Continue reading

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