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How to Build a Great Wine Collection

June 29th, 2010 2 comments

Do you have aspirations to build a great wine collection but don’t know where to start?  Have you collected a few bottles but are unsure about how to build what you have into a cohesive collection?  Here are some tips and hints to help  you out.

The best way to start is to educate yourself.  Before you’re ready to spend your money on a bottle worth aging in a wine cellar, you need to figure out how to pick out a good one.  Read books, articles, and blogs on wine.  But don’t forget that the best way to learn is through practice.  Be proactive in your learning.  Visit wine stores and talk to the knowledgeable employees.  Go to wine tastings and talk to the employees there–they are often a wealth of information that most people ignore, and they love to tell you about the differences between vintages and varietals.

You also need to lean what wines you like.  There’s no sense investing time and money into a bottle of oaked Chardonnay, only to find out that you really don’t like oaky wines.  Now, it’s easy to decide whether you like or dislike a particular bottle.  It’s harder to remember what bottles you like and what bottles you don’t when you’re in the wine shop ready to purchase.  The best way to quickly build up an inventory of your tastes in wine is to keep a wine notebook.  Whenever you taste a wine, take a few notes on it.  Use a simple rating system (1-10, for example), so that you can easily tell how you felt about a particular wine.  When you’re at the store facing hundreds of bottles, a wine notebook will help you have purpose and direction.  If you can’t try a particular wine before purchase, check out online reviews.

If you have a wine cellar or a wine cabinet or refrigerator, it’s imperative that you learn about wine aging.  Some wines age better than others.  Some should age for only 2 years, while others can benefit from 20 years of aging or more.  Besides reading and talking to experts, a good way to learn about aging is to tag your bottles.  Buy several bottles of the same varietal and vintage.  Tag them with the date that you stored them.  As you open each bottle, take notes!  (Remember that wine notebook? This is another thing it’s good for.)   Another benefit of buying in bulk is price.  Buying a case of wine (12 bottles) is usually more cost effective than buying those bottles individually.  But 12 bottles is a lot, so make sure you like the wine before you buy a whole case.

Don’t forget that wine is supposed to be fun.  Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new varietals.  If you love Merlot, branch out a bit and try other reds–you might find yourself falling in love with Spanish Rioja or even California Cabernet Sauvignon.  But if you find that there’s nothing you like better than a buttery Chardonnay, feel no shame in stocking your wine cellar with dozens of bottles of the stuff you love.  It’s your wine collection, after all, and it should be a reflection of you.

Building a wine collection can be a pleasurable and interesting pastime that you can enjoy for the rest of your life.  Having knowledge of wine, and a collection that reflects that knowledge, is something wine collectors get a great deal of satisfaction from.  But there’s no sense in putting time and money into wine collection unless you have a proper place to store it.  Wine stored incorrectly won’t age well, and you’ll find bottle after bottle of your hard-won collection opening up rancid.  Check back for our next post on the right way to store wine.

How to Remove Wine Stains

June 25th, 2010 No comments

We’ve all been there.  Its starts something like this: a hot night, a white dress, a bottle of great red.  And it ends with a big red stain and an unhappy guest.  But don’t cry over spilled wine!  Here are a few tricks that will help you remove the stain and get your night back on track.  They are all tried-and-true methods that use common household items.

Method 1: The Salt

  • As soon as you can, dump a generous amount of salt (large-grained salt like Kosher salt works best) all over the stain.  Let it sit for several hours or overnight.  Vacuum up the salt (and a lot, or even all, of the stain).
  • Check the washing instructions, and machine wash if applicable.  Use COOL water to avoid setting the stain, and air-dry so that if some of the stain remains, you don’t set it with the heat from the dryer and can re-wash.
  • If you can’t machine wash, hand wash in cool water, and air dry.

Method 2: The Science Experiment

  • As quickly as you can, blot the stain with paper towels to soak up as much excess moisture as you can.  Do NOT scrub or rub the stain, as this can cause it to set further.
  • If the stain is on something like a garment or a comforter (something with a back that the stain can leak through to), place a washcloth or something similar behind the stained fabric to prevent the stain from spreading.
  • In a small bowl, combine one teaspoon laundry soap, dish soap, or laundry pretreatment with one cup hydrogen peroxide.
  • Check the washing instructions, and machine wash if applicable.  Use COOL water to avoid setting the stain, and air-dry so that if some of the stain remains, you don’t set it with the heat from the dryer and can re-wash.
  • If you can’t machine wash, hand wash in cool water, and air dry.

Method 3: The Club Soda

  • This is a great method to use for carpet stains because the carbonation in the club soda helps pull the stain up and out of the fibers.  Pour the club soda on the stain and blot the carpet to remove the wine.  Keep pouring and blotting until the stain is removed.
  • If you’re using this method on something other than carpet, then follow the washing instructions.

Method 4: The White Wine

  • White wine will neutralize red wine and stop the stain from spreading.  Pour white wine on the stain and then as soon as you can, wash the stained item according to its washing instructions.
  • This is a great method to use at a party when you or a guest is wearing something you can’t remove and wash right away, because with the stain neutralized, you can wait until you get home to worry about getting it out.  Plus, white wine is usually readily available at parties.

Tip: The key to removing any stain successfully is to take care of the problem as soon as possible.  The longer you wait, the more chance the stain has to set.

Categories: Wine Storage Info Tags:

5 Things You Should Expect from Restaurant Wine Service

June 24th, 2010 No comments

We’ve all had it happen: the moldy cork, the bug in the glass, the wrong wine.  There are some things that are clear reasons to send back your glass or bottle.  But what about the less obvious problems?  These 5 tips tell you what is–and isn’t–ok in restaurant wine service.

1.  Size (and shape) matter.  At family-style restaurants (especially Italian), you might be served wine in small, stemless tumblers.  This is part of the cultural experience and is perfectly acceptable (and a fun way to drink wine!)–but ONLY if you’re drinking inexpensive table wine.  If you’re springing for the good stuff, it should be served in a glass that will bring out its full flavors.

Another thing you want to watch out for is restaurants that serve wine in those ridiculously small 6-oz glasses.  To get a proper pour, they have to fill the glass nearly to the brim!  This leaves no room for the swirling and sniffing that are part of proper wine enjoyment.  Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about this one except politely mention to the management the benefit of a regulation-sized 12-oz tasting glass.

2.  If you ordered a bottle for the table, the waiter should have you taste the wine, regardless of your sex, age, or whether you’re paying or not.  Here’s what to do:  When the wine is presented to you, make sure the bottle is the one you ordered.  The waiter will open the wine and place the cork on the table next to you.  DON’T smell the cork!  You can’t tell anything by smelling it, and it makes you look like an amateur.  All you need here is a visual inspection.  Make sure the cork is wet on the wine side and dry on the other side.  This is pretty much the extent of what you can tell from the cork: even if it is moldy, as long as the wine side is mold-free, the wine is probably fine.  There’s one exception to this rule: very expensive wines sometimes have a label printed on the cork.  Make sure the info on the label matches that on the bottle, especially the vintage.

After you’ve inspected the cork, place it on the table next to you.  The waiter should dispose of it.  Next, taste the wine.  If you want to do this step like the pros, read this post for a how-to.  If all you want to do is make it through the tasting with your dignity intact, just sniff and then sip the wine to make sure it isn’t rancid.  What you’re looking for is a smell like a moldy basement–this indicates that the wine is corked.

3.  If you’ve ordered a bottle, you should expect the waiter to fill the wine glasses as they empty.

4.  You should NOT expect the waiter to bring an ice bucket for your bottle of white wine, unless, of course, you ask for one.  White wines should be served at between 45 and 50 degrees F, depending on the varietal–much warmer than a near-freezing bucket of ice water.  If your wine is served too cold, the flavors will be masked and it will taste overly acidic.  However, if you order Champagne or another sparkling wine, the waiter should automatically bring you an ice bucket, as these wines need to be kept very cold for best taste.

5.  You should never feel pressured by your waiter to spend more money.  If he or she is filling your wine glass to the brim, it’s probably to get you to buy another bottle.  If you ask for a wine suggestion, he or she should offer more than one, at different price points.  If you order a bottle of wine that the restaurant has run out of, your waiter should suggest another in the same price range.  Establishments that are focused on getting you to spend more money are generally not trying hard enough to ensure your wine, food, and service is tip-top.  If you feel pressured to spend more than you wanted to, or judged for being budget-conscious, don’t go back to the restaurant.

6.  Always remember that you are the one paying for your wine, and you should expect service that reflects this.  But be forgiving: restaurants are hectic places.  If your favorite bottle of wine isn’t available, don’t stress–it’s a chance to try something new.  If your waiter isn’t at your elbow when you drain your glass, fill it yourself–he was probably dealing with a picky customer.  As long as the service is generally good, don’t let a small error ruin your night out.

Want to know what to do when you’re the one opening and serving the bottle of wine? Or learn more about wine glasses? Our Wine Storage Education Center has all the info you need.

Kitchen Uses for Wine Vinegar

June 21st, 2010 No comments

Here on the VC Blog, we’ve talked about wine vinegars a lot.  We’ve discussed how to make delicious homemade red wine vinegar and white wine vinegar from those leftover bottles taking up space in your kitchen.  We’ve also talked about how to then take those tasty vinegars to make individual bottles of flavored vinegars that are equally great to use in the kitchen and to give as gifts.

Now, maybe you’ve thought that making your own vinegars sounds fun and cost-effective.  Maybe you have a gallon or so of vinegar ingredients doing their thing in your pantry.  Maybe you’ve started to wonder: what am I going to do with all this vinegar?  Well, here are just a few ways you can use homemade vinegar in the kitchen:

  • Vinaigrette: In a few tablespoons of vinegar, dissolve salt (and, if you like, a little dijon mustard and/or minced garlic or shallots).  Slowly stream in olive oil to taste, only a few drops at a time at first, whisking all the while.  This is a tasty, healthy salad or veggie dressing.
  • A splash of vinegar in a sauce or glaze wakes up the flavors without adding salt or fat.
  • Vinegar is a great dieting tool–sprinkle it on foods to add taste at only 2 calories per tablespoon. Vinegar also dulls the appetite and gets rid of cravings for sweets.
  • Use vinegar as a marinade.  Vinegar, since it’s acidic, breaks down tissue, making your meats super tender.  Splash some vinegar (and herbs, if you’d like) into a bag with your meat and let it hang out for a few hours or overnight.
  • If you get stains from fruit on your hands, remove by wiping with vinegar.
  • Love poached eggs but have a hard time keeping them from falling apart while cooking?  Add a splash of vinegar to a barely simmering pot–vinegar helps the whites coagulate.  Crack eggs into small individual bowls, and gently tip into the water one by one.  After 3 minutes or so, you’ll have perfect poached eggs.
  • Use wine vinegar to deglaze a pan.  After browning meat in oil or butter, remove all but a tablespoon of fat.  Crank up the heat and pour in a splash of vinegar.  Boil and scrape away at the bottom of the pan to loosen all those tasty brown bits.  Add stock or even water, and finish with a pat of butter for a delicious and easy pan sauce.
  • Fish and chips!  Enough said.
  • Use in place of lemon.  (Both are intended to add acid to a dish.)  Add 1/4 teaspoon vinegar for a tablespoon of lemon juice.
  • Sprinkle wine vinegar and olive oil over a sub sandwich for a flavorful, healthy alternative to mayo and mustard.
  • Have white coffee cups stained from coffee or tea?  Wipe out with white vinegar to remove the stains.
  • Stinky kitchen?  Boil a quarter cup of white wine vinegar with a little water.  Let the smell circulate around the kitchen and it will remove smoky, fishy, or any other nasty smells.
  • Clean vegetables with 2 tablespoons of vinegar in a gallon of water.
  • Add a dash of vinegar to a canned soup or sauce to wake up the flavors and make them taste fresh.

There are dozens of uses for vinegars in your kitchen and the rest of your home. These are just a start….share your favorites in the comments!

How to Make Flavored Wine Vinegars

June 17th, 2010 1 comment

We’ve discussed how your can use your leftover bottles of red and white wine to make delicious homemade wine vinegars.  If you’ve already tried this, you know that homemade vinegars are infinitely better than anything you can buy at the store.  They make better vinaigrettes and sauces, and are just plain tastier.  Homemade vinegar is easy to make and very economical.  But if you’re ambitious, you don’t have to stop there!  Try using your homemade wine vinegar to make flavored vinegars that are out-of-this-world delicious.

Flavored vinegars have really become popular in the last few years.  They are simply bottled vinegars that fresh herbs and spices have been allowed to steep in.  The vinegar, given time, really draws out the taste of the flavorings, and takes on a whole new level of flavor and complexity.  Flavored vinegars can be used in place of regular vinegar to any recipe, adding a special zip of flavor.  For example, instead of a plain vinaigrette on your salad, why not try something like an orange-basil white wine vinaigrette or a red wine raspberry vinaigrette?  Flavored vinegars are good, but flavored vinegars made using homemade wine vinegars are incredibly delicious.

The process is a little time consuming, but simple.  Think of making flavored vinegars as similar to canning.  The more important (and boring) step is ensuring that the containers you’re using are totally free of bacteria before you close them up.  Even the tiniest bit will ruin the batch, so you have to be very careful.  You’ll want to disinfect your containers right before you bottle your vinegars, to minimize the chance they’ll be exposed to something nasty.  First, wash all the containers you’re going to use, along with their lids (good options are canning jars, screw-capped bottles, and corked bottles with brand-new corks).  Next, immerse them in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.  While this is happening, bring your vinegar to a boil in a separate pot.

At this point, you should have already laid out the herbs and spices you want to use.  You can use basically any kind of herb or spice in vinegar, so get creative!  Herbs can be used whole, which makes for a pretty presentation.  Garlic makes a great addition to almost any vinegar–just peel the cloves and drop them in whole.  To get you started, here are some herbs and spices that make great vinegars:

tarragon

basil

chives

cilantro

rosemary

lemon or orange zest (cut into long strips for the best presentation)

dill

whole peppercorns

chili peppers

You can make a vinegar with just one addition, such as spicy chili vinegar, or a combination, such as rosemary garlic vinegar. If you’ve made both red and white wine vinegars, you have a choice on which to use.  Use white wine vinegar for subtler flavors like citrus and the delicate herbs like basil, and red wine vinegar for the heartier flavors like peppercorns and rosemary.  Play to your tastes and get creative!  Add the herbs and spices you want to use to the bottle first, then, using a funnel, carefully pour in the hot vinegar.  Seal the container (for an extra fancy touch, pour melted wax over the top), and let the vinegars steep in a cool dark place for at least three weeks to let the vinegar really take on the flavors of the herbs.

These vinegars are so fun and personal (and tasty) that they make incredible gifts.  Store-bought gourmet flavored vinegars be very costly.  But they are simple to make at home, and very inexpensive.  If you’re giving vinegars as presents, leave herbs whole for the best effect, and put a pretty tag on the bottle with the name of the vinegar.  One bottle of your homemade flavored vinegar makes a great gift for a dinner party host.  A small basket of a few choice vinegars makes an incredible Christmas gift.  But consider yourself warned–homemade flavored wine vinegars are so delicious that you might not want to give them away!
Garlic-Rosemary Red Wine Vinegar on Foodista

How to Make Your Own White Wine Vinegar

June 14th, 2010 9 comments

One of our most popular posts on the Vintage Cellars Blog has been How to Make Your Own Red Wine Vinegar.  Our readers seem to love the idea of using up bottles of red that are a little past their prime to make something delicious and useful.  But did you know that it’s just as easy to make your own white wine vinegar as it is to make red?  Here’s what to do:

1.  Buy a ceramic or glass crock.  At least a one gallon size is best–this seems excessive, but you’ll want enough room to add lots of extra wine, and you don’t want to be limited in how much vinegar you can produce–small bottles of your homemade vinegar make great gifts!  Make sure your crock has a spigot to make bottling your vinegar easy.

2.  Obtain a vinegar starter, commonly referred to as a mother.  A mother is a combination of cellulose and acetic acid bacteria.  It uses oxygen from the air to turn alcohol into acetic acid.  A mother is a weird cloudy mass that sits at the bottom of your vinegar crock.  Although it looks unappetizing, it won’t hurt you, and you can easily strain it out of your vinegar with a coffee filter if you want to.  You can get a vinegar mother from a beer and wine-making supply store, from the internet, or from a vinegar-making friend.

3.  Put the vinegar in the crock, then add diluted white wine in the ratio of 2 parts wine to 1 part water.  The less you add, the more quickly it will turn to vinegar.  2 cups wine to 1 cup water is a good start.  The better the wine is, the better the vinegar will be, because good wines have a variety of complex flavors, which will translate to an interesting, full-flavored vinegar.

4.  The best thing about vinegar making is that you can use those half-empty bottles that have been taking up space in your fridge.  Since the alcohol in wine starts to turn into acetic acid when you open it, wine a little past its prime simply has a jump-start on becoming vinegar!  Because of this, vinegar-making is very cost-effective.

5.  Cover the top of your crock with a cheesecloth and attach it firmly with a rubber band.  This keeps out insects, but lets in the oxygen that makes the process happen.

6.  Add small doses of white wine once a week or so.  (Or whenever you have a half-empty bottle sitting around.)

7.  Wait at least 12 weeks, then taste-test.  If it smells like vinegar and tastes like vinegar, it’s ready!  Bottle it using a funnel.  Any vinegar left in the crock (be careful to leave the mother, too), you can continue to use to make more vinegar.  Just keep adding more white wine!  Use your vinegar to make sauces and vinaigrettes, and a million other tasty dishes.

You’ll find that homemade vinegar has a much different taste than store-bought–it’s fuller and richer, and doesn’t have as much harsh bite to it.  You can use it in endless ways in the kitchen, and it makes great gifts.  Check our next post for a description of how to take your homemade vinegar by making pretty and delicious flavored vinegars.
White Wine Vinegar on Foodista

Train Your Palate with a Homemade Wine Aroma Kit

June 8th, 2010 1 comment
The back of the bottle loves to promise a world of aromas inside the bottle.  But do you ever sniff, swirl and sip in vain, trying to find the aromas that you know are there, but you just can’t seem to sense?
Don’t feel inadequate: sensitive palates aren’t born, they are made.  Although it could be argued that sommeliers and wine connoisseurs have a certain amount of natural talent, it also takes a lot of hard work to develop professional-quality taste buds.  One way that wine experts train their palates is by practicing with specially-made wine aromas.  Over and over again, they smell vials containing different aromas and tastes found in wine.  Eventually, these scents become burned in the memory centers of their brains.  When tasting wine, they can recall these aroma memories and identify all those subtle flavors hiding in the wine.
Want to have a palate like a wine expert?  You can!  You don’t need to attend a professional sommelier school to up your wine expertise.  One option is to buy a commercial wine aroma kit.  These are sets of vials containing the common tastes and aromas found in wine.  They are readily available and easy to use, but the scents have expiration dates and they tend to be pricey–usually a few hundred dollars.  If you’d rather spend that kind of money building your wine collection or save it to build a gorgeous custom wine cellar, you’re in luck: there’s another option.
It’s easy to create your own wine aroma kit, and you can probably find most of the materials you need right in your own kitchen.  First, you’ll need a bottle of wine.  You want to use a varietal with a light, subtle flavor that doesn’t interfere with the aromas you’ll be adding, so use something like Pinot Grigio if you’re going with white, or Merlot if you’d rather start with red.  One bottle makes enough for about 12 tastings, so get out 12 glasses.  Add 2 ounces of wine to each glass.
Now it’s time to get creative in your kitchen!  You want to add a small amount of some of the flavors and aromas commonly found in wine.  To each glass, add a different flavor–about a teaspoon of liquid ingredients like lemon juice, a drop of concentrated flavors like vanilla extract, a pinch of spices like pepper, and a chunk of fruits like pear.  But don’t stop there!  Many of the aromas commonly found in wine aren’t traditional foods.  Crush a few blades of grass and add them to one of the glasses, or try a drop of liquid smoke to get that smokey oak flavor.
Remember that white wines and red wines often have different flavors.  For your white wine aromas, stick with the lighter fruits like apple, pear, and pineapple, and flavors like vanilla, honey, butter, and herbs.  When creating red wine aromas, try darker fruits like blackberry, cherry, and strawberry, and flavors like black pepper, cinnamon, caramel, cloves, and nuts.
Let each taste macerate for about two hours, then strain the glasses to remove any solids (like spices, fruit chunks, and chocolate).  Don’t forget to label them first so you don’t lose track!  Then taste each one and concentrate on how the aromas you added interact with the wine and form unique flavors.  Don’t forget to swirl and sip correctly!  Once you think you’ve taught yourself each aroma, try mixing up the order of the glasses (first move your labels to the bottom), then seeing if you can identify them correctly.  This exercise will give you a better ability to pick out what exactly it is you like about your wine, and help train your palate.  It might even give you the ability to impress your friends by guessing the aromas listed on the back of the bottle !

Categories: Tasting Wine Tags:

3 Android Apps for Wine Lovers

June 3rd, 2010 2 comments

This week, we’ve been highlighting must-have smartphone apps for wine lovers.  We’ve talked about apps for the iPhone and Blackberry, so this time, let’s turn our attention to a few great wine-friendly apps for the Android.

Wine by the Bar: This app’s motto is “Sip, Scan, Share,” and it allows you to do just that with your favorite wines.  Android’s scanning feature is especially helpful when it comes to wine, allowing you to look up a bottle, no matter your location, with the click of a button.  You can add and review wines, and through Twitter, share them with your fellow wine lovers.  Check it out here.

Pair It!: This great app for iPhone is now available for Android!  As we’ve discussed many times on this blog, creating the perfect food and wine pairing is no easy task.  You can enter either the food you’re making or the wine you plan to drink into the app, and it will give you some ideas for perfect combinations.  Or, you can “swirl” your Android to see a random pairing.  Pair It! really takes care to consider all of a wine’s subtle details when making its suggestions, so we trust its opinion.  Get it at here.

Swirl:  This is the mobile counterpart to the website snooth.com, a place to read about, review, and buy great wines.  It contains a catalog of over 100,000 wines, allows you to search by varietal, price, and other factors, and directs you to local stores that sell the wine you want.  Learn more here.

3 Blackberry Apps for Wine Lovers

June 2nd, 2010 No comments

Well, our last post was about wine-friendly apps for the iPhone.  So it’s only fair that this time, we talk about what kind of wine apps Blackberry users should take advantage of.  Droid users, don’t feel left out–you’re up next!

Wine Enthusiast Guide: Called “the ultimate wine companion” by developers, this app contains a database of wine reviews, with 1,000 new ones added each month.  Currently it has information about more than 80,000 wines.  It allows you to search by varietal, style, rating, or price, and includes a “my lists” section that allows you to save and manage your favorite wines.  This app really allows you to get an instant–and expert–read on the bottle in front of you.  It’s pricey at $9.95, but a comprehensive resource indeed.  Check it out here.

R-Vintage: If you’re looking for something a little more wallet-friendly, you might want to try the R-Vintage app by REGARD.  Its database isn’t as comprehensive as that of the Wine Enthusiast Guide, but at $3.99, it’s more cost effective.  This app allows users to get instant reviews on the vintage they’re considering, whether they’re at a wine shop or a restaurant.  It tells you the best years for a particular grape, giving you extra info for many different wines.  Try it here.

Nat Decants Food and Wine Matcher: This app, by well-known wine connoisseur Natalie MacLean, is a sommelier application that offers more than 380,000 food and wine pairings.  Natalie MacLean was named the World’s Best Drink Writer at the World Food Media Awards, and she offers matches for every dish under the sun.  Her favorites include: planked salmon with Canadian or Oregonian Pinot Noir, barbecued spare ribs with Australian Shiraz, and grilled hamburgers with California Zinfandel.  At $2.99, it’s a good deal.  Check it out here.

3 iPhone Apps for Wine Lovers

June 2nd, 2010 No comments

When you’re shopping for wine, you don’t always have a wine expert -or even your computer- close at hand.  But no fear.  There are tons of apps available for your iPhone that can help you pick a bottle.  Check out a few of our favorites:

Wine Snob:  Wine snob gives you detailed information about the bottle in your hand.  It contains a comprehensive database of wines and their prices, location, and tasting notes.  It also allows you to share your findings via Google Maps, email, and Twitter, and to store wines you love for future reference.  The best thing about Wine Snob is that the information is combined by professional sommeliers and winemakers, so you know the info you’re getting is the real deal.  It’s available on iTunes for $2.99.

Drync Wine:  Drync Wine is a great app for serious wine collectors.  Its developer wanted a simple way to track the wines he was drinking.  Drync is what he created.  Here’s how it works: you rate the bottle of wine you’re drinking and take a few tasting notes on it.  You take a photo of the label so that you can remember it (and find it again if you liked it), and then you save it to your virtual cellar.  Drync is a great app for helping you build and keep track of your collection.  Try the free trial version now.

Pair It!: We most often drink wine with dinner (ok, sometimes lunch too).  But as we’ve discussed many times on this blog, creating the perfect food and wine pairing is no easy task.  You can enter either the food you’re making or the wine you plan to drink into the app, and it will give you some ideas for perfect combinations.  Or, you can “swirl” your iPhone to see a random pairing.  Pair It! really takes care to consider all of a wine’s subtle details when making its suggestions, so we trust its opinion.  Get it at here for $4.99.