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Archive for November, 2010

Wine Profile: Beaujolais Nouveau

November 8th, 2010 No comments


Beaujolais Nouveau may just be the all-around perfect wine for Thanksgiving.  It’s mentioned in wine guides again and again as the ideal accompaniment for the annual turkey feast.  So let’s talk a little bit about this great wine and why it’s such a perfect choice for a food lover’s favorite holiday.

Beaujolais Nouveau is a very young wine (hence the “nouveau”), grown in the Beaujolais region of France (part of Burgundy).  It is fermented for only a few weeks before it is officially released for sale each year on “Beaujolais Day,” the third Thursday of November–just in time for Thanksgiving.

Beaujolais is made from the Gamay grape, which has been used to make French wine since the 1360s.  All grapes in the Beaujolais region must be harvested by hand.  After they are picked, the grapes undergo carbonic maceration, a type of fermentation that emphasizes the fruitiness of the resulting wine, but doesn’t extract the tannins from the skins and seeds of the grapes.  This results in a very light, soft wine.

Beaujolais Nouveau is not a complex wine.  It lacks structure and depth.  But for Thanksgiving, it might just be the perfect choice.  Its soft, light characteristics make it easy to drink and pleasing to a variety of palates.  These characteristics also mean that it won’t overwhelm any of the various traditional Thanksgiving dishes.  It works with both light and dark meat, pairs splendidly with the herbs in the stuffing, and doesn’t clash with the vegetable dishes.

Beaujolais Nouveau might just be the perfect choice for Thanksgiving.  So this year, stock up on this food-friendly wine and please your guests from mashed potatoes to green bean casserole.

Great Wines for Thanksgiving

November 5th, 2010 No comments

The First Thanksgiving by Jean Louise Gerome

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, there’s no time like the present to start planning your dinner menu–and the wines that will go with it.  Choosing wines for Thanksgiving can be a challenge, because you have to please a variety of palates and complement a variety of dishes.  But have no fear!  Our suggestions will help get you through the holiday meal planning stress-free.

Champagne: If your concern is finding a wine that will continue to please from appetizers to pumpkin pie, look no further than champagne or sparkling wine.  As well as being a festive choice, champagne complements all kinds of flavors (even that sweet potato casserole that Aunt Edna insists on bringing every year).  Champagne also acts as a palate cleanser, refreshing the mouth after each rich Thanksgiving-meal bite.

Riesling: Riesling is excellent with dishes that are salty or sweet, like many Thanksgiving dishes.  It can be dry or sweet (we recommend dry as most likely to please a variety of palates.)  Its flavors of apple and honey make it a great complement to fall flavors.

Sauvignon Blanc: The acidic, mineral characteristics of Sauvignon Blanc make it thirst-quenching, a great quality when you’re eating a heavy meal.  Its refreshing quality will keep your guests’ tasebuds interested from mashed potatoes to stuffing.

Pinot Noir: A longtime Thanksgiving favorite, Pinot Noir’s hearty, earthy flavors make it a great match for the homey, earthy tastes of turkey and stuffing.

Beaujolais Nouveau: This is an easy-drinking, light and fruity wine that your guests will enjoy sipping all night.  Its easygoing character makes it pair well with the full spectrum of Thanksgiving dishes.  And each year, Beaujolais Noveau is released on “Beaujolais Day”–the third Thursday of November.  Perfect timing!

Manage Your Wine Cellar From Your iPad!

November 3rd, 2010 No comments
eSommelier wine cellar management system

The eSommelier touchscreen computer and barcode scanner & printer

We’ve talked before about eSommelier wine management systems, a fabulous barcode-based computerized organization system for wine cellars, but they have recently announced some upgrades that really kick up the value of this product. One of those new features is the iPad access.

eSommelier has optimized their web access for the iPad, so you can access your wine library on the go. If you save the “web app” as a favorite on your home screen, you have one-touch access to your wine library any time.

Now, I don’t see any particular reason why this experience should be limited to the iPad–it’s a web app, which means that it’s actually not an app at all. Apps, in the usual sense, are downloaded software and can be dependent on the particular hardware or software features of an iPad. “Web apps” are more like a saved bookmark in your web browser (like the bookmark you have for the VC blog. You DO have us bookmarked, right?) and are mostly dependent on the web browser (in the case of the iPad, it runs in Safari). So this should work the same-but-smaller on an iPhone, although I haven’t been able to test it myself. Remember, web access also works on any computer!

If you’re wondering when you’d ever use this go-anywhere access, consider the wine lover with over 1000 bottles in his or her cellar. When this wine lover goes shopping for more wine (because he was smart enough to build his cellar bigger than his collection!), he can now take his virtual wine catalog along with him on his iPad. If shopping from the web, he can call up the wine library in another browser window and compare his collection to his potential purchases, saving him a trip to the wine cellar. Less hassle, fewer cellar door openings to let out your perfectly chilled air, and none of the discomfort that would come from doing your wine shopping from a laptop while sitting in your 55 degree cellar. Chilly!

If you’re interested in other wine-related uses for your smartphone or tablet device, check out our technology and wine tag or the several posts on wine apps.