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Archive for June, 2013

Jake’s Corner: Tasting a Spanish Wine for Summer

June 26th, 2013 1 comment

Bodegas O. Fournier Urban Ribera 2009, TempranilloWith the prospect of long, warm summer nights stretching before them, many people automatically reach for a white or rosé, something chilled to counteract the day’s heat lingering in the air. But just because it’s warm outside doesn’t mean that you should give up on red wine for the season.

In fact, summer is a great time to enjoy red wine. Grilled food often calls out for a rich red that can match that deep smoky flavor. And those ruby colors look particularly pretty against the setting sun, too.

For me, the wine hit of the summer so far is the  from Ribera del Duero, Spain. We couldn’t stop opening bottles, so I ordered 4 more cases today.

Here’s what I think: This wine is a deep ruby in color with fantastic aromas of red fruits, cherry, raspberry and freshly-cut flowers. The palate leans to black fruits like black cherry and blackberries, with hints of oak and vanilla. There is a very noticeable minerality, soft silky tannins and a lively juicy finish. It’s also a top value pick at $15 a bottle.

Tempranillo is the most widely-grown grape varietal in Spain. The name “tempranillo” is derived from “temprano,” the Spanish word for “early,” and it’s so called because tempranillo grapes tend to ripen several weeks earlier than other Spanish red grapes. Tempranillo is an ancient varietal; it’s been grown since Phoenician times on the Iberian Peninsula. It is the main grape used to make Rioja, one of Spain’s most popular wines, and can also be used solo as in the Bodegas O. Fournier Urban Ribera. Once considered only fit for jug wine in California, Tempranillo grapes are now planted around the world, and Tempranillo is respected as a fine wine.

Tempranillos are often medium to full-bodied, with bold fruit flavors and mild acidity. Berry flavors such as those seen in the Bodegas O. Fournier Urban Ribera are common, along with plum, cherry, and strawberry. Many Tempranillos can also be described as earthy, and with mineral qualities. Tempranillo is considered a very food-friendly wine, pairing well with all kinds of food. It’s especially good with grilled fare, making it an ideal wine to enjoy with friends and family at your next backyard get-together.

Wine Cellars for Small Spaces

June 14th, 2013 No comments

You’re a wine lover who’s dying to start a collection. You drool over photos of others peoples’ expansive wine cellars, with their rows upon rows of bottles just waiting for the perfect day to be opened. But you don’t have a handy underground space, or an extra room that can be converted into the wine cellar you covet. You might live in a small house or even an apartment. But just because you have a small living space doesn’t mean you have to give up your big wine cellar dreams.

 

Vintage Cellars is no stranger to the challenges of building a fully-functioning, temperature- and humidity-controlled wine cellar in a small space. For homeowners in San Diego, CA, Vintage Cellars had just 80 square feet to work with, but managed to build the perfect space to neatly house 750 bottles.

 

Of course, no space, no matter the size, can be a successful wine cellar without the proper sealing, vapor barriers, and installation. Vintage Cellars experts took the care to outfit this small space just like they would a more traditionally-sized wine cellar. And just because the cellar is small doesn’t mean it’s lacking in the looks department. Clean-lined glass doors both show off the wine and open up the relatively small space. Vintage Cellars also installed adjustable shelving to house the homeowners’ special collection of large-format bottles. The shelving allows the clients to showcase this unique aspect of their collection, giving it a personal touch.

 

But what if you don’t have the ability to knock out a wall to build the small-scale wine cellar of your dreams? Even if you’re renting a small apartment, you still have options. One great space-conscious choice is a wine refrigerator. This wine cabinet by Vinotheque holds 448 bottles, and can be housed in an out-of-the-way corner or even a garage. Still too large? This credenza-style wine cabinet holds 216 bottles, and can double as a buffet in a dining room, or even act as a console table in a hallway. Still don’t have room? This small-scale wine refrigerator from Marvel slides right underneath a kitchen counter, and takes up just 15 inches of space, while holding an impressive 23 bottles.

It may seem like you need an enormous mansion to house a wine collection. But that isn’t true. With a little imagination, you can store your bottles no matter what your living situation, whether by building a small-scale cellar into your house, or by simply sliding a tiny refrigerator underneath an existing counter.