Food-and-wine-events-Wayfarer-Dinner

Memorial Day is of course a day to remember veterans who served for our country to afford us the freedoms we now enjoy. Memorial Day is also the unofficial kickoff for summer, and a time to fire up the grill to start grilling season as well. Wine is the perfect choice that goes very well with all the grilled meats and vegetables (let’s face it, wine goes with everything!), so here is a list of the wines we think pair best with your unofficial summer time barbecue!

 

Believe it or not, even though the Rose is basically the poster child of summer, it’s a bit more acidic than white wines, and may overpower the grilled flavors of your food. If you choose to serve a Rose, serve this with cheeses and fruit as an appetizer while the meats cook.

 

Vino Virginia Wine Tour 2014 - 31Choosing a white wine to pair with a grilled fish, chicken or pork seems like a bit of a no-brainer, but it’s the type of wine you use that will make the dinner (or lunch) a hit. Of course, if you choose to stay safe, you can always go with a sparkling wine; sparkling wines are refreshing in the heat, and pair well with almost any grilled food. You can also enjoy a light-bodied white or a Prosecco if you want to have a bit of variation.

 

Choose a Burgundy or Chardonnay for fatty fishes like tuna, trout or rockfish. Chardonnay also goes well with veggie or turkey burgers, and regular burgers that are served with a mushroom sauce.

 

Pinot Noir has a light weight, and smooth texture that goes quite well with pork or salmon. The flavors of both the food and the drink pair well with neither overpowering the other. If you choose to go with a heavier wine such as a Cabernet, Petit Sirah, or Shiraz, choose a smoked meat, especially if that meat is cooked with or served with bacon. The notes of a Pinot noir will play off of the smoky, tea-leaf flavors of the wine.

 

No barbecue is complete without a hamburger! If your guests will be enjoying hamburgers, steak, ribs, or tenderloin, you must serve a wine that matches the big taste those foods bring. Choose a Cabernet; or if the food is spicy (even mildly spicy) pair with a Zinfandel, Malbec, or Shiraz.DSC_9032

 

All in all, when choosing a wine, make sure the food is front and center, and that the wine will be no more than an elegant backdrop for the main star of the show-the barbecue! The wine should also fit the mood, so if you’re guests are not of the elegant sort, choose a more relaxed, casual wine to compliment them as much as the food itself.

 

Ask us for more of our recommendations on wine pairings for your next outdoor gathering during your next wine tasting. We want your event to be just as enjoyable as your wine tour!

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How Long Does Open Wine Last, Really?

Many think there is a cut and dry format for open wine…”Open wine only lasts three days!” Well, that may be true for some, but really the amount of time a bottle of wine can last open really depends on the type of wine it is. Some wines can only last a day while others can last open for up to a month! Let’s explore the different types of wine and how long they can last open.

 

 

Sparkling Wine

 

Those fizzies make this kind of wine the least capable of lasting very long. If you store your sparkling wine in the fridge with a sparkling wine topper (these have a tighter seal than the average wine topper), your wine can last anywhere from 1-3 days.

 

Full-Bodied White and Red Wine

 

Fuller body doesn’t necessarily mean it will last longer; actually, you’d be surprised to know that light white and blush wines actually last longer! But, as these types of wines are the most popular, it’s easy to see why the Vino Virginia  Wine Tour 2014 - 313-day rule has become the popular rule of thumb. Full-bodied white wines can last in the fridge, corked, for 3-5 days, whereas red wine should be stored in a cool dark place, corked, and will last for the same amount of time.

 

Light White and Rose Wine

 

Although the taste may taste subtly after the first day the wine has been opened, the overall character of the wine will begin to diminish the longer you leave it opened, even if it’s corked. You can refrigerate this type of wine for 5-7 days before it’s no longer enjoyable.

 

Specially Contained Wine

 

These are the wines that are stored in boxes, or bags, and are enjoyed in larger quantities. These wines can last 2-3 weeks stored in the refrigerator, however, they do have expiration dates, so be sure to look for that before you open to make sure you can enjoy it before it goes bad.

 

Fortified Wine

 

Fortified wines are characterized as Port, Sherry, and Marsala. These wines have been fortified with Brandy which allows them to last much longer than their counterparts. So long as you keep them safe from light and heat you can enjoy these wines for as many as 28 days! Note:  the sweeter the wine, the longer it will last open. Just as the Light White and Rose Wines, the sugars in these keep them from deteriorating too quickly. Just remember to store them in the fridge.

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Does This Wine Make Me Look Fat?

There’s been many jokes in the past about ‘liquid diets’ or ‘drinking your calories’ and there is some truth to it (although we don’t recommend it!) When some people decide to diet, there are certain wines, or liquors they will stay away from, but is it really necessary? Sure, there are some wines that are ‘heavier’ than others, but what does that mean for your bottom line (pun intended)?

 

Food-and-wine-events-Wayfarer-DinnerWine itself isn’t the problem. Wine calories are actually not terrible, ranging from 72 to 157 calories per 5 oz serving. Much of this has to do with whether or not it’s a dry (lower in calories) or sweet (higher in calories) wine, and the ABV (Alcohol By Volume) content (the higher it is, the higher the calories).

 

 

Most red wines are low in carbs, however, what it does to play tricks on your mind is really the underlying issue. Drinking wine tricks your brain into thinking you’re hungry, mostly because wine has a taste (unlike water) and your brain can’t discern whether that flavor is coming from food or drink. All it’s thinking is “She (or He) is feeding us, time to feast!” And, it’s not just about craving food, it’s about WHAT you’re craving as well. There’s also a reason you don’t crave a salad when you’re two bottles deep. Alcohol enhances the flavor of salt and fat (which is why diners are so popular after two a.m.).

 

A normal, healthy body should only process a limited amount of alcohol per day, normally about one glass. If you’re trying to watch what you eat (and drink), consider pouring no more than five ounces (which should equal to approximately 158 calories per ounce).  If you must have something salty, consider swapping out the bacon for nuts (almonds preferably).  A small protein-friendly snack before drinking a glass of wine will help keep you from going face first into a bowl of cheese dip.

 

 

Personally, we believe you should enjoy your glass(es) of wine, and give yourself a break. No diet works when you’re on it 100% of the time; eventually you burn out. Everything in moderation is key, so give yourself a break and enjoy your time, food, and drinks.

 

If calories are really an issue, feel free to ask at our next visit to a winery what calories lurk in the tasting you’re about to enjoy to make sure you go into it with your eyes wide open, and completelyfood and wine intact with your caloric goals.

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Best Wine Apps

We mentioned a few apps last week for your smartphone that make choosing a bottle of wine easier. We’d like to expand on this and share with you some of our favorites, including more details on the two we mentioned last week, Pickabottle, and Delectable. There is an app for every need, and these are our top five picks!

 

 

Pickabottle

 

This app allows you to find a restaurant that serves your favorite wines, or to find wines in cities you plan to visit. You can also research and analyze a wine you just tried, and discover a new wine, try it, then write a review!

 

Delectable

Take a photo of any wine and learn all you need to know about it using this app. Get expert opinions, ratings and descriptions. According to Dave McIntyre of the Washington Post, “Delectable offers features that Vivino doesn’t. If you like a wine in a restaurant or at a party and just have to have it for your own cellar, you can buy it immediately through the app and have it delivered to your home. Delectable even reduces shipping to a penny for a purchase of 12 bottles. (Disclosure: I have not tried buying wines through Delectable and can’t comment on the service.)

Vivino, on the other hand, pretends to point you to places nearby where you can buy wine — but not necessarily the wine you’re looking at. Just any wine. It is not accurate.”

 

Vivino

This app recognizes about 500,000 wines with just a picture of the bottle. Wines that are not recognized by the app are placed in a queue for identification by consumers. This interactive has its drawbacks as mentioned above. Users can add tips or notes, adding to your experience.

 

 

 

Virginia Wine in My Pocket

We are blessed in this great Commonwealth with a generous wine country that’s also dotted by distilleries and breweries as well. With this many options, it can be difficult to navigate which experience is the best for you. This app allows you to search wineries, breweries, distilleries, cideries and meaderies, plus small inns and B&Bs, dining and places to stay and play. There are over 20 search filters to help you find exactly what you want.

 

Hello Vino

 

Wouldn’t you love a personal assistance, helping you choose the best wines for your dinner party, or to help you learn more about the wine you do have, making you out to be quite the wine aficionado to your guests? This is what the Hello Vino app can do, plus much more with an interactive interface and a multitude of options. You’ll never go wrong with your wine pairing!

 

 

During your wine tour, we will share some of our favorite apps and tips along with careful instruction to broaden your wine experience. Do you have a favorite app you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!

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What’s the Difference Between Wine Aroma and Bouquet?

The terms wine bouquet and wine aroma are mentioned quite often during a wine tasting. Sometimes, the difference is explained to those who aren’t well versed in tasting wine. Sometimes, however, the consumer isn’t quite sure what the difference is, and what they should be looking for in either aroma or bouquet. What are these terms, what do they mean, and what influence do they have on your wine or wine experience?

Before getting into the difference between aromas and bouquet, it’s important to note that a wine has three main aromas:

Primary aromas: These aromas come from the type of grape used in wine making

Secondary aromas: These aromas develop during the pre-fermentation and fermentation process.

Tertiary aromas: These aromas develop during the post-fermentation process while aging in the wine barrel or wine bottle.

Wine aroma refers to the grape variety, and wine bouquet refers to the

Vino, Wine, Virginia

Vino, Wine, Virginia

fermentation and aging process. For example, when a grape is made into wine, it offers a unique blend of smells, or aromas. Aromas come in three categories: herb, flower, and fruit. Cabernet Sauvignon is known for its raspberry, green peppercorn, black currant and mint aromas. The smell comes from a molecular level where these aroma compounds look identical to the actual smell of the fruit.

 

Wine bouquet however is found with wine is fermented and turns grape sugars into alcohol. This process will create a group of bouquets that are often referred to as tertiary aromas.  Aging wine will general produce elements that alter the aroma compounds in the wine after it’s been fermented. Oak barrels will also affect the bouquet of a wine as does the temperature of the wine. Common bouquets are smoke, walnuts, butterscotch, and vanilla, baking spices, and dried leaves.

 

A good, mature wine will have a complex bouquet, which takes years to develop. At your next wine tasting, hone in to the different aromas you Vino Virginia  Wine Tour 2014 - 31sense, and see if you can pick up on specific aromas not mentioned during your tasting. Tell us how you identify aromas, and what techniques you use. We want to hear from you!

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What’s That Sediment At The Bottom of Your Glass? 

You have there in your neat little hands, a great bottle of Virginia wine. You’ve decided to hold on to it for a special occasion, and tonight’s dinner party is just the right time to serve this delicious and special wine. You pop the cork and pour. You expect your guests to relish in your brilliant choice of wine, marking you the host or hostess with the most or mostess, but alas, there’s something floating around in that glass. Is it bits of cork? Did you get bread crumbs in there? No, that’s wine sediment, and there’s a simple reason for why it’s there.

 

photo 1aWine sediment is a by-product of winemaking, and quite often is left there intentionally by the winemaker. This sediment is not dangerous, and is perfectly fine to consume (although not very slightly). But, what are they?

Protein

Proteins are microscopic causing wine to be cloudy. Proteins are generally removed with casein or benotite during stabilization (this is what keeps wine from being vegan as egg whites are used quite often to clarify wine).

Cream of Tartar

Potassium bitartrate aka wine crystals aka cream of tartar is commonly used in white wines to clarify them and give them that extra sparkle.

 

Lees

Lees are dead yeast particles that sink to the bottom of the tank or barrel. Winemakers will leave these yeast particles in the wine and stir the wine once a day to make the wine tast richer and creamier. Lees are also common in sparkling wine.

 

Grape Skin

This is pretty rare, but worth mentioning.  Sometimes a grape skin or two will make it into a bottle of wine. By the time it gets to your table, that grape skin will look a little more like slime.

 

Yes, these are all quite natural leftovers, but not everyone appreciates a slimy grape skin. If you examine your bottle before serving, and find there to be some unsavory floaties in the bottom, useVino Virginia Wine Tour 2014 - 20 an aerating wine funnel to remove the sediment, and to smooth out the aroma, texture and flavor.

 

It’s almost wedding season, and a bevy of celebrations are coming up! Consider a tour of wine country for your out-of-town guests to experience the beauty of Virginia wine country, or as a rehearsal party alternative. Whatever your need, ask us how we can accommodate you and your guests!

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Wine Spotlight: Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a very diverse and contradicting wine originating in the Burgundy area of eastern France and produced virtually everywhere. The Chardonnay grape itself has a neutral tone, which is why it’s such a diverse grape to use. Either it is known to lend itself to tropical fruit notes like pineapple or mango, or green plum, green apple and lemon. It’s also known as having notes of vanilla, coconut, praline, butter or pie crust. Chardonnay is also used as a component of sparkling wines and Champagne.

So, why are the flavors so different? It has everything to do with how the wine is made and where-either in oak or in steel barrels; cool or warm climates. Cool climates will draw out a noticeable acidity, and warmer climates will bring out notes of fig or banana with a softer acidity.  An oak barrel will age the grape into a vanilla, butter, coconut dream with an oily, creamy, smooth or waxy kind of fermentation.  A Chardonnay un-oaked should be served at 48 degrees Fahrenheit whereas an oaked chardonnay should be served at 54 degrees.

Vino, Wine, Virginia

Vino, Wine, Virginia

Due to its wide range in flavor, Chardonnay is easily paired with a wide variety of foods. Pair this delicious wine with Chicken or Turkey breast, pork loin, halibut, trout, cod, lobster, crab, scallops, shrimp or clams. Think white meats-these will taste the best.

As for spices, pair the wine with light, top-level spices like white pepper, shallots, parsley, and tarragon. These flavors aren’t strong, resting on the meat in an inoffensive way.  The same goes for cheese pairings. The light flavor of wine pair best with cheeses those are light in flavor such as cow’s milk and goat semi-soft cheese. Pair with zucchini, asparagus, white mushrooms, almonds, or yellow squash.

 

Chardonnay wine is also a great mixer for wine-based cocktails. One such cocktail, Kir, is quite popular in France and is made starting with a Black Currant Liqueur, Crème de Cassis, then topped with the wine. The French tend to have this as an aperitif, before or after a snack or small meal. Serve this at your next dinner or ask for it when out and impress your guests! The cocktail is light and slightly sweet, yet a perfect backdrop for the remaining meal. We recommend you use the Gray Ghost Chardonnay from Gray Ghost Vineyards. The Chardonnay is fermented and aged in French oak and has aromas of tropical fruit ad pear with hints of vanilla.

We will assist you in choosing the perfect wine(s) for your next tour, or in choosing the best tour for your group. Virginia wine country is robust and impossible to visit all in one tour! Tell us what you hope to experience, and we will select the perfect tour for you!

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Where Wine Flavors Really Come From

Have you ever heard of the Apple Pie made from Ritz crackers that tastes EXACTLY like apple pie, except there are no apples? No apple flavoring, or anything that involves apples; the pie tastes JUST LIKE APPLES. Crazy, right? How can something taste like a fruit or lend itself to a flavor without the actual flavor there?

 

BullRunWinery1Taste buds are a fascinating part of our body and this fake apple pie is a great experiment on how our taste buds pick up flavors. Wine rests on these fundamentals as well; there are many flavors that are released from a simple grape, and from the process of turning that grape into a delicious bottle of wine. Have you ever wondered how one wine may have more cherry or vanilla, and another have a grapefruit tone to it?

 

Wine flavors are organized into 3 primary groups; 1.) Fruit/Floral/Herbal, 2.) Spice, and 3.) Earth.

 

Fruit/Floral/Herbal

 Wines that produce those delicious aromas like apple, or honey; chamomile, or rosemary acquire them from esters. Esters are created when acids react to alcohol and slowly change as the wine evolves. Esters depend on the yeast used to ferment the wine.

 

Most Notable Ester Flavors:

  • Raspberry
  • Strawberry
  • Banana
  • Green Apple
  • White Flowers

 

If you’ve ever found the flavors of lavender or rose in your wine, these are likely from Terpenes. These notes are generally found in Muscat wines, Gewurztraminer and Grenache. Terpenes are also found in and highly regarded in beer as well.

 

Most Notable Terpenes Flavors:

 

  • Rose
  • Orange
  • Lavendar
  • Lychee

 

Spice

 

Sometimes a wine will be described as peppery or containing notes of oregano or basil. These are usually used to describe Syrah’s and Cabernet Sauvignon. Rotundone is a kind of terpene that is found in the essential oils of those herbs and naturally lends those flavors to their wines.

 

Most Notable Rotundone Flavors:

 

  • Peppercorn
  • Thyme
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano

 

Perhaps you’re attracted to wines with vanilla or coconut, maybe butter or a wheat-iness to them. You’re possibly attracted to the esters Lactones that are found in sweet and creamy smelling tones.

 

Most Notable Lactone Flavors:

 

  • Vanilla
  • Caramel
  • Hazelnut
  • Coconut

 

Earth

 

If you’ve ever heard of a wine being described of having earthy flavors, like soil or mushrooms, you can look to Geosmin. Geosmin is an organic compound that is found in a certain type of bacteria.

 

Most Notable Geosmin Flavors:

 

  • Beets
  • Rain
  • Mushroom
  • Soil

 

Not all earth notes are described as literal earth aromas; some bring more interesting notes like Horse or Band-Aid (trust me, I’m not making this up). Phenols are a group of chemical compounds that naturally occur in peppers and sesame seeds and can either add a lovely aroma or a strange musk (like the aforementioned horse).

 

Most Notable Brettanomyces Flavors:

 

  • Clove
  • Bacon
  • Band-Aid
  • Horse
  • Cannabis10403326_273943066138221_245410998236565532_n

 

 

It can be fun to find the different layers of aromas and notes in each type of wine. What are your favorite flavors? We want to hear from you!

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How The Shape of The Wine Glass Affects The Taste of Wine

If you enjoy a glass of wine from time to time (or any day that ends in ‘Y’) you are already aware of different size wine glasses. Most wine drinkers have a general idea of different types of wine glasses, but do you understand why wine glasses are specific to wines? You don’t have glasses that are specifically for Coke, and some others for just Sprite, or ones that are reserved for only orange juice, so why do different wines require special glasses?

photo 5gWines evoke different tastes; some have fruity notes, some floral, and some offer a musky tone. In order to garner those flavors, it’s important to present the wine in a glass that will represent those notes best.  For example, a full-bodied white wine such as a Chardonnay or a Viognier, vintage sparkling or white wines, are typically served in larger bowled white wine glasses. These types of glasses will maintain the cool temperature the wine should be served in; delivers more aroma (due to the shape of the glass and proximity to the nose when bringing it up to drink), and preserves the floral aromas of these complex wines.

Light-bodied wines like Riesling and Gewürztraminer are best served in small bowled wines that are slightly taller than their counterparts. This allows less air to come into contact with the wine and brings forward the floral tones of these complex wines.

Red wines are typically served in large bowled glasses; however, the type of wine will determine how large the bowl of the glass should be.  The taller, smaller-bowled glass is best for medium to full-bodied red wines with high tannin and high acidity such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. The large-bowled, smaller opening glassGreenhill4 is best for showcasing the Zinfandel, Syrah, or Malbec. These full-bodied wines have higher alcohol content and ample tannin.  The largest-bowled glasses work well with low tannin red wines with low alcohol such as the Pinot Noir. The delicate aroma has space to grow and the shape of the bowl brings the notes to the nose, making it more enjoyable.

Port should be served in a special glass all its own. The high alcoholic content is preserved by the small-bowled glass and very narrow opening which reduces evaporation.

Join us for a tour of Virginia Wine Country where you will learn about the different types of wine the area has to offer; we will also go in more detail about how to best taste the wines, and which glasses to enjoy them from!  Valentine’s Day is just around the corner if you are looking for the perfect way to celebrate the day!

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Best Temperatures at Which to Serve Wine

Have you ever wondered why some wines are served chilled, and some are room temperature; some are even served warm, like a spiced/mulled wine? Have you noticed when a wine is served cold when it’s usually enjoyed room temperature, the taste of the wine is different? There’s a reason wines are served at varying temperatures. Here we will demystify the confusion behind wine temperatures, and how cold or warm you should be enjoying them.

 

The general rule is: The sweeter the wine, the colder it should be. In saying that, white wines are generally served anywhere between 55 and 58 degrees. If the wine is too cold it will mask the aromas and make the flavors seem flat and thin. If the wine is too warm, it will lack acidity and structure. Adversely, red wine is generally served anywhere from 62 to 65 degrees. This is considered ‘room temperature’ (remember, this was considered room temperature before modern heating was introduced). If red wine is served too warm, it can seem too alcoholic and a bit unstructured. If a red is served too cold, the flavors and aromas will be muted.

 

Greenhill4Sparkling wine should be served ice cold, anywhere from 40-50 degrees. Go ahead and put the bubbly in the freezer an hour before enjoying it. The ice cold temperature keeps the bubbles fine as opposed to foamy. Keep the sparkling wine in ice until the bottle is finished.

 

 

Rose should be served cold just like a white wine-anywhere from 50 to 60 degrees. It’s best to put these wines in the fridge as soon as you buy them. After you open the wine, leave it on the table to sweat; the wine’s aroma and character changes slightly as the temperature rises. See if you can pull the flavors out of the warming wine as the evening progresses!

 

After opening a red bottle of wine, leave the wine out on the table to slowly warm. Just as the white, the red will sweat, and the aromas and flavors will change slightly. If you’re going to enjoy a photo 5smulled wine, especially in this cold weather, it’s ok to drink it warm-the spices really come forward when this wine is warmed and it tastes delicious when heated. If you drink mulled wine cold, the flavors will not only be muted, the wine will come off as sweet.

 

If you enjoy a good glass of wine like we do, consider booking your next trip across Virginia wine country with us! Valentine’s Day is coming up, and a wine tour is a great date night you won’t soon forget!