Monday, June 26, 2017

Pet Friendly Restaurants in Sonoma County

With the growing number of people taking their beloved pets on vacation with them these days it's no wonder more and more restaurants are allowing pets at their locations. This is great news for our best friends! Here are some restaurants in Sonoma County, California that allow you to share your lunch time with your furry loved ones.

Barndiva - "Barndiva grew out of our family's desire to celebrate the exquisite food sheds of Sonoma and Mendocino Counties from Healdsburg to the ocean, with special attention paid to following the breadcrumbs up Hwy 128 through the Anderson Valley to Philo, where we have dry farmed apples, figs and chestnuts on a ridge above the pacific for the past three decades."

Willi's Seafood & Raw Bar - "Located just north of the town square in downtown Healdsburg, the East Coast and South America meet Wine Country at Willi’s Sea­food & Raw Bar. The inviting vibrant decor and an exten­sive list of small plates combine with the eclectic seasonal cocktail menu and wide-ranging wine list to make visitors feel right at home. Designed for sharing, the menu features items ranging from New England Style “Rolls” and Latin-inspired skewers to ceviches and tar­tares. The chef’s raw bar features an ever-changing selection of fresh seafood, including at least eight varieties of fresh oysters."

Costeaux French Bakery & Cafe - "Costeaux is a full service bakery renowned for its world-class artisan and sourdough breads, cakes and desserts. Our bakery café in downtown Healdsburg serves made-to-order bistro cuisine and is open for breakfast and lunch daily. We are also available for private events in the evenings."

Sweet T's - "Welcome to our home away from home! Sweet T's is a labor of love from the Tussey family with food reminiscent of our Southern roots and our love for Sonoma County. Here, you will find quality southern cuisine, made with the freshest local ingredients. Real food. Great cocktails. Real people. Come and see us. You're always welcome."

For more restaurants in the Sonoma County click here!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Residual Sugar in Wine

"The subjective sweetness of a wine is determined by the interaction of several factors, including the amount of sugar in the wine, but also the relative levels of alcohol, acids, and tannins. Sugars and alcohol enhance a wine's sweetness; acids (sourness) and bitter tannins counteract it." - Wikipedia

Residual sugar refers to how much sugar is left in the wine after it is fermented. This amount tells you how sweet the wine is.

Commonly measured in grams or sugar per litre of wine, residual sugar is found in almost all wine, even dry wine because some types of sugar cannot be fermented. A wine that contains over 45 g/L is considered a sweet wine. Other aspects that influence the sweetness of wine include the acidity and alcohol levels, tannins, and whether it is a sparkling wine. If the level of acidity is high, a sweet wine may taste drier and if the level of alcohol is high, a dry wine may taste sweeter.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

At Home Palate Training Exercise

Your sense of taste is extremely important when tasting wine so here is an at home palate training exercise which will help you identify how you sense the tannin, acidity, sweetness, and alcohol in red wines.

What You'll Need:
• 1 bottle of dry red wine (avoid reds like Menage à Trois, Apothic Red and Jam Jar which contain Residual Sugar)
• 1 black tea bag
• 1/2 a lemon
• 1 tsp sugar
• 1 tsp vodka
• 4 identical wine glasses + one wineglass per person at the tasting
• a notepad and pen

Prepare the tasting:
Pour 3 oz of red wine in each of the 4 wine glasses. Add the tea bag to one glass, the 1/2 squeeze of lemon to the next glass, the sugar to the next glass, and the vodka to the last glass. Fill your own glass with red wine; it will act as your control glass.

Tannin - Black Tea Bag
In about 10 minutes, the black tea should dissolve at which point you can remove the bag. Taste the control wine first, then the black tea wine (without smelling it) and jot down what your taste and how it felt on your tongue. Tannin is usually bitter but you may also feel a drying sensation.

Acidity - Lemon
Taste your control wine, then taste the lemon win (without smelling it). With increases acidity, you may notice the lemon wine tastes less bold, your mouth may water, and more of the natural bitter notes may be presented. Try to ignore the lemony flavors since this is not a feature of acids in wine.

Sweetness - Sugar
Stir the sugar into your wine. After tasting your control wine, taste your sugar wine (you can smell it first). You should notice the sugar doesn't make the wine taste sweeter. Instead it brings out the fruit flavors of the wine and may add an oily texture to the aftertaste.

Alcohol - Vodka
Taste your control wine, then taste the vodka wine (without smelling it). Note what sensations you feel on your tongue and in the back of your throat when you swallow. Tiny prickles may be felt which makes the wine feel thicker. You may feel a hot sensation in the aftertaste.

Since everyone has different tastes and preferences, this exercise is meant to help you identify which aspects of wine you personally pick up on.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Larger Bottles of Wine

Whether having a party or wanting to give an impressive gift, a large bottle of wine can be perfect for a number of occasions. But where can you buy a large bottle of wine and what do you need to know?

Some stockists that offer a good range of larger bottles of wine include:

Larger bottles of wine not only look good on the table, they also age better. Because less of the wine's surface is exposed to air, the wine's rate of oxygen absorption is lower which makes the wine fresher. 

Wine does come in a variety of larger bottle sizes such as magnums and jeroboams. However, some larger wine bottles may refer to different size bottles depending on different regions of France. The chart below shows the large format bottlings that are commonly referred to:

The Burgundy terminology tends to be more popularly followed.

Generally made for special events, the largest bottles of wine (a lot of which are named after Biblical kings) are not intended for the cellar since they have custom made corks that are also extra large and must be cut by hand which can be prone to air leakage.