Happy Birthday America!

To all Americans today is be THE day – Independence Day. 235 years ago the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation.

And America seems to get inspired by this day:

The most surprising fact is that you can find even 5 places nationwide called “America.” The biggest one in American Fork, Utah has 21,941 residents.

Eleven places adopted “independence” and made it part of their name. In Independence – again Missouri – the most populous one has 113,288 habitants.

You can find 30 places in the entire nation that have “liberty” in their name. Iowa consists of the most places with this name than any other states. The four ones are Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty. Liberty, Missouri is the place with the largest population, it counts 26,232 citizens.

There are 5 places that contain the name “freedom.” The largest population has Freedom, California with 6,000 residents.

Since 1776 freedom and independence is celebrated every year by families together with friends and barbeques, picnics and a night of parades and fireworks.

The typical picnic or barbeque includes steaks, grilled chicken, potato salad, baked beans and of course apple pie. No matter if fried chicken, turkey or a big cake with the colours and shapes of the American flag the food is plenty and picnic ideas are fun for everybody.

Any recommendation for drinks needed? On this special day, wine or sparkling off course! And which wine would fit better than a domestic one?

California offers amazing wine regions such as the popular Napa Valley, located not even an hour drive east from San Francisco or Sonoma County that produces excellent chardonnays and pinot noirs. Santa Barbara County produces some of California’s finest wines, especially chardonnay, pinot noir, and syrah. It is also one of the state’s most beautiful wine regions, with vineyards surrounded by sloping coastal hills and untouched valleys, only dotted with small family wineries.

Leave California and you can get great wines from Washington a young wine region (emerged in the mid-1970) but the second largest wine-producing region in the US. It is celebrated for its red wines syrah, merlot and cabernet sauvignon.

Have a look at wineries in the east of the country, for example in New York where wine lovers will find two of the finest winegrowing regions: the Finger Lakes with a range of different wineries and Long Island where the state’s best wines are produced. Especially merlot is features by most local wineries as their signature variety – a grape that is widely panned on the island.

Virginia wines has become more and more popular during the past decade and won numerous awards at national and international wine competitions. The 6th largest wine producing state in the US offers a wide range of quality grape varieties.

In the country’ south in Texas, especially from the area around Dallas in the northeast to the western plains and the Hill Country of the south, growers and vintners are dedicated to the cultivation and production of high-quality grapes and wines.

So it shouldn’t be a problem to find the one that fits best. Having this said: Happy Independence Day ! And don’t forget to browse our WinesMadeEasy.ie for great US wines! Cheers!

Did you know… ?

wines_in_box

… about an unusual MW student’s guide to remembering appellations and grape varieties?

… that this harvest season, more wineries are discovering social media and online shopping sites? Read more about the better way to buy wine.

… that investing in wine lacks liquidity. Find out more here.

Read More»

Wine Tweets 1

social_media

App in One Hand, Wine Glass in the Other – http://ow.ly/674sv @nytimes #app #wine

@TFMcGrath Tom McGrath

New wine created by Norwich-based firm through internet votes http://bit.ly/q7Te63 #wine #news

@WiNews Wine News

Wine aged under the sea? Check out this @nytimes article: http://cot.ag/pWuzeN ^NM

@WineLibrary Wine Library

Absolut trials new vodka and white wine product Absolut Tune through publicity …: Absolut Vodka is conducting … http://bit.ly/oQ93R0

@wineparadise Ian Blackford

Really bright, fresh, the 2009’s are shown power and finesse, reminds me of Mary Lou Retton – score it 90 #wine http://yfrog.com/h2vd5ymj

@garyvee Gary Vaynerchuk

Drinking moderate amounts of wine will help you lose weight http://at.wineindia.in/nZZ49o

@Wine_India Wine India

~ Age is just a number. It is totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine. ~ Joan Collins

@WineDineTv Wine Dine TV

Pizza pleasures in the park with rose or bubbly http://bit.ly/qUCRTA

@NatalieMacLean Natalie MacLean

EarlyBirdWine: CHAMPAGNE FASHIONS.. http://bit.ly/nsj5eC Full http://bit.ly/g12jIm

@GetYourWineNews Wine Lovernews

RT @rickbakas: Mobile Strategy Ideas for #CabernetDayhttp://bit.ly/r9nulD [love the PressPay feature!]

@luxeagent Monica Monson

Did you know… ?

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…about the growing wine market in India? As the second largest wine producer in the US after California, Washington produces highly-rated wines that come with the lowest average price. For a couple of years wineries from Washington have been doing business in India now due to the market’s high potential. Read more about the wine industry in India.

…that one glass of wine (4 ounces) contains 80 to 100 calories? Lighter wine tends to have more calories than heavier wines. Read more about if wine is fattening.

that Miller is trying to buy Fosters? ABMiller has announced its intention to launch a hostile AU$9.5 billion takeover bid for Australian brewer Foster’s. Read more about Miller’s plans.

that AC/DC entered the wine business. The rock band recently launched its own wine label. Learn more about the AC/DC vintage.

…that the spicier the food the sweeter the wine you enjoy should be? There is indeed a challenge with Asian or Indian food when it comes to the right wine pairing. It is the soy sauce, ginger or the intense spiciness of the dishes – some wines just don’t go with this kind of food. The best is to select a fruity and soft wine, since it will tame heat. Read more about Pairing Wine with Asian Cuisine.

about the many great wineries in Paso Robles, California? Paso Robles, located three hours south of San Francisco “in the middle of nowhere” close to the beach with plenty of wineries and vineyards. Keep reading if you would like to know more about the excellent Californian wines.

…that the American Wine Group buys Australian Loxton? The Wine Group LLC of San Francisco just announced that it was buying Australia’s fourth largest winery Loxton, Australia’s fourth largest winery. The deal will probably be closed on August 18th. Read more about The Wine Group’s plans in Australia.

…younger people prefer sweet wine? Who are the fans of sweet red wine? People who are a little more open to trying something new, who associate the wine with fun. younger, primarily female but with a significant percentage of males, also young, adventurous and willing to try new wines. Read more about sweet wine and dry wine drinkers.

about the about the sweet pairing of dessers with wine? Whether a beautiful bowl of bright red strawberries, a creamy dish of tangy mango sorbet, or a classic grilled pound cake with peaches and cream – let the wine shine with these desserts.

…Champagne increases yields by 20% to cope with demand? The optimistic forecast says Champagne sales would grow 2% annually over the coming three years. Consequently the region’s trade body has set the harvest limit at 12,500 kg/ha compared to 10,500 kg/ha in 2010. Read more about increasing Champagne sales.

Bubbles All Over The World

Sparkling wine, Prosecco, Cava, Champagne and now the English come and invent their „Britagne“ (pronounced “Brit-an-ye“ off course and not like the ending in Champagne). It makes it all even more confusing. So let’s see what actually the difference is between all these sparkling wines and why is Champagne more expensive than the rest.

As a sparkling lover I’m going to explain all differences between the various bubblies. All Champagnes and Sparkling wines come as Extra Brut, Brut (most popular style) Extra Dry, Sec and Demi-Sec depending on their sugar levels. Brut describes a dry natural wine that no sweetness was added to.

Most importantly: anything that is not produced within the French region of Champagne needs to be given another name. In the European Union it is even illegal to call any sparkling “Champagne” when it is not made in this particular region.

But why is Champagne more expensive than other bubblies? The territory of making the wine and the circumstances around the wine making, such as production method or weather are factors that need to be considered.

The method used to produce Champagne is called “the methodé champenoise” and involves a lot of costs, time and labour. Regular wine is put into a bottle and fermented again which produces all these bubbles. After an aging process of at least 15 months the by-products of fermentation (dead yeast cells) must be carefully extracted from the bottle. The pressure inside this bottle is equivalent to that in a car tire. The long storage period and the compound of blends from different years (some may be 8-10 years) also cause additional costs.

The second point is that the Champagne region has relatively cool temperatures that make growing and ripening of wine grapes more difficult. Spring frosts and lack of sunshine mean that some grapes never ripen. So you do not only pay for the grapes that made it into the bottle but also for the ones that didn’t. The process of winemaking itself is expensive and you pay the price. Another problem with this area is it needs to provide countries around the world with its Champagne and although every acre is planted with vines the rarity raises the price.

Italy’s flagship in regards to bubbly is Prosecco made of Italian’s grapes (the Italian wine, region and grape is called Prosecco). It is a fun fruity bubbly, lighter and slightly sweeter than Champagne and the procedure of producing Prosecco differs from the “the methodé champenoise.” Instead the “Charmat” method is used. The wine goes through the second fermentation in pressurised tanks and not in individualised bottles. This tank fermentation preserves the freshness of Prosecco and flavour of the grapes. This procedure is not as complex as for Champagne which allows the lower price.

Since it is a light-bodied, off-dry fizz with slight aromas of peach it is great for making cocktails. Mixed with peach juice Prosecco becomes a Bellini or combined with Aperol and a splash of seltzer it makes a great Aperol Spritz both very popular refreshing drinks in Italy. Two Italian terms describe the type of Prosecco; Spumante is used for fully sparkling wines and Frizzante for lightly sparkling.The name Prosecco can only be applied to sparkling wines that are made of grapes grown in the north-east of Italy. All Prosecco-producing regions are awarded the DOC designation – “Denominazione di origine controllata”, the Italian equivalent of France’s “Appellation d’origine contrôlée” and the first 15 designated regions were elevated to the highest status DOCG.

Winemakers in countries like Austria, Germany, Australia and Brazil that grow Prosecco grape are no longer allowed to call their sparkling wines Prosecco. Instead they will have to use the word “glera” – an alternative name for this grape. Other Italian sparklers are Franciacorta from Lombardy, Asti from Piedmont and Lambrusco from Emilia.

The Spanish Cava resembles Champagne more than the Italian Prosecco. Cava is Spain’s signature sparkling wine mostly made of grapes from the Catalonia hills. Cava is exclusively made of Spanish grapes while the production method used is the same as for Champagne. Cava is softer than Champagne and has aromas of honey, green apple and dried herbs. A good quality Cava will start at a price of €11 which seems a very interesting budget option.

New world countries will surprise you with good sparkling wines as well. Try Australia’s Jacob’s Creek or Wolf Blass which are the ones that rival Champagne the most or go with Cloudy Bay from New Zealand.

Argentina and Chile offer very drinkable sparkling wines for an affordable price. Still relatively new on the world wine market Brazil seems to be on a catch up race and surprises with refreshing and very tasty sparklings such as Aurora Sparkling or Miolo’s Millesime Brut.

Have a look at our range of Champagnes, Proseccos, Cavas and other sparkling wines at www.WinesMadeEasy.ie

Live longer with red wine

Every now and then you can read that one glass of red wine every day won’t harm and is even seen as recommendable and healthy.

The latest and probably most spectacular findings are that red wine is good for astronauts in the orbit. Normally astronauts wouldn’t have any alcohol around but researchers found a few sips every now and then might be good for their health. The ill effect of long-lasting weightlessness on the human body could be prevented with red wine.

So what is it that makes red wine that healthy?  It is grapevine stalk (resveratrol) that occurs highly concentrated in the skin of red grapes. This element can have amazing benefits. It belongs to the class of antibiotic compounds produced as a part of a plant’s defence system against disease. It is said to be an antioxidant, anti-cancer agent, and treats heart, blood vessels and liver diseases. Furthermore red wine contains anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.

This compound may also prevent the negative effects of being a couch potato. Sedentary people that are not moving around enough or whose body suffer a lack of physical activity can get help with red wine. So instead of going to the gym you can just sit in front of the TV and sip your red wine? Well, not really but it can slow deterioration until someone can get moving again and is an extension to a healthy lifestyle.

Moderate alcohol consumption is included by researchers as one of the “eight proven ways to reduce coronary heart disease risk. Especially red wine is the most beneficial to heart health. It can drop down your heart rate and blood pressure.

Resveratrol is said to prevent muscle loss, bone mineral density or insulin resistance. This would especially benefit those with high level of diabetes.

 

Red wine can even do something for smokers. Moderate consuming red wine can negate the harmful effects of smoking. A study concludes that wine has the ability to reduce the detrimental effect that smoking causes in the part called endothelium.

Resveratrol, when tested on animals, prevented “the growth of some cancers in mice, inhibits enzymes that cause inflammation, shrinks tumours and increases blood flow, thus reducing cardiovascular diseases. In many cases, it also extends the life of obese animals.

Red wine is also indicated to have anti-aging properties. That’s probably the reason for the production of this skin care line “Clearing Out My Wine Cellar”, an exfoliating treatment spiked with red wines and grapes cultivated from a New Mexico vineyard. It shall scrub away scales, prepares pores and skin for shaving and can also be used as a face mask. Additionally to anti-aging benefits contents in red wine even offer some UV protection. Interesting: this product is directly targeted at men. Why not at women? I think at the end it will have the same effects for both….

Grapevine stalk (resveratrol) is a fantastic anti-wrinkle and firming ingredient for the skin.
So this product can help you age a little more gracefully. Very high concentrations of resveratrol significantly extend life by preventing a number of age related illnesses (that doesn’t mean you should down a whole bottle of wine now). The question how much wine someone has to drink to attain the anti-aging benefits was answered by a researcher with “1,000 bottles.”

Drinking red wine can actually supports longevity and just general wellbeing. With prospect of a long life, you can now lean back and enjoy a glass.

Off course this is all about moderately drinking wine every now and then and it only goes together with an appropriate healthy lifestyle. It is more beneficial to associate healthy lifestyles with wine drinking to protect against diseases and fast aging than only drinking wine by itself.

Only regular, moderate consumption of red wine is beneficial to your health and too much alcohol can have many harmful effects on your body.

Browse our wise range of red wines on WinesMadeEasy.ie. We delivery red wines, white wines, sparkling and champagne throughout Ireland.

The myths about wine

Every now and then some myths about the quality, price, tasting, and smelling of wine come across – some “traditions” in which even I used to believe at the beginning of my wine exploration.

So let’s see which stereotypes about wine are still in some wine drinkers mind.

1. A spoon or fork keeps the fizz in sparkling wine or Champagne

You’ve probably heard of it and, like me in my early wine exploring stages, even tried to put a fork or spoon upside down in an open bottle of sparkling wine to keep it fresh and fizzy. Some also might think is has to be the good sterling cutlery of your grandparents… But the truth is no matter what kind of cutlery you put in or if you just leave the bottle open and put it back into the fridge – it won’t make any difference. In reality there is no fundamental reason why a spoon or whatever object of steal or silver should stop the CO2 gas escape the bottle. But what does actually happen inside the bottle? The bubbles in sparkling wine are Carbon Dioxide, a heavy and inert gas, heavier than oxygen and nitrogen. It only takes minutes after popping the cork that CO2 forms a protective area just above the fluid level which forestalls oxidation and hold much of the remaining carbonation in liquid form – that keeps the fizz. This happens with or without the spoon!

2. Price dictates quality

Probably the biggest misnomer about wine. But you don’t have to pay a fortune to get a wine with good quality. Price doesn’t reflect quality. The price tells different things about the wine e.g. how many cases were made or how much was spent on marketing by the producer – both indicators that don’t say much about quality but have an effect on the bottle price. Prices of wine can differ due to the types of grapes used, the land of the vineyard, or price of packaging. In the end it is all about what you like. You can get a cheap wine and enjoy it while you probably wish you wouldn’t have spent that much on the expensive one…

3. Rosé is just white wine and red wine mixed together

Probably you have tried it at a party: Mix red and white wine and what do you get? Rosé? No. Typically quality rosé wine is made of red grapes. During the fermentation process the WHITE juice from the red grapes are in contact with the grapes skin and all red pigments are contained. This process can take from a few hours to a couple of days until the juice becomes its typical delightful pink colour and is then further fermented into wine.

4. Smell the cork and you know if it’s a good quality wine

Smelling the cork won’t tell you anything about the quality of wine – because cork smells…like cork! To check if the wine is corked you need to smell the wine itself, the cork won’t tell you. So, what should you do when the waiter hands you the cork of the bottle of wine you want to enjoy? Check if the cork is broken, or has any mould. Older and more expensive wine corks should have the vintage date on it which should be identical with the date on the label. Additionally the winery’s name, logo or other branding information should appear on the cork of a quality wine. Since natural corks are more and more replaced by synthetic corks or screw caps smelling the cork will probably not be seen that much anyway…

5. Screw tops are a sign of cheap wine

This leads us to the next myth: Wines with alternative closures, especially screw caps are cheap wine. False! The problem with natural cork is it makes the wine faulty. The chemical known as Cork Taint (Actually it is called Trichloroanisole) and can, if it appears in the cork, completely destroy the wine. The wine then smells and tastes dusty; like wet newspaper. If the bottle had a screw cap this wouldn’t have happened.

A big advantage of the screw cap is the ease of use. Doesn’t it go much faster? No corkscrew needed and when you don’t finish the whole bottle you can close it easily. And the wine itself has the same quality as a wine with a natural cork.

Have you heard any more interesting, funny myths about wine? Let me know!

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