miércoles, 17 de noviembre de 2010

How to Open a Bottle of Wine


Place the foil cutter, the knife part of the tool, or a sharp cutting disk, under the lip at the end of the wine capsule on the top of the bottle. Press against the edge under the rim of the foil and rip the cutter knive upwards all the way to the top removing the foil.

Carefully enclose the knife back into it's recess.

The coiled section of a Sommelier knife is called the "worm". Place the tip of the worm just next to the center of the cork, on a 45'angle. The middle of the worm (where there is no metal) should be over the middle of the cork.

Press the worm into the cork turning clockwise while you twist the the bottle anticlockwise in your other hand turn the worm until it's just about tothe end of the cork.(don't go any further into the cork.

Move the lever arm down against the neck. (top of the bottle).

Pull up on the lever (i.e. the handle) firmly. The cork will gently lift up out of the bottle.

If a cork is stubborn, while standing, hold the bottle between your knees and pull up on the corkscrew. This should give you extra leverage to remove the cork.

If you've got an older wine that's thrown a lot of sediment, you should keep it stored on its side, undisturbed, until ready to drink. When service time comes, carefully put it in a cradle that will hold it at an angle. Remove the cork with the bottle still at that angle (taking care not to spill the wine), and carefully decant.

First of all when opening a bottle of wine you cut the foil under the second lip of the bottle in order not to contaminate the wine that flows back into the bottle

Setting a bottle of wine with sediment in it upright will disturb the sediment, and when you tilt it to pour it, will disturb it further.

Things Needed:
- Waiters corkscrew
- Bottle of Wine

How to Taste Wine


Look at the wine, especially around the edges. Tilting the glass a bit can make it easier to see the way the color changes from the center to the edges. Holding the glass in front of a white background, such as a napkin, tablecloth, or sheet of paper, is a good way to find out the wine's true color. Look for the color of the wine and the clarity. Intensity, depth or saturation of color are not necessarily linear with quality. White wines become darker as they age while time causes red wines to lose their color turning more brownish, often with a small amount of harmless, dark red sediment in the bottom of the bottle or glass. This is also a good time to catch a preliminary sniff of the wine so you can compare its fragrance after swirling. This will also allow you to check for any off odors that might indicate spoiled or corked wine.

Swirl the wine in your glass. This is to increase the surface area of the wine by spreading it over the inside of the glass allowing them to escape from solution and reach your nose. It also allows some oxygen into the wine, which will help its aromas open up.

Note the wine's viscosity, how slowly it runs back down the side of the glass, while you're swirling. More viscous wines are said to have "legs," and are likely to be more alcoholic. Outside of looking pretty, this has no relation to a wine's quality but may indicate a more full bodied wine.

Sniff the wine. Initially you should hold the glass a few inches from your nose. Then let your nose go into the glass. What do you smell?

Take a sip of wine, but do not swallow yet. Roll the wine around in your mouth exposing it to all of your taste buds. You will only be able to detect sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami, think: meaty or savory. Pay attention to the texture and other tactile sensations such as an apparent sense of weight or body.

Aspirate through the wine: With your lips pursed as if you were to whistle, draw some air into your mouth and exhale through your nose. This liberates the aromas for the wine and allows them to reach your nose where they can be detected. The nose is the only place where you can detect a wine's aromas. However, the enzymes and other compounds in your mouth and saliva alter some of a wine's aromatic compounds. By aspirating through the wine, you are looking for any new aromas liberated by the wine's interaction with the environment of your mouth.

Take another sip of the wine, but this time introduce air with it. In other words, slurp the wine without making a loud slurping noise. Note the subtle differences in flavor and texture.

Note the aftertaste when you swallow. How long does the finish last? Do you like the taste?

Memorice your experiences. You can use whatever terminology you feel comfortable with. The most important things are your impressions of the wine and how much you liked it. This will force you to pay attention to the subtleties of the wine. Also, you will have a record of what the wine tastes like so that you can pair it with meals or with your mood.

Wines have four basic components: taste, tannins, alcohol and acidity. Some wines also have sweetness, but the latter is only appropriate in dessert wines. A good wine will have a good balance of all four characteristics. Aging, decanting and aireation will soften tannins. Acidity will soften throughout the life of a wine as it undergoes chemical changes which include the break down of acids. Fruit will rise and then fall throughout the life of a wine. Alcohol will stay the same. All of these factors contribute to knowing when to drink or decant a wine.

Here are some commonly found tastes for each of the most common varieties, we also have to bear in mind thieir growing region, harvesting decisions and other production decisions that have a great impact on a wine's flavor character:

- Cabernet: black currant, cherry other, black fruits, green spices.
- Merlot: plum, red and black fruits, green spices, floral.
- Zinfandel: black fruits (often jammy), black spices or briary.
- Syrah or Shiraz: black fruits, black spices, especially white and black pepper.
- Pinot Noir: red fruits, floral, herbs.
- Chardonnay: Cool Climate: tropical fruit, citrus fruit in slightly warmer climates and melon in warm regions. With increasing proportion of malolactic fermentation, Chardonnay loses green apple and takes on creamy notes, Apple, pear, peach, apricot.
- Sauvignon Blanc: Grapefruit, white gooseberry, lime, melon.

Malolactic fermentation: is the natural or artificial introduction of a specific bacteria, that will cause white wines to taste creamy or buttery.
Aging in oak
: will cause wines to take on a vanilla or nutty flavor.
Your own opinion: Don't worry if your preferences are different from those of other people around you. Everyone has their own tastes and the exciting thing about wine tasting is discovering exactly what your tastes are.

Pairing Wine: Try pairing wines with unusual ingredients and note the how it enhances or diminishes the flavors of the wine. With red wines try different cheeses, good quality chocolate and berries. With white wines you can try apples, pears and citrus fruits. Pairing wine with food is more complicated than "red with beef and white with fish." Feel free to drink whichever wine you want with whatever food you want, but remember a perfect pairing is a highly enjoyable experience.

Ultimately, a wine should complement the food and cleanse the palate. So big, jammy, sweet wines will not do as well as ones with a more composed bouquet or aromas and high acidity.

Tannins: is a very common term in wine tasting, usually with red wines. It refers to the astringent, bitter compounds found in grape skins, stems and seeds as well as the oak barrels in which the wine is aged. If you want to know what tannins taste like, just bite into a grape stem or eat a cabernet grape off the vine. In young red wines, tannins taste bitter and drying, but with age they taste silky.

If the tannins are too dominant, give the wine some time ageing in the bottle or decant the wine. There are actually different types of tannins some from the skins, some from the seeds and some from the barrel. Airing is unlikely to reduce their astringency. Tannins need time to polymerize and fall out of solution. However, airing a wine a little while might allow it to open up and then the more pleasant aromatic components might be in better proportion to the whole composition of the wine. If you are serving a bottle, pour the wine into a decanter or a carafe and let it sit for an hour or two before drinking.

martes, 5 de octubre de 2010



Brand name: URBINA GARNACHA 2009
Appellation: Rioja
Vintage: 2009
Wine Type: Red Young, Unoak
Qualification of the Vintage: Very Good
Grape Type: 100% Grenache, Garnacha
Preparation: Carbonic Maceration
Production: 40,000 Bottles

Ruby red colour with a bright purple rim.

Primary aromas of red fruits like raspberries, currants, cherries, with some aromas of dark flowers like violets.

Fresh taste, good body and balance of flavours. It pairs well with white meats like chicken, turkey, pork etc. It also combines very nicely with Italian food like pasta and tomato or pomodoro sauce.

lunes, 1 de marzo de 2010

2nd Annual Rioja Grand Tasting Events in NYC and Chicago

Information of how to participate at the Grand tasting NYC and Chicago

May 4: The Ivy Room, Chicago

May 6: The Puck Building, NYC


- Rioja importers and wineries already exporting to US market.

- Each participant will receive a 6-foot table with all necessary wine ware.

- Provide your own representative(s) to pour (maximum of two people per table).


- Each participant may feature up to six wines* per table for the walk-around tasting, which will be reflected in the program.

- Please specify which wine should be featured as a top Rioja Value:

- The featured value wine is your choice, but should highlight the Rioja in your portfolio that poses the highest quality at its respective price point.

- It need not be your least expensive wine and could be any level (Crianza, Reserva, etc.), but should offer higher quality and price than other wines at the same/higher price point.

- A limited amount of wines may be served at the Seminars and surrounding press events due to limited space – we will confirm if your wine is selected but encourage your suggestions.


- The goal is to welcome between 100-150 trade attendees in Chicago and 250-300 trade attendees in NYC throughout the walk-around tasting.

- The organization will invite key on- and off-premise buyers and national and local media in both markets.

- Forward information for key accounts who you would like to receive an invitation. In addition, print/digital invitations will be made available to you to distribute.

Contact Info

- Complete the participation Form and return it to participant coordinator, Viviana Pinzon (vpinzon@crt-tanaka.com) by March 15th, 2010

- Table placements and wines showcased in surrounding press events are first come first served.

miércoles, 17 de febrero de 2010

Wine making experience


Wines are made first in the vineyard.

Satellite imageing of the vineyards, to read the canopy, the heat is giving off, how dry or moist it is, etc.

You can read all the books in the world and use all the latest equipment and data but at the end of the day you learn through experience.

If you get the data from the satellite you can ask different vine growers what to do and probably all of them they will give you different answers. Vine growers and wine makers, we all have all this beautiful tools and new equipments and still we all have to try them through try and error.

I guess the analogy will be to open a cook book and try to cook. You can read a million books about wine making and still every situation is different. It should be and asterix right at every recommendation because there is so many things that will influence the outcome of a wine. The style, temperature, how the grapes come in, soils, the weather of that particular year, its so complex that any turn of the dice can make a difference.

Again is experience, you need to use science to guide yourself, but at the end you need to be a little bite intuitive. There is million tools out here to manipulate wines, colour adds in case you end with light grapes, alcohol removal from inverse osmosis if your wine has too much alcohol, and so many things that people provably don’t want to know, but the rule number one is the more natural you can be the better the wine is going to be.

I learned more in the field and working than in technical courses

High precision viticulture


All the wine making techniques are universal so the only thing that we can claim as our own are the grapes and whatever unique flavours and aromas we can pull out of the ground and that’s what precision farming is all about.

Precision farming it has to do with exactitude pointing out small areas of the vineyard, working the vines individually to bring the best that we can. Precision farming takes to action all the high equipment that you can imagine: GPS mapping systems, infrared satellite photography, computer programs, traceability, yes all those fun toys.

We have a GPS antenna inside a hat that goes back to the GPS unit that we wear on a bag pack and that goes to a PDA telling us where we are, then we mark the spot, then we dig the soil to see the roots and how they are and how they are developing, then we take soil samples for chemical analysis. We take a close look at root distribution, how far the roots can go. Is not good or bad the dip they can go but to know how to manage it.

This equipment is great to find grapes that ripen and grow uniformly or evenly and grapes that ripen in different times, in that way you don’t end picking grapes that are green, unripe or overripe and you can get exactly what you want for each type of wine.

Then we put all the data in a software computer application that links together all the data collaborating the viticulture and wine making processes to be able to manage that vintage the best way possible. Optimization and statistical data, optimized operations, all leads to a greater efficiency.

Getting the grapes right is the first challenge and then don't making any mistakes along the way that can spoil the wine.

Matching wine and food

Pairing wine and food

You should drink the wine you like with whatever food you want but you need to understand that the traditional rules are based on centuries of experience.

A good food and wine match is an evenly matched struggle for your palate. The first bite of the food should be delicious. The first sip of the wine should be equally enjoyable and it should replace the taste of the food. With the next bite of food, the flavours are fresh again and it should be as wonderful as the first bite. If the match is good, each bite of food replaces the taste of the wine and each sip of wine replaces the taste of the food. In a poor match, one is so dominant that it is all that is tasted through the meal.

Wine pairing with meet

For very young red wines, cook your beef rarer than you might otherwise. The extra fat and protein will limit the harshness of young tannins.

With well aged red wines, cook the beef more than you normally would. Very rare beef can overwhelm the subtle complexity that are the desirable result of proper aging.


- Try to harmonise the flavours on the palate by using the wine as a contrast rather than a match.

- Use the wine as an ingredient in the overall dish and try to find balance in the a flavours.

- Foods which are high in acidity, need the balancing of a wine which has a concentrated fruit or intensity.

- Foods which have higher sweetness or lots of fat content need the acidity in a wine for a perfect balance.

- Use your common sense and judgment for the balance of food and wine flavours. Bear in mind your own personal tastes.

- Try to find the perfect balance, the perfect harmony of food and wine, it is one of life's great pleasures and privileges.

- You are made of what you eat, eat good, drink better and you'll be find.

Forget the rules

An important rule about matching food and wine is to forget the rules. Forget about shoulds and shouldn'ts. Forget about complicated systems for selecting the right wine to enhance the food on the table. This is not rocket science. It's common sense. Follow your instincts.