Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Feline Wines

Just when I think things can’t get any weirder – they do. This week, Apollo Peak Wine made news with its cat wines. Under the caption “Why Drink Alone?” this “feline snack wine is designed to entice even the most picky cats.”

Denver-based Apollo Peak reports that the wine is non-alcoholic, (Animal-lover hope so!) and made from a blend of water, beets (for coloring), and catnip - all grown on the Colorado farm where the wine is created. The company began making cat wine in November 2015 to create a niche for wine-loving cats, and their owners.

Pinot Meow
Apollo Peaks currently offers two types of cat wines – Pinot Meow and MosCATo. And yes dog lovers, do not despair. There is also a dog wine in the works.

Walter CronKat
I don’t know about you, but even though I love wine, my cat has never expressed an interest it in. Zilch. Nada. None. So, do we really need a wine for cats? Or dogs?  I’m thinking – no. Cute idea for a gag gift, or for that special cat-lady in our lives, but my Walter CronKat will just have to make due with water and an occasional splash of milk. Some things are best left alone – and wine is one.

~ Joy

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Four Sensational Summer Sippers

Summer is almost here! Time to break out those light wines that go so well in hot weather. Here are four suggestions to keep it light this summer.

Muscat Grapes
The “Moscato moment “is here to stay! This perky wine is crafted from Muscat Blanc grapes of the Muscat family, and has been used in winemaking for centuries. Despite the fact that over 200 varieties of Muscat grapes exist, only a few are used in wine production.

Moscato has a sweet, honeyed aroma similar to Gewurztraminer, and is usually crafted in a sweeter, light-bodied style making it one of the perfect wines for summer.

Serve a chilled Moscato with spicy Asian food to complement its flavor profile of citrus and white stone fruits.

Pinot Grigio Grapes
Pinot Grigio
This “grey” grape has a huge following, especially during the summer months. Pinot Grigio can be crafted in three different styles: dry with a focus on mineral flavors, dry with a nod to fruitiness, and as a late harvest sweet dessert wine.

Dry – Minerally
This type of Pinto Gris is aged in stainless steel tanks, which lets those more chalky, stone flavors shine through. Fresh and crisp, it goes wonderfully well with mussels and sushi.

Dry – Fruity
This style capitalizes on the flavors of melon, white stone fruits and apples, creating a very fruit-forward wine. Serve chilled with a light buttery or white-sauced pasta dish and seafood.

Sweet – Fruity
This style is prevalent in France and is crafted as a sweet dessert wine with a flavor profile of citrus and honey; an enjoyable late harvest wine for the approaching autumn.

This wine has never garnered much respect, thanks to those gallon jugs that were popular back in the 1960s and ‘70s. But today things seem to be changing.

Rosé wines are not made from a specific grape(s). Instead, most are a blend of several grapes with the winemaker deciding what style to craft.  Rosé is usually made in a dry style, and as a semi-sweet. The color of the wine will also vary depending on the types of grapes blended and how long the wine was aged on the skins.

Definitely a wine to enjoy soon after purchasing. Rosé is very approachable and fun for picnics and casual dining during the warmer months ahead.

Gamay Noir
Gamay Noir
If you’re a die-hard red wine lover, those summer whites are just not going to cut it. But a Gamay wine will keep you “in the red” with a flavor profile of fresh berries and tart cherries with a floral nose. Gamay is best known as the grape used to craft Beaujolais. Take a bottle to the next BBQ and watch the reactions.

Summer's almost here - what are you drinking during the hot weather months?

~ Joy

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Great Wines at an Affordable Price - Josh Cellars Wine Review

Joseph Carr
It all began in 2005 when sommelier Joseph Carr decided to start his own winery focusing on California wines crafted from small growers from Napa Valley, California’s North Coast and Carneros. Carr’s dream was to create sophisticated small-batch wines.

Josh Carr
Then in 2007, Carr began working with Tom Larson whose grandfather owned the land where the winery is now located. The two men worked together to create a second label: Josh Cellars.

Named in honor of Carr’s father, Josh, the juice was again sourced from several California winegrowing regions to craft well-balanced wines that are approachable and budget-friendly.

Chardonnay 2014 Vintage
The 2014 Chardonnay was a delight! The aroma of fresh melons and tropical fruits comprised the nose while the flavors of luscious peaches, melons and crisp apples tantalized the mouth; smooth vanilla notes rounded out the wine.

The Chard grapes came from Mendocino and Monterey counties, and winemaker Wayne Donaldson fermented the juice in oak before cold stabilizing it. The wine was then transferred to 30% new French oak and stirred on the lees. Excellent served with grilled pork. (Retails for under $15.)

Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Vintage
A perfect summer sipper! Notes of honey locust on the nose with hints of peaches and apricots. The tangy flavors of pineapple, melon and apples dance on the tongue with a twist of lime on the finish. Pairs wonderfully with chicken and olives.

This Sauv Blanc was crafted from grapes grown in the Napa, Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino regions. The grapes were pressed, and allowed to cold settle for 24 hours before cold stabilization to retain the aromas.
The 2014 vintage was awarded 92 points at the Los Angeles International Wine Competition in 2015. (Retails for under $15.)

2015 Wine Brand of the Year
Josh Cellars also produces a bold Cabernet and a brooding Merlot that I have tried and love, plus a Pinot Noir and Legacy Red I have yet to try. Josh Cellars is producing outstanding, well-balanced wines for a great price. Pour a glass and see what you  think. 

~ Joy

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How Much Is A Standard Wine Pour?

Have you ever wondered why when you order a glass of wine in a restaurant or bar, the amount of the serving can vary?

There is no set legal-sized pour in the U.S., but a standard pour of wine is considered to be five to six ounces. (An establishment that offers five-ounce pours gets an extra glass out of each bottle.)

And, no, it doesn’t matter if the wine is a red or a white. The difference between the two pours is about two tablespoons. Many restaurants list the size of their pours on the wine menu. If it is not shown, ask.

Five-ounces is also the standard pour for a glass of Champagne. A glass of Sherry or Port is a smaller three to four-ounce pour because it is a fortified wine with a higher alcohol content. (Regular wine has an alcohol content of 11-14% while fortified wines are 15-20%.)

Dessert wines in the U.S. usually come in around 2-3 ounces since they are sold in smaller bottles. (The 375mL size dessert bottle vs. the 750mL standard bottle.)

Using the correct size and type of wine glass will make the serving size appear more in proportion.

In countries using the metric system, the standard serving size for a glass of wine is 100 ml (3.38 U.S. ounces.) But a pour of Champagne is 150mL, about the same serving size as ours. And Ports and Sherries are 60 mL while we pour an ounce or two more per serving.

Why the difference? U.S. wine pours vary somewhat because we are one of only three countries in the world that doesn’t use the metric system. (The other two are Burma and Liberia.) While that may present a problem with size and trade issues, it appears to be great for the wine drinker. Cheers!

~ Joy

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

At Trinity Oaks – Every Day Is Earth Day

This Friday, April 22, we will celebrate Earth Day. It began in 1970 as a day to show support for the environment; today, more than 193 countries take part in the annual event. But Trinity Oaks Wines hasn't waited for an annual reminder - they've been doing something to better our environment, every day, for eight years! 

Founded in 2001, Trinity Oaks, a representative of Trinchero Family Estates, located in the St. Helena, California, offers a variety of reds and whites: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio.

The company has always had an eye toward the environment. They bottle in recyclable glass; use recyclable corks, and capsules made from plant-based materials, and ship in kraft boxes that don’t require bleach to make the paper white. Sounds great! But then they had a radical idea – What if they planted a tree for every bottle of wine sold?!  

In July 2008, Trinity Oaks partnered with Trees For The Future to create the One Bottle One Tree program. Simply put, when you purchase a bottle of Trinity Oaks wine, Trees For A Future will plant a tree. And, there’s no limit to the number of trees they'll plant.

As of this month, Trinity Oak wine drinkers have helped plant over 15-million trees, so far, in 16 countries around the world. The One Bottle One Tree program is working to help restore the environment in countries that need reforestation like Brazil, Haiti, Kenya and the Philippines, among others.

Planting trees helps to regenerate over-harvested land while renewing the soil and natural resources. The trees also enable farmers to plant more diversified crops that generate a steady income for local families and communities.

And now, in celebration of Earth Month, Trinity Oaks Wine is offering consumers $1 off a glass of any Trinity Oaks wine at your local bar or restaurant. To access the digital coupon just go to ibotta. The offer is good through the end of the month.

So do your part for Earth Day – and enjoy a glass (or two) of Trinity Oaks wine in the process.That would be so Trees Chic!

~ Joy

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Domain Name Extensions Can Tell Your Story

If you have a website or blog, you probably took some time to carefully select a domain name for it. After all, this is your address on the web, so it should be something that lets the browser know what it’s about. 

Once that creative endeavor is completed, it’s easy to accept the usual .COM, .NET or .ORG extension that goes at the end. After all, these generic top-level domain (TLD) names give information about the business; .COM is for a commercial entity (Originally intended for a for-profit company.), .ORG is for an organization (It was originally intended to designate a non-profit.), .NET stands for network, .BIZ is for business, .EDU stands for education, .MIL is for the military, and .GOV designates government sites.

If you wanted to really stand out, you could have selected an extension for the country you're in since each country in the world has its own specific TLD. (The United States is .US, Australia has .AU, and Spain has .ES.)

But now you can get a bit more creative with your domain name by varying up the extension and using it to promote what you’re all about. Industry-specific website endings are becoming available!

This year, the wine industry jumped on-board with the website endings of .WINE and .VIN. According to Donuts Inc., (Donuts.Domains) the largest registry for new “not-com” domain names, these industry-specific domains “provide a more descriptive and creative means for domain owners to brand their businesses, products and services.

The advantages of using a .WINE or .VIN extension are many. First, wine consumers can type it in to locate anything related to wine: wine shops, wineries, vintners, wine growers, grapes, wine reviews, wine events, even wine classes. (Suggestions for usage include: WhereToBuy.WINE, Champagne.VIN, and USA.WINE.)

The new designations also give wineries, and others in the industry, a simple way to reinforce their branding right in their domain name. That’s something .NET, .BIZ and .COM just can’t do.

According to Donuts, Inc. co-founder and CEO Paul Stahura, “.WINE and .VIN will enable wine connoisseurs and the businesses that serve them to build identities and vibrant communities where commerce and ideas can flow freely.

Business-specific TLDs are currently available for 28 industries including agriculture, construction, consulting, food, automotive, and retail. Be on the look out for not-coms like these: .RESTAURANT, .HEALTHCARE, .TECHNOLOGY, .AUTO, and .LIFE.

This doesn’t signal the end of .COMS; nearly 60% of Donuts, Inc. registered names still have the corresponding .COM address. But renewals for them are starting to wane. Certain not-coms have been available since 2014, and of those, renewal rates for industry-specific TLDs are 40% high than renewals for legacy .COMS.

Only time will tell if this is a fad, but businesses around the world are switching from not-coms to industry-specific TLDs in order to make their businesses more memorable, and meaningful to their clients.

~ Joy