Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Decanting Wines: A Primer

As a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, you’ll receive regular shipments of wines from the Paso Robles AVA and decanting a bottle of wine can elevate your tasting experience. How and why wine is decanted can seem a mysterious event to those just discovering the world of wine, and even wizened connoisseurs may not do it often enough.

Decanting a bottle of wine has two main purposes. The first is to filter out any sediment that could affect the wine visually and impair its enjoyment, and the second is to allow the wine to breathe—or open up its nose and release its aromas. And while decanting may look intimidating and complex, it’s really quite easy.

Here are some tips:
  • If you're planning on drinking a bottle from an older vintage, it’s a good idea to allow the bottle to remain upright for 24 hours. This will cause the sediment to sink to the bottom and will make it easier to separate it from the wine when you pour it into a decanter.
  • Select a decanter or vessel that will hold the contents of the bottle and make sure it’s clean and free from of any detergents or other residues that would interfere with the taste of the wine.
  • Slowly pour the wine into the decanter and if you’re decanting an older vintage, take extra care to keep the sediment in the bottom of the bottle and not transfer it into the decanter.
  • Allow the wine to sit for 10-15 minutes so that it can open up before serving--but not for much longer, since exposing the wine to oxygen can cause oxidation.

Wine need not be old or expensive to benefit from decanting—or even red, for that matter. Since decanting a wine aerates it, the process can enliven any wine and burn off any sulphur dioxide that may be present. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hosting a Wine and Cheese Tasting Party

When it comes to the perfect pairing, wine and cheese couldn’t be better suited to each other. Many of our Paso Robles WineClub members report savoring their wine shipments along with cheese and can’t stop talking about the experience.  Like cheese, wine is an agricultural product and picks up similar nuances of a region, so sipping wine while sampling cheese enhances both. 

If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy your wine shipment, pairing the wines with cheese might be the perfect solution.

A few pairing ideas:

Pair fresh cheeses with Sauvignon: Soft, creamy fresh cheeses like Feta, Chevre and Burrata taste of fresh milk and are usually tangy. Often, these cheeses are nuanced with grassy, herbaceous undertones. Sauvignon is crisp and fruity and often herbaceous—a perfect compliment.
Chardonnay is a good match for soft ripened cheeses:  Also known as bloomy rind cheeses, these beauties have a oozy texture and mushroomy, tart and tangy profile. Among them: Brie, Camembert, and Robiola. Chardonnay is a great match and enhances any underlying herbal notes in the cheese.
Semi Hard Cheeses are enhanced by Chardonnay: With their low moisture content and crumbly texture, these cheeses are characterized by their sharp, tangy profile—one that’s made more pleasurable paired with a buttery, earthy Chardonnay; the underlying notes of caramel and fruit bring out the best in semi-hard cheeses.

After choosing the cheeses, add in a simple mix of accompaniments—fresh figs, grapes and apples, a selection of water crackers and sliced baguette, and a few handfuls of walnuts or almonds. Selecting the wines is easy when you join the Paso Robles Wine Club. We’ll send regular shipments to you and once you discover wines you like, you can reorder—and they’ll arrive in time for your next wine and cheese pairing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

True Grit: Understanding Sediment

If you’ve ever looked down into the bottom of your red wine glass and seen gritty, sandy-textured bits on the bottom, you’ve encountered sediment. 

While sediment is harmless, it can hamper the enjoyment of wine. Usually, sediment is found in older, aged wines, but since wine is an agricultural product created through the fermentation of fruit, there’s always the possibility that the byproducts of the process could become part of the final product.

As a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, you will receive regular shipments of wines throughout the year from winemakers in the Paso Robles AVA. Since wine is an artisan-crafted good, each winemaker has a unique approach to working with the fruit. Some winemakers will filter the final product to remove sediment, but other winemakers won’t.

Sediment settles in the bottom and along the sides of the bottle and consists of dead yeast cells, grape skins, seeds, and even tannins. Harmless as it may be, it can interfere with the taste and complexity, so you’ll want to remove it prior to serving. This can easily be done by decanting the wine.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tasting Through Your Wine Shipment

As a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, you'll receive your special wine shipments on a regular basis and each shipment will feature a unique selection of wines from the Paso Robles Wine Country AVA. Once you receive your shipment, you'll want to make sure that you immediately open the box and properly store your bottles away from heat and light. And then, you'll want to start tasting the wines.

Of course, we don't recommend that you open the bottles all at one time--there are special bottles in each case that beg to be set aside for a special occasion--but, if you're a member of our wine club with the express purpose of sharing your shipment with friends and family, then you may want to arrange a special tasting.

One of the best ways that we can think of is to share the wines in small allotments--choose two or three bottles, open them and let them breathe, and then gather a few of your nearest and dearest and then pour and relax. Encourage your guests to sip and savor and to share their thoughts. It's also a nice idea to share with them a little information about the topography of the land, any nuances of soil, and information of the varietals. Sharing and savoring wine with family and friends in one of the joys of life and as a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, you can do it on a regular basis.