History of Rioja

Rioja is the Spanish Flagship for red still wines in the world . Rioja has got to this level today thanks to a past full of events related to wine. All these events explain the history of Riojan wine. Roman objects used for wine production have been found in Rioja. These containers were used for fermenting wine. Their presence confirms the production of wine in Rioja since ancient times. Subsequently it was the monasteries which would have an important role in the production of wine. There is an act by which the King of Navarre donated vineyards to the Monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla.

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Sparkling New Year Experiences

Talk-A-Vino

My brain is limited – it can only support one obsession at a time. Generally, this blog wins, but last month I got hooked on the Doctor Who series (yes, I’m a science fiction junkie), and over the last couple of days, the Doctor Who was clearly winning over the blog writing, as I couldn’t stop watching. Taking the obsession under control, I will try to switch some attention to this beloved blog.

NY WinesNew Year’s day is a Sparkling wine time for me. It doesn’t have to be Champagne, but bubbles are indispensable part of the welcoming the New Year. And then January 1st is generally the day of bubbles – we have friends coming over for the small dinner and lots of bubbles on that first day of the New Year.

The 2014 was not an exception at all – so here are some of the Sparkling wines which…

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How Wine Happens

Wine is, essentially, nothing but liquid, fermented fruit. The recipe for turning fruit into wine goes something like this:

1. Pick a large quantity of ripe grapes from grapevines.You could substitute raspberries or any other fruit, but 99.9 percent of all the wine in the world is made from grapes, because they make the best wines.
2. Put the grapes into a clean container that doesn’t leak.
3. Crush the grapes somehow to release their juice. Once upon a time, feet performed this step.
4. Wait.

In its most basic form, winemaking is that simple. After the grapes are crushed, yeasts (tiny one-celled organisms that exist naturally in the vineyard and, therefore, on the grapes) come into contact with the sugar in the grapes’ juice and gradually convert that sugar into alcohol. Yeasts also produce carbon dioxide, which evaporates into the air. When the yeasts are done working, your grape juice is wine. The sugar that was in the juice is no longer there — alcohol is present instead. (The riper and sweeter the grapes, the more alcohol the wine will have.) This process is called fermentation.

What could be more natural?
Fermentation is a totally natural process that doesn’t require man’s participation at all, except to put the grapes into a container and release the juice from the grapes. Fermentation occurs in fresh apple cider left too long in your refrigerator, without any help from you. In fact we read that milk, which contains a different sort of sugar than grapes do, develops a small amount of alcohol if left on the kitchen table all day long.

Speaking of milk, Louis Pasteur is the man credited with discovering fermentation in the nineteenth century. That’s discovering, not inventing. Some of those apples in the Garden of Eden probably fermented long before Pasteur came along. (Well, we don’t think it could have been much of an Eden without wine!) Modern wrinkles in winemaking Now if every winemaker actually made wine in as crude a manner as we just described, we’d be drinking some pretty rough stuff that would hardly inspire us to write a wine book.

But today’s winemakers have a bag of tricks as big as a sumo wrestler’s appetite. That’s one reason why no two wines ever taste exactly the same. The men and women who make wine can control the type of container they use for the fermentation process (stainless steel and oak are the two main materials), as well as the size of the container and the temperature of the juice during fermentation — and every one of these choices can make a big difference in the taste of the wine. After fermentation, they can choose how long to let the wine mature (a stage when the wine sort of gets its act together) and in what kind of container. Fermentation can last three days or three months, and the wine can then mature for a couple of weeks or a couple of years or anything in between. If you have trouble making decisions, don’t ever become a winemaker.

The main ingredient
Obviously, one of the biggest factors in making one wine different from the next is the nature of the raw material, the grape juice. Besides the fact that riper, sweeter grapes make a more alcoholic wine, different varieties of grapes (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot, for example) make different wines. Grapes are the main ingredient in wine, and everything the winemaker does, he does to the particular grape juice he has. Chapter 3 covers specific grapes and the kinds of wine they make.

Local flavor
Grapes, the raw material of wine, don’t grow in a void. Where they grow — the soil and climate of each wine region, as well as the traditions and goals of the people who grow the grapes and make the wine — affects the nature of the ripe grapes, and the taste of the wine made from those grapes. That’s why so much of the information there is to learn about wine revolves around the countries and the regions where wine is made.

Extract from: Wine for Dummies by Ed McCarthy (Certified Wine Educator) and Mary Ewing-Mulligan (Master of Wine)

Recipes with Wine: Burgundy Beef Stew

Now, this is a recipe to cook with Burgundy wine. But please, don’t use a expensive one…

Burgundy Beef Stew: 

One-pot meals offer much more than just easy cleanup. This easy, hearty beef stew recipe is fancied up with a splash of Burgundy wine. If it’s stick-to-your-ribs satisfaction you want along with company-special taste, you’ve found it!

Serves 5
BurgundyBeefStew1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 (14-ounce) can ready-to-serve beef broth
1/2 cup Burgundy or other dry red wine
3 garlic cloves, minced. And 2 cups baby carrots
1 cup frozen whole pearl onions
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water. And 1 (8-ounce) package frozen sugar snap peas
1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat; brown beef in batches. Pour off drippings then return all cooked beef to pot and season with thyme, salt, and pepper.
2. Stir in broth, wine, and garlic, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 1 hour.
3. Stir in carrots and onions; cover and cook 30 to 45 more minutes, or until beef and vegetables are tender.
4. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in water. Add cornstarch mixture to beef mixture and stir for 1 minute, or until thickened.
5. Stir in sugar snap peas and cook 3 to 4 minutes more, or until heated through.