Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cork Crisis

Fellow wine lovers, join me as I lament a very serious problem. For the past few months, I've been experiencing a cork crisis. Dry corks, corks with rot, corks that split in half and fall into chunks... I've seen 'em all.

Now, I must clarify. The wines I buy at specialty stores and gourmet shops don't have this problem. But my regular, just-running-in-for-a-Cab, corner grocery store has been selling me bottles that have cork problems.

The reason for this is perhaps too simple: storage. How you store and display a wine really impacts the corks. It's pretty easy, but I'll go slow. If you stand the bottle up, the wine isn't touching the cork, and so it dries out. If you lay it on its side, the wine does touch the cork. In fact, it marinades it, bathes it, saddles up next to it. This keeps the cork more moist. I know it's hard to wrap your head around; keeping something in contact with a liquid means moisture.

So my advice is store your wine horizontally as soon as possible. Maybe let it sit there for a week like that. Or, if you must uncork, keep a coffee filter around and strain the wine through that to catch any stray cork debris. Maybe buy bottles without real cork, using plastic instead or a screw top. Or don't buy your wine at a place that keeps it standing up.


Don't Try This Wine!

Usually, I don't like to post about things I don't enjoy. Like mother always said, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!" But I couldn't help myself with this version of Try This Wine: DON'T Try This Wine.

Citra wine, any variety, is just not good. While it's low price might allure you, as it did me, forget it. What you will uncork is a tawny, flat wine that is sure to disappoint. This is the sort of wine that your Aunt Gretchen might serve at a dinner party proudly because, as she'll point out time and time again, "it's Italian." And she's right; it is Italian, but that doesn't make it good.

I tried pairing their Montepulciano d'Abruzzo with a baguette and some brie, and even the smoky, pungent rind of the cheese was not enough to lessen the gross taste. As Kendall put it: "You know how I say that some wines taste like spoilt grape juice? Well, this is one of them."

Just don't.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Sip Cooler

It's getting warmer! Before it gets to be swelteringly hot, I suggest keeping hydrated. But skip the disposable plastic water bottles from the case or cooler. Do your wallet and the planet a favor and pick up one of these reuseable water bottles.

Here, we have what I sip from, the Rubbermaid Chug Bottle. Find it in your local grocery or discount store for about $3.50. So instead of buy flats of water bottles every week for the same price, make the investment once, and refill it. It's dishwasher safe, and can hold from 20-32 oz.

I like the high volume. Here in Texas, those puny 16 oz. bottles don't cut it. If I'm really hot or thirsty, I finish one in a few gulps and am unsatisfied. This gives me more than I can chug in one go. And if I finish it off, I just have to refill it at the nearest tap.

Try This Wine: Delicato Shiraz 2005

Good news for wine-lovers on a budget! If you are looking for a big bang for a few bucks, this wine is for you. You can pick up a magnum bottle (that's right, the big one) in your local grocery store for less than $10.

Okay, so it's cheap. But is it good?

You betcha. I was surprised when I sipped this Shiraz. All the elements of a good shiraz are there: fruity flavor, full body, smooth finish. It's so delightfully tangy, that I found myself leaving it in my mouth for a bit before swallowing. And just in time for warm weather, this red te can be sipped at room temp, or chilled, for a refreshing sip in the evenings.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Try This Wine: Septima Red 2005

After reading rave reviews of the Malbec region of Argentina, I rushed out to get one. What I found was a great red table wine from Mendoza, Argentina. While the vintage isn't great, it was good enough to let the tannins settle out a little and gave this wine a smooth taste.

Actually, this wine caused a bit of a debate between Kendall and I. While I thought it was very dry, he didn't think it was at all. However, the medium body was there.

In fact, the body was rather luscious and juicy. However, it was a little too sour and so the dry ending didn't counter too well.

All in all, a very enjoyable wine, and one I recommend for trying wines from this region. I look forward to what the Malbec region has to offer.