Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Wine of the Week-Drink This Wine!

March 9, 2011

Marcillac! “Cuvée Vieilles Vignes” Domaine du Cros 2006

Here is a wine that tastes like no other and cannot be imitated.

Tougher than a cowboy and just as polite.  

Marcillac is the name of the place and lies in Southwest France a little bit below Bordeaux and west of the Cotes du Rhone.  The soil is red clay heavy in iron oxide, and boy you can taste it.  The predominant grape that is planted here is  Fer Servadou, or known locally as Mansois.  Fer translates into iron, did I mention you can taste it?  The summers are long and hot thanks to the Mediterranean influence, the winters though can be brutally cold.  The best sites for grapes come from sloping and terraced hillsides that look south.  The area gained AOC status in 1990 and only allows red and pink wines.

Domaine du Cros led by Philippe Teulier has been producing wine for four generations and has grown to become one of the largest independent growers in the region.  By largest meaning 25 hectares, about 60 acres, bottle production is around 7000 cases.  Pretty small compared to the local wine cooperative.  The Cuvée Vieilles Vignes (which means old vines, 80 year old vines!) is aged a year and half in old large chestnut barrels before release to soften its animal character.  It has big, bloody structure, ripe red, savory, peppery fruit and a beautiful balance.  Recommended to be drunk within 3-5 years but supposedly can last up to 10.  I say if you have a bottle, drink it now, if you have 2 bottles, drink one now and one tomorrow.  It is gorgeous.

I had it with a simple meal of Italian sausage from Belmont Butchery (so it is Italian sausage, still works, actually it is Italian style sausage made right here in Richmond from Virginia pigs so it can be called Richmond sausage) browned with a little butter, onion, garlic, rosemary, beans and some reduced red wine.  

$16, imported by Wine Traditions

Welcome to Richmond Wine Culture

February 27, 2011

There are a lot of ways to make wine.

The number of methods makes it seem like wine can be made anywhere in the world. One can easily create a vineyard on a plot of land (away from trees) with well-prepared soil (through tilling, weeding and composting) that has good drainage and a steady flow of water (either by rain or irrigation) ample sun (from Spring through Fall) and enough dry air (or chemical spray) to keep rot and mold away.

If owning and maintaining a vineyard is too costly or labor intensive, one can easily source grapes from differnet growers and have the fruit delivered
to his/her newly constructed, state of the art winery. There, one can fill the mechanical hopper and crusher-destemmer (to separate leaves and twigs and such) to prepare the grapes for a brief, chilly stay in a heat exchanger.  After this, the grapes will get blasted with sulphur dioxide (to prevent fermentation and to slow down oxidation) then move on to a full-on mechanical stomp in a pneumatic press to produce the juice. The juice is then pump pump pumped into settling tanks (add some carbon dioxide in gas form) and then pumped again into the fermentation tanks.

Added here are some specially selected yeast strains intended to impart special characteristics into the finished wine.

The colder the fermentation, the fruitier and more aromatic the wine; the hotter the fermentation, the quicker the tanks can be refilled with the next batch. From there, the wine can be refined in new, more costly oak barrels, or, to keep it cheap, oak chips and saw dust can be thrown into the fermenting wine. After a run through the sheet filtration system the wine is ready to be bottled and slapped with a label!

These are generalized steps of course. One can easily buy the juice already crushed to ferment at will, or buy finished wine and manipulate anyway wanted. The easiest way to make wine, though, is to hire a consulting oenologist to do it all…

There are ways to grow wine, as well.
Wine is an agricultural product and comes from longstanding cultural traditions. Many Artisan growers uphold responsible farming and reflect a sense of place through their wines. When wine is grown rather than constructed, the process honors the land, natural growing cycles, and the integrity of heritage. And, it often tastes better, offering more complex and fresh flavors.

Richmond has access to all kinds of beautiful, real wines. Richmond Wine Culture will let you know where to find these special wines in local shops and restaurants. Join us online for discussions with wine distributors, restraunteurs, and wine shop owners to explore our city’s wine culture. Here, you will find information about noteworthy wine events around town (and notes on which tastings to avoid.)  To thoughtfully think about wine, Richmond Wine Culture will not provide unclear tasting notes like “Stewed gooseberries” or “Asian-spice box” or “Peruivan tree bark” or other ultimately senseless descriptors.  Instead, we’ll talk about how a wine is used to complement cuisine. Richmond Wine Culture will explore off the beaten path wine regions and direct you to wines that celebrate those regions.  We’ll cover the best ways to enjoy these special wines.

We look forward to tasting with you!