OK, all of you chardonnay sippers out there, beware! We can all use a little bit more wine knowledge than we already think we have. Do you need it to enjoy wine? No. But would you like to be slightly more knowledgeable than your average “Two Buck Chuck” neighbor or friend who seems like a “know-it-all”?
Here are some wine basics:
It takes about 2.8 pounds of grapes to make one bottle of wine.
Over 21 million people visit the California wine country each year.
Ninety per cent (90%) of the wine made in the United States comes from California.
But the U.S. is only fourth world wide in wine production after France, Italy and Spain.
What are the five steps (6 for sparkling) of wine making? Harvest, crush, fermentation, aging, finishing, and for sparkling, tirage.
The top selling varietal in California is chardonnay.
Franciscan monks made the first California wines to celebrate mass. Blame the notorious Junipero Serra for planting vines in the San Diego area in 1769.
My favorite, sparkling wine, should be chilled to 45 degrees F or lower. Why? To slow the release of bubbles and encourage the fruit aromas to linger.
Contrary to popular belief, red wines should be served at 55 to 65 degrees F. This is particularly important when it is warm outside.
White and blush wines should be served at 45 to 55 degrees F, but not too cold. Aromas and flavors are more difficult when colder.
BTW, Two Buck Chuck comes from Franzia Winery in Lodi, CA.
“I liken making pinot noir to waking up a woman at three in the morning. You never quite know what you’re going to get.” – Luke Smith
Just to give another plug to the Mendocino area: Anderson Valley may be known for aromatic white wines and Pinot Noir, but Roederer Estate’s decades of success prove that this coastally influenced valley is a great spot for making sparkling wine too. A laid-back, walk-up tasting bar offers the chance to taste through several sparkling cuvees — and even some still wines, which are tasting room-exclusives. The estate is owned by the French Champagne company Louis Roederer, which owns two additional Anderson Valley wineries: Scharffenberger, another sparkling wine label at a slightly lower price point than Roederer; and Domaine Anderson, a newer winery specializing in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as still wines.
Whatever you do during this pandemic, please help support our farmers, whether they grow grapes, stone fruit, citrus, or even the dreaded nut family!