Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wine or Water versus Poop or Health

In a number of carefully controlled trials, scientists have demonstrated that if we drink 1 liter of water each day, at the end of the year we would have absorbed more than 1 kilo of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria found in feces. In other words, we are consuming 1 kilo of Poop.

However, we do not run that risk when drinking wine (or rum, whiskey, beer or other liquor) because alcohol has to go through a purification process of boiling, filtering and/or fermenting.

Water = Poop
Wine = Health

Therefore, it's better to drink wine and talk stupid, than to drink water and be full of shit :)

There's no need to thank me for this valuable information; I'm doing it as a public service.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Picpoul De Pinet

I don't review many white wines. I am a red wine drinker at heart, but I feel this one is worthy of a few word. I first tried this wine at a wine tasting in Sun Valley Idaho about a year ago. I think it is a great wine in the summer, very fresh, clean and crisp. Hughes Beaulieu's Picpoul De Pinet is pale yellow in color with a tint of green. Fine aromas of exotic fruits and grapefruit. Brings a full citrus flavor to the palate with lime flavors, and a very focused acidity. This wine comes from the Languedoc region of France and is made from a Piquepoul grape, goes great with seafood or shellfish.

Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir

I was at work the other night, and was visiting with a nice woman from Oregon. She is quite a wine connoisseur, living in Oregon for many years. Her husband also used to work for Ponzi winery. We were discussing my love of Oregon Pinots when she offered a recommendation on one of her favorites. Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir, according to her, this is a very heavy, full, voluptuous pinot. Full of beautiful fruit flavors. I have yet to get my hands on a bottle, but I will soon. Try it and see if it is as good as she says. I'll definitely post an opinion when I get an opportunity to try it myself.

Merry Edwards Russian River Pinot Noir

This is a bold, beautiful Pinot from the Sonoma, Russian River Valley of California. Merry Edwards produces a big, dark and juicy Pinot. With Black plum, and black cherry fruit. It is enhanced with chocolate, anise and leather notes. Aged 70% in new french oak barrels, this wine has the legs to carry you to a sublime finish. Retails for about $60, but worth every penny. I think this wine will age well. Try a local wine store or you can order it online from Merry Edwards.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Wine Terms T - Z

Table Wine

A US legal term that encompasses all wines that are between 7% and 14% alcohol.
The term is used in Europe to mean a wine that was not made under the rules of any specific controlled area.

Most Wines (in the US)
  • A wine of lower quality or distinction
  • A wine of distinction that does not conform to a standard
  • French: vin de table
  • Italian: vino tavola
  • German: Tafelwein

Those compounds responsible for the bitter and astringent tastes in wine. They are found primarily in the skin and seeds of the grape, as well as stems (which are not always included in the wine making process). Because white wines have little to no contact with these parts of the grape, white wines have little tannin. Aging in oak barrels can also add (oak) tannin to wines.


A wine tasting term for a wine that is noticeably acidic. As long as the acid is not overwhelming, it is only tart. A stronger acid flavor would be harsh and a very strong acid flavor would be sour.


A wine tasting term for any wine that has little flavor. Technically it is used for a wine that has little dry extract (what is left after you remove all the liquid).


Some may be surprised to find out that this classic addition to a martini started out as wine. In a technical sense a vermouth is any wine that has been infused with herbs or fruits. The


This term refers both to the actual grape harvest as well as the year of the harvest. The term is also applied to wines that bear this year of harvest on their labels.

White Zinfandel

A rose (pink) wine made from the red wine grape Zinfandel. It tends to be somewhat sweet and easy to enjoy. This is the wine that snobs love to hate.

Wine Cooler

A mix of wine and fruit juices (or lime flavored soda). The practice of disguising bad wine with sweetened juice is as old as wine itself.

When a wine has had extensive aging in a barrel it takes on the barrel taste, hence it is "woody." The taste of wood, usually oak, should not dominate the flavor of the wine. It is there to help the wine age, and will diminish over time.

A designation for any wine that is not quite ready to drink. In the case of lighter wines, this may be directly on release; but, for Cabernet Sauvignon based wines, and others designed for prolonged aging, the period of youth may last a decade or more.


A red wine grape found almost exclusively in California. While its origins are undoubtedly European, the exact location and name of its progenitor is one of wine's great mysteries. The Primativo of Italy is often named as the origin of Zin, but some believe that Primativo came from Zin, and not the other way around. Evidence for this is found in DNA testing. Whatever the origin of Zinfandel, it is one of the most planted fine wine grapes in California. These vines are older than most other vines in the area, and for this reason produce some of the most intense fruit. For the uninitiated, Zinfandel means a pink wine.

The above Information was written by Stephen Reiss

Since 1984 Stephen Reiss has been teaching and learning about wine, on what eventually would become the Internet. Consider this a resource. Please visit his wine education site for new insights it may have to offer. If you are so moved, share your comments with Stephen, and invite your friends to visit as well. Click on the photo to the right and check out his wonderful Wine Blog!

We thank Stephen for his generosity in posting such valuable information on wine, we look forward to supporting him and his goals. Please do stop by his site!

Wine Terms N - S


A wine tasting term for a wine that exhibits flavors reminiscent of nuts, especially hazelnut. In some cases this can be a sign that the wine is oxidized.


Oak is used to make containers for storing and aging wine. Specific oak is used for small barrels to impart flavor and tannins to the wine. The newer the barrel, the more flavor it imparts. Oak is critical for making long lived red wines, and some whites.


A wine tasting term for a wine that has absorbed oxygen. In extreme examples the wine (usually white wine) has begun to turn brown.

Petite Sirah

A wine grape found primarily in California. Once thought to be related to the Syrah grape of the Rhone Valley in France, it is now known to be the grape Durif. It has been said that this grape is "neither petite, nor Syrah."
Pinot Blanc

A relative of the Pinot Noir, this white grape is planted in abundance in Alsace, France; California and Oregon. At one time this grape was found in the vineyards of Burgundy, along side Chardonnay.

Pinot Grigio

The Italian name for the grape and wine produced from the Pinot Gris grape. Most of this popular wine is rather bland and uninspiring.

Pinot Gris

A relative of the Pinot Noir grape this "grey" member of the family is important in Alsace, France, where it is known as Tokay d'Alsace and in Germany where it is called Rulander, and in Italy as Pinot Grigio.

Pinot Noir

One of the most important red wine grapes in the World. At home in Burgundy, France, it is also found throughout the New World. In California many of the best examples are found in Santa Barbara county. Oregon too boasts exceptional Pinots, and New Zealand is proud of their up and coming contributions.


An important grape in South Africa. The result of crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsault (which is known as Hermitage in South Africa). While the South Africans are very proud of the wines made from this grape, I have not had the pleasure of tasting one of note.


A sweet red wine that is made by adding neutral grape spirit (brandy) to the unfinished wine. This is the process known as "fortification." Port is made in several styles.

Vintage Port is made in years that are exceptional. It is bottled young, and ages in the bottle for decades. An aged Vintage Port throws a good deal of sediment and must be decanted before serving.


A red wine grape found in Italy. It was thought for some time that this was the origin of the Zinfandel grape of California. Current DNA methods suggest that the Primitivo may actually have come from the Zinfandel, rather than the other way around.


A white wine grape of Italy. In the US it is best known as a sparkling wine made from the same grape. In Italy the wine may be sparkling, lightly sparkling, or even still.


In the US the term reserve has no legal meaning. It implies that the wine is from the better part of the production; however, it is often used on the label of very cheap wines that have not been reserved from anything.

Rice Wine

Made throughout Asia, and best known as the Japanese Sake, this is not a wine at all. The first criteria for wine, both legally and from the point of view of quality, is to be made from grapes.


One of the greatest white wine grapes. Found originally in Germany, and still the most important quality grape there, it has now made its way around the world.


The French word for "pink" and the wines that are close to that color. Rose wines suffer from an image problem. It may be that white wine and red wine drinkers feel that rose does not fit either niche, rather than being a bridge between them. It may also be that the sweet and simple rose wines from the 60s and 70s made people think that all rose wines are as uninspiring.


A wine tasting term applied to a wine that is well balanced. Often used as in "a well rounded wine."


A Japanese rice based alcoholic beverage often erroneously called "rice wine."


One of the most important red wine grapes of Italy. Found primarily in the Tuscany region of central Italy. There are several distinct clones of this grape, each of varying quality.

Sauvignon Blanc

A white wine grape planted around the world. In France it is found in Bordeaux, where it is usually blended with Semillon to make a rich styled wine, but with very little varietal character. The Loire Valley of France is home to the villages of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume which may produce the truest expression of this grape.


The French term for "dry" (meaning a wine without any residual sugar).
The exception is Champagne. No one wanted to admit to drinking sweet wines, so "Sec" is a term that was adopted for the sweetest style of Champagne.


The Italian term for "dry" (meaning a wine without any residual sugar).


A wine tasting term used when the acid in a wine is out of balance or strong. It would fall between "tart" and "sour" on a scale of perceived acidity.


The Australian name for the grape Syrah. Most of the vines planted in Australia (where Shiraz is one of the most planted red wine grapes) can trace their ancestry back to France, via South Africa. This circuitous route means that the vines left France before the twin plagues of oidium and phylloxera of the last half of the 19th century.


A wine tasting term for a specific mouth feel that is evident in the very finest of red wines. It is related to balance and is usually used when the wine is old enough for the tannins to have softened.


A wine tasting term that refers to a tactile sensation in the mouth (mouth feel) associated with the acids, rather than the tannins in the wine (see "soft"). Technically a wine is smooth due to the presence of lactic acid, which in turn is present in the wine due to malo-lactic fermentation.


A wine tasting term that refers to the lack of apparent tannins in a wine. If the wine is well aged, or in a style that is enjoyed young, soft is a plus. If the wine is meant to age, and is soft in its youth, it is a minus, as one would expect to find tannins to help the wine age.

Sparkling Wine

That class of wines that has been carbonated. The highest quality versions are carbonated through the action of yeast in a sealed bottle. This is the champagne method, and all Champagne is made this way. Another method is to start in the bottle, but then to transfer all the wine to a tank and filter out the sediment. This is known as the transfer method.

Spice / Spicy

A wine tasting term. Use carefully. Gewurztraminer (which means "spicy traminer") is the only grape that you should use the unqualified term "spice" for (in reference to its aroma). For every other type of wine, it is important to specify what kind of spice you mean (after all there are many spices).


The name for a quarter bottle of wine, especially Champagne.


One of the great red wine grapes. At home in the Rhone valley of France, it has made its way to Australia where it is known as Shiraz as well as California where it is still known as Syrah.

The above Information was written by Stephen Reiss

Since 1984 Stephen Reiss has been teaching and learning about wine, on what eventually would become the Internet. Consider this a resource. Please visit his wine education site for new insights it may have to offer. If you are so moved, share your comments with Stephen, and invite your friends to visit as well. Click on the photo to the right and check out his wonderful Wine Blog!

We thank Stephen for his generosity in posting such valuable information on wine, we look forward to supporting him and his goals. Please do stop by his site!

Wine Terms E - M


A wine tasting term. It means just what it sounds like, a slight taste of soil. The French use a term "gout de terroir" that is often used to mean the same thing; although it can also mean that the wine has typical tastes for the region.

Edna Valley

An American Viticultural Area south of San Luis Obispo in California (an area broadly referred to as the Central Coast). One of the few transverse valleys in the US (meaning it points to the sea).

Enology - also Oenology

The science of wine production. Enophile - also Oenophile A wine lover.

Estate Bottled - Estate Bottling

Wine that was bottled by the vineyard owner. Many wines are still bottled and produced from grapes that are purchased on the open market, often for the lowest price.

Extra Dry

A sparkling wine that is slightly sweet. This term often leads to confusion since Dry means without sweetness, but Extra Dry for some reason means slightly sweet.


A wine tasting term for a wine that has lost all or much of its flavor and aromas over time.


In the US this term often infers that the wine is lacking in acidity. In other parts of the world the term fat is used to indicate a full, well balanced wine, and is a compliment.


The process that turns grapes into wine. Specifically the metabolization of the sugars by the yeast, into alcohol, carbon dioxide and heat.


The final flavors you taste in the wine. often confused with "aftertaste." I distinguish the finish as being the taste you notice just as you swallow or spit a wine, as opposed to the aftertaste which are those flavors you notice after you swallow the wine, and which linger in your mouth for some time.


Most wine is intended to be enjoyed young. When this young wine has ample acidity in the balance, it is often referred to as fresh.


Wine basically has three components. Fruit, acidity and tannin. All three must be in balance to make a decent wine. The fruit encompasses all the tastes and smells that that are not sour (acid) or bitter (tannin).


Some young wines have an aroma that can only be described as fruity. Beaujolais is one of the best known examples.

Garnacha (gahr-nah'-shah)

The Spanish name for the grape referred to in France as Grenache. Very popular in Spain, it is the grape responsible for Sapin's best known red wine, Rioja.


A wine tasting term for wines made from under ripe grapes. The wine will have the smell of vegetation and be highly acidic.

Grenache (greh-nah'sh)

A red wine grape of the Rhone Valley of France, and elsewhere (especially Spain). In the southern Rhone Grenache replaces Syrah as the most important grape (Syrah being more important in the north).


In wine tasting terms this relates to a wine that is tannic, particularly one that is so tannic that it is out of balance. This is a function of youth for some wines, and these wines will "soften" with age.


A hard wine with excessive acidity will be "harsh". The acid accentuates the tannins and increases the drying sensation known as astringency.


Used in wine tasting to imply that the wine is out of balance towards the tannins. This type of wine is more than just "hard" it is tannic to a fault, and may not soften enough with age to be enjoyable.


A green, vegetable smell in wine. For example, Sauvignon Blanc is grassy when subtle, herbaceous when overpowering. It is not considered a positive attribute when it is more than subtle.


The burning sensation of excessive or out of balance alcohol in wine. Usually found in the nose, rather than the taste.

Ice Wine

This is an intense desert wine that has been made from very ripe grapes (without Botrytis) that were frozen on the vine. The frozen water is removed during pressing, leaving a very sweet must. In German it is known as "eiswein."


A lightly sparkling wine, made from the grape of the same name. It is from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Produced both in a dry or slightly sweet style, it is best know in the US as the brand Riunite (which is one of the sweetest examples made).

Late Bottled Vintage Port

A style of Port created originally for restaurants. Since Vintage Port throws a great deal of sediment, it can be difficult for a restaurant to deal with. The solution was to age the Vintage Port first in barrels, between four to six years.

Late Harvest

By harvesting later, the grapes are riper, and sweeter. This is appropriate for making sweet, dessert style wines. Some Late Harvest wines are almost dry, opting for increased alcohol and intensity rather than sweetness, as in the Alsatian "vendange tardive" (French for late harvest).


The opposite of heavy. A wine without much tannin in the balance. The wine may still be complex, and full of flavor. Such wines are often enjoyable young, but rarely age.


A sweet, flavored, alcohol based drink. Used in the world of wine to mean something completely different. In the champagne method of making sparking wines "liqueur de tirage" is the mix of sugar solution and yeast added to the wine, to create the secondary fermentation, which will in turn produce bubbles.


A Portugese island in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Morocco. The fortified wines from this region are unique in that they are purposefully baked and oxidized, prior to bottling. In times gone by this was accomplished by shipping the wines on a sailing vessel, the longer the journey the better, although today modern techniques favor specially designed heating tanks. Madeira is almost certainly the longest lived of all wines.


A large wine bottle, which holds the same as two normal bottles. The larger the bottle, the slower the wine ages. A magnum is the perfect size for aging great red wines, as it ages the wine slowly, but not too slowly.


Often relegated to the kitchen, this is the best known fortified wine of Sicily, Italy. While still popular as a cooking ingredient, it has not kept up with current taste for fortified wines.


One of the best known red wine grapes. Often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon. In the Haut-Medoc region of Bordeaux, France, it is second to Cabernet Sauvignon; but, across the river in Saint-Emilion and Pomerol it is the primary grape. It ages somewhat more quickly than Cabernet Sauvignon, because it is lighter in tannins.

The above Information was written by Stephen Reiss

Since 1984 Stephen Reiss has been teaching and learning about wine, on what eventually would become the Internet. Consider this a resource. Please visit his wine education site for new insights it may have to offer. If you are so moved, share your comments with Stephen, and invite your friends to visit as well. Click on the photo to the right and check out his wonderful Wine Blog!

We thank Stephen for his generosity in posting such valuable information on wine, we look forward to supporting him and his goals. Please do stop by his site!