Red Wine Combats Lung Cancer

Do you smoke? Do you drink wine? Do you smoke and drink wine? Me neither. But if you know someone who does, (heaven forbid), you can help them fortify their shriveled blackened lungs by informing them of the findings published today in the U.K. medical publication Thorax. The journal notes that red wine drinkers reduce their chance of lung cancer by 13% over non drinkers. Of interest is the seeming negative effects that white wine had and the non existant effect of our pink friend Rose. Looks like those grape skins and pips are key ingredients in a healthy wine pyramid. But, as everyone knows, the best way to avoid lung cancer is to not smoke, and to not work in a refinery, and to avoid McDonalds “Royal with Cheese”, and to stay away from snifing petrol at the pump. (But it smells so good!)

Read [dailymail.co.uk]

Goosecross Releases A Podcast


In a sign of change, Gossecross Cellars in Napa Valley has decided to enter the podcasting game. Using the name “Napa Valley Wine Radio”, the winery aims to give an insider’s look into the Napa Valley wine industry from a locals prospective. As with Wine Bloggers who continue to spring up, Podcasters dedicated to wine look like they’re here to stay and will have increasing competition. Check out the podcast. (If adding it to itunes, click on advanced > subscribe to podcast > then add this URL > http://www.goosecross.com/podcast/podcast.xml > hit O.K.)
I wonder how Centenial Wines Podcast from Texas is coming along? Will other wineries follow suit?

Cline Going Green

With a little money (o.k. a lot of money) and some vision for the future, your winery can break free from it’s electric bill. Cline Cellars Carneros facility is now being operating off of it’s 2000 solar panels on it’s 50,000 square foot buildings roof, bill free. On those heavy days in the summer perhaps they’ll put energy back into the grid. At any rate, this is a nice step in the right direction for wineries, what with complaints of pollution, pesticide use, and other non-eco friendly practices.Read [EBR.com]

Planting Shrubs Together

Twenty wine producers from Saumur-Champigny, the “Heartland of variable Chenin-based sparkling and still wine” in the Loire Region of France, are coming together to plant a large area of their land with hedges and native plants to encourage the move in of beneficial insects. This is a great effort and step in the right direction for many of the producers in the area who don’t already employ biodynamic farming on their land.

The hedges will connect existing wooded areas, giving the bugs a highway right into the heart of the vines. The insects are then expected to act as a natural pesticide, improve the health of the grape crop, and reduce the need for chemical treatments.

These days, at more stores than ever, it seems that organic and biodynamic produce is garnering a larger portion of the market. Given the apparent health benefits that these changes make, can you blame wine makers for following suit? Do you purchase biodynamically farmed or organic wines?

Read [Wine International]

Massachusetts wine shipping legislation still in the works

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is standing up for consumers in his state by Vetoing a bill that was still biased for local wholesalers. The bill wouldn’t allow shipping from wineries that produce more than 30,000 cases of wine direct to consumers if they had representation by local wholesalers within the past 6 months. The governor has called this anti-consumer and stated:

“This bill does not give wine lovers the opportunity to purchase the bottlings they want. It creates artificial barriers to protect Massachusetts wholesalers at the expense of a free market.”

Good on ya’ Guvna!

Read [ZDnet.com]

Matching flavors in food and wine

At Joseph Phelps Winery in Napa Valley, there is a wonderful tasting program. A group of about 15 or so gather around a large table in a glass room for a fee of about $20. Each participant is presented with 5 wines, a sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Red Blend, and a Young Cabernet Sauvignon. Also laid in front of each person is 5 small plastic cups, filled with sour water, sugar water, salt water, grape tannin, and oak tannin. The tasting begins with the whites, tasting each individually, then with the ingredients from the plastic cups, one at a time. Take a sip from the sour water, spit into the spittoon provided, taste the wine, spit if you choose, then pen your observations. Sauvignon Blanc was enhanced by the sour water, chardonnay was enhanced by nothing, in fact, everything takes away from the flavor of the chardonnay. Moving on to the reds, you find that the best response to the young tannic Cabernet Sauvignon is the salt water. The Merlot was pretty much ready to go on it’s own, as was the Red Blend, as the sour and sweet water took away from their flavor. (At the end of the tasting, the winery generously poured each person a glass of the insignia, which is great on it’s own.)

So what do we learn from this tasting experience? These flavors are the primary ones in the food we eat and learning how wine reacts to these compounds help us understand how to pair them. That lemon chicken pasta would be great with a Sauvignon Blanc. That beautiful New York steak welcomes another pinch of salt if paired with a young cabernet. Keep that Blue Cheese away from your Chardonnay, in fact, keep most things away from Chardonnay.

This is a great way to learn about wine and food, and it’s easy to do at home yourself. A couple lemons, some salt, sugar, (and I’m not sure what to do for the tannins, green tea maybe??)… a couple friends and bottles of wine, and go to it. You’ll learn a lot and be amazed at how the flavors in your wine changes. Robert Mondavi also launched a website dedicated to discovering wine with friends by throwing these tasting parties. The site provides a lot of details on how to do it, visit www.discoverwine.com

That said, here are some pairing suggestions for you this week. Bon Appetite.

The Chronicle’s Blake Grey breaks down some flavors for you, and suggests quite a few options.
Read [SFgate.com]

Ted Allen, from T.V.’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, talks with Bon Appetite magazine and suggests some wines from around the world.
Read[Epicurious.com]

Staglin winery host to superstar wedding

Being the classy girl that she is, Christina Aguilera decided that a Napa Valley Winery – Staglin Family Vineyard, should play host for her wedding day. She must have taken a hint from Lindsay Lohan who is very familiar with Staglin after shooting the parent trap there in the late 90′s. 130 guests including Sharon Stone were present at Christina’s dirty vineyard event.

The couple arrived in Napa Valley on Wednesday to kick off wedding festivities. On Thursday, a welcome reception was held at a private and elegant Tuscan-style farmhouse in the middle of Napa. Upon arrival, guests were greeted with a weekend itinerary and gift baskets that the bride had especially prepared for them, reports OK! magazine.

At the rehearsal dinner on Friday night, guests filled a Japanese-inspired teahouse inside the Auberge Du Soleil resort, complete with sushi chefs and geisha girls flowin in from Los Angeles, according to OK!.

The Saturday evening wedding was held in a private vineyard, lent to the couple by family friends.

Must be nice.

Read [Access Hollywood]

Find a winery with Google Maps

Winerybound.com aims to make it easy to find the wineries you want to visit by integrating Google maps. Google released it’s API, or code if you will, for it’s map service so people could integrate it onto their site. A few mixes that I like: www.housingmaps.com (uses craigslist housing listings for rentals and for sale homes), Risk- The old board game of Risk, and Weather Maps- Weather info across the US.
It was only a matter of time before a database of wineries was integrated, and Winerybound seems to have done a nice job.

Check it out [winerybound.com]

Dream Taste, Removing Cork Taint From Wine

How did I miss this? Manufactured by Tasting International [Website], this is yet another solution to cork taint. The product is a copolymer that can naturally absorb the TCA in wine, and comes in the cute shape of a cluster of grapes. Simply drop it into the included decanter, pour your wet cardboard smelling wine in, stir periodically, and check every 20 minutes until the taint is gone. Pour the wine back in the rinsed wine bottle, and you’re good to go.

Oh, and it made Time magazine’s best inventions of 2005. I guess that’s a stamp of approval.

Metal in wine contributes to color

An interesting article on Decanter this morning describing the effects of trace amounts of iron, copper, and various other metals found naturally in grapes. Different levels of these metals can change the color of wine. The research was done ‘using Tempranillo samples grown by the vinicultural department at the University of Navarra in northern Spain’. The research by the scientists could prove to be useful in predicting the quality of a wine, before it’s even off the vine.

The team worked out a mathematical formula to allow growers and producers to quantify and predict colour and shading precisely. This could be used as an objective index of quality.

Read [Decanter.com]