How to buy a bottle of wine as a gift

How to buy a bottle of wine as a gift

Giving the right wine as a holiday gift can be the most thoughtful of all gifts. If you do it right, it takes knowledge, research, and care to pick the right bottle. Not only that, giving the gift of wine ensures not only happiness when exchanging gifts, but joy when it is consumed. Wine is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

The Press - Carboy November News And Events

The Press - Carboy November News And Events

November has come and the Winery staff is getting done with the mad rush of fermentation and pressing, getting ready for the long winter of resting (for the wine that is), and celebrating the holidays. We're thrilled about our work on - and releases of - some really exciting new wines, including our just released 2016 Russian River Pinot Noir. We're also prepping our facilities for Holiday parties and getting ready for our next Club Carboy pick up party. There truly is no rest for the wicked. 

Read all the news and, as always, stay tuned to our Facebook and Instagram pages for instant winey gratification and make plans to stop by soon for a tasting.

How to pair wine with cheese

How to pair wine with cheese

By Greg Masinton - Wine Consultant and Club Carboy Manager

Like Laverne and Shirley, wine and cheese just seem right together, so much so that it’s hard to mention one without the other. The history of this gastronomic dynamic duo is a bit milky (pun intended) but is generally traced back to European days of old. People back then had a custom of buying cheap bottles of wine and huge blocks of cheese because they knew, after hundreds of years of trial and error, that cheese somehow made wine taste better. The cheaper the wine, the more cheese. Why? Didn’t matter.

Later, we learned the secret was in the tannin. Less expensive wines - and some great wines that haven’t quite developed yet - are often marked by having strong and bitter tannins. This doesn't make them bad. On the contrary, tannic characteristics are some of the most intriguing elements of wine. Regardless of the quality of the wine, the more bitter the tannins, the more milk fat and protein needed to effectively mask that bitterness. Thus, the combination of wine and cheese as lifelong pals was created.

The best way to demonstrate the beauty of wine and cheese is to go to your local urban winery and enjoy some wine with a specially curated cheese board and take notes. Or, for you folks not interested in leaving the house, you can invite some friends over and throw a tasting.

Now, most people do this all backwards. They read about mixing cheeses from cows, sheep and goats and adding a selection that ranges from soft to hard, new world to old and fresh to aged. Then they go get the wine. We in the wine business tend to prefer starting with the wine and adding the cheese selection later. The pairing results might be the same (and probably should be), but choosing the cheeses based on the wines allows for a better exploration of the specific qualities of latter.

With that in mind, here are some tips and pairings that might be useful in planning your sampling soirée.

Pairing Examples

White Wines - Cheese
Champagne, Prosecco or Sparkling - Camembert
Sauvignon Blanc - Gruyère
Pinot Blanc - Taleggio
Riesling - Bleu Cheese
Chardonnay - Triple Cream Brie

Red Wines - Cheese
Beaujolais or Valpolicella - Pecorino Toscano
Sangiovese - Parmigiano-Reggiano
Merlot - Smoked Gouda
Bordeaux or Cabernet - Aged Cheddar
Port - Gorgonzola

Pairing Basics

  • White wines tend to pair better with cheeses, but light to medium bodied reds work just as well.

  • Choose 4-6 different wines and accompanying cheeses and plan a display that ranges from light and fresh to sharper, bolder and deeper to lessen the impact on your guest’s palates.

  • Go with contrasting flavors. Sweet cheeses compliment more acidic wines. Full-bodied and lush wines pair better with double and triple cream options.

  • Serve the wines at proper cellar temperature; 45 degrees for white and 60 degrees for red. Also, take the cheeses out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving to come to temperature.

  • Lastly, always allow time for discussion. Try the wine first. Then, take a bite of cheese. Reflect on bitterness, sweetness, acidity, complexity. Repeat. Are there changes? Talk. Share.

Wine and cheese can be special, but if paired incorrectly, the combination can leave you wondering what all the hubbub was about. So, take care, plan accordingly, and choose the right combinaton. Or, again, you can always just head down to your local winery and let the professionals do what they do.
 

How to save money on wine without sacrificing quality

How to save money on wine without sacrificing quality

By Greg Masinton
Wine Consultant and Club Carboy Manager

Remember that time when your friend brought over that $500 bottle of Chateau Margaux to share? Yeah, me neither. See, I only have two types of friends - the ones that drink moderately priced, good quality wines, and the imaginary ones.

In our circle of friends, sharing a bottle of wine is what makes life worth living, but money makes the world go around. And money doesn’t exactly grow on vines, if you know what I mean. We have to seek out the best wines for the best price so we can sip and share without stressing about making rent.

If drinking wine is key, but cutting your budget is critical, you simply have two choices - drink less, or spend less. Let’s be serious. Drinking less - especially during this political climate - is just not an option. So, you’re going to have to spend less.

Happily, we’re here to give you a few tips on how to save money on your wine without sacrificing quality. Here are few tips for scanning the wine menu at the local urban winery or perusing the racks at your favorite wine shop.

Let’s start with the basics. Some regions simply make great wine at reasonable prices. You’ll still have to deal with some trial and error, but once you find that great wine at a great price, you’ll be greatly rewarded.

If you’re a white wine lover:

  • New Zealand makes incredibly crisp, acidic, and fruity Sauvignon Blancs at low prices.

  • Vinho Verde from Portugal is light and refreshing, and at only around $7-$10, it is easy on the bank account.

For the reds:

  • Argentina produces powerful low and moderately priced Malbec that can fit any situation. I don’t think I’ve had a bad one.

  • Spain, one of the largest wine producers in the world, produces incredible, less expensive Riojas and wines from the Monastrell grape in the southern region of Jumilla which are fabulous and quite cost effective.

Let’s go national.

You love French wines, but can’t afford the big boys in Bordeaux or Burgundy. Head south to  the Cotes du Rhone for lovely blends, seek out a Beaujolais Nouveau if you have the taste for trends and young wines, or explore the Languedoc Roussillon for full body Syrah and Grenache wines that are a fraction of the price.

In Italy, Nebbiolo from Piedmont and Sangiovese from Tuscany reign supreme, for quality as well as cost. But since we are discussing budget friendly options, nothing can beat a Primitivo from Puglia or a quality Nero d'Avola from Sicily. These rich wines go great with pizza and pasta, and won’t set you back financially like a $100 Barolo can.

How about our friends from California? Napa and Sonoma wines are world class, but can punch a hole in the budget. Time to seek other options.

Head to Paso Robles and other areas on the Central Coast of California for more affordable options. Better yet, check out what they are doing in Washington state or way down south in Chile. An award winning Cabernet from Chile can be had for less than half of those in California.

Being a budget conscious wine shopper can be a rough go. Just don’t go too inexpensive. Think real hard before you buy that cheaper, mass produced wine in the 1.5L bottle. The quality is usually quite low and, once opened, the wine only lasts a couple days before going bad. So, unless you plan on drinking it all in one sitting, keep moving down the aisle.  

If saving money is more than critical, this might be a good time to try some of the up and coming box wine alternatives or local urban wineries that serve wine on tap. Most box-wine producers are larger vineyards and winery operations and, believe it or not, quality is improving and the sealed bags keep the wine fresh for a couple weeks after opening. Just be careful. It’s really easy to pop a box for a glass and find yourself, a couple hours later, having gone through the equivalent of a couple bottles. The best options out there are select wines from Bandit Wines, French Rabbit, Black Box, and Bota Box. Just remember, just like choosing wine from a bottle, pay attention to the grape, the region, and the vintage.

Enjoying wine doesn’t have to mean going broke. Remember, wine is a grocery, not a luxury. You can get great wines for great prices if you simply learn what to look for.

Salut.

Wine Terms For Every Wine Lover

Wine Terms For Every Wine Lover

For whatever level you are now or want to be, we present you with this somewhat comprehensive list of somewhat snobby wine terms, broken down into plainer English - a glossary for the every-wine drinker, if you will - reduced to what you need to know, what you probably should know, and what terms will make you sound like a serious elitist (you know who you are...or want to be). Study hard.