Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Which Is Better? Corks vs. Screw Tops

Image courtesy of Michal Marcol /
Wine corks are harvested from the cork tree which is found in Spain and Portugal.  The naturally occurring material almost fell away, because of the neglectful ways the cork forests were treated.  Today, however, due to reforestation plans put in place by the Portuguese government, more than enough corks can be produced to fill the many, many bottles of wine created each year.  However, another item is threatening the natural cork.  That item is called the screw top.

Image courtesy of  Simon Howden /
Screw tops have a reputation for concealing terrible, horrible, no-good wine.  I will say that Eric and I still profess to being a little embarrassed when we bring a screw top wine as a hostess gift.  We usually predicate the wine giving with, "You know we are fancy because that there wine doesn't need no fancy corkscrew to open it."  That said, a lot of higher echelon wines are beginning to embrace the screw top. 

Traditionalists claim that the "pop" of uncorking a bottle with a natural cork means something special to the wine drinking experience.  Further, cork has special properties which allows the cork to be compressed into the bottle and easily removed.  The downside of using natural cork is TCA.  The scientific term for TCA is 2,4,6-tricholoranisole.  A very long term which means the process of using natural cork has created an unpleasant and musty aroma for wine.  Some estimates place the problems with using natural cork as high as ruining as many as 1 in 20 bottles of wine. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Eric's Wine Ratings and Reviews Methodology - Plus or Minus?

Image courtesy of njaj/
According to Wine Enthusiast Magazine, there are specific ways to taste wine. They involve complex concepts and terminology which may be unfamiliar and confusing to the ears and pallets of the wine novice.  So you can read their long article with a mouse Click Here. Or, you can keep reading below and see Eric's Wine Ratings and Reviews Methodology and understand what you are tasting for in a few easy steps.

Before my wife and I became self-proclaimed wine snobs, we spent many nights at wine tastings, bought several bottles, and read about wine a lot.  During that time, we simply enjoyed wines mostly. We either liked it, or we did not.  There was no rhyme or reason, just taste.

Although our wine tasting style was reckless in some eyes, we did slowly begin to understand that we preferred red wines over whites most of the times.  We even began to understand what varietals (grape types) we liked more.  Soon, we started to notice we liked red wines from certain growing areas.  For example, we know we now prefer Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State.  We also love Carmenere Wines of Chile.  How did we figure this out?  Keep reading.

Often times, after a wine tasting, or a week after drinking what we bought at the tasting, we would forget if we liked a wine or not.  We simply did not keep track of what wines we liked.  We also did not take the time to really think about what exactly we liked about a wine or not.