Fine Living: Share Some Wine With Your Valentine

Written by Rebecca Wulff in the February 2010 Issue
Wine and romance seem to go hand in hand and one of the most iconic symbols for Valentine’s Day is sharing a bottle of fine wine with your loved one by candlelight. Whether you’re spending the day quietly at home or celebrating by dining out, everyone can benefit from expanding their knowledge of wine or trying something new.

Two locals in the wine industry have offered to share their wisdom on the unique world of wine. As a member of the Wine Century Club, Kenny Baldridge has tried over 100 different wine grape varieties. “I love how deeply you can involve yourself in the history and geography of all the different wine cultures of the world,” he says. “The wine world is incredibly diverse and rich with history. You can really geek out on all the grapes and regions.”

“Don’t confine yourself to one type of wine. Wine is subjective and deeply personal. The best bottle of wine is the one you enjoy,” said Baldridge. “If you have a good relationship with your favorite wine shop, then they can help you on your path to wine enlightenment.”

Baldridge, who owns Coffee Creek Wine Shop, advises trying a little of everything and all different grape varieties; reds, whites, sparkling and ports. “First, find a store with friendly and helpful staff that likes wine and is willing to spend time with you. Then, be open to the experience and have fun.”

“Wine is like food,” said Baldridge. “If you like steak, you will probably like red wine. If you tend to eat lighter foods, you may like lighter styles of wine. If you have a sweet tooth, there are plenty of sweet wines to choose from.”
If you’re looking to try something different this Valentine’s Day, Baldridge recommends a new wine named Gala 1 from Luigi Bosca, a winery in Argentina. It’s a blend of Malbec with Petit Verdot and Tannat with aromas of plums, figs and sweet vanilla.

“We tend to think of South America as a great place to find ‘cheap’ wine, but an exciting discovery for me has been how incredible the wine is at the reserve level,” says Baldridge. “Your dollars really go a long way there, even when you’re buying a more expensive bottle of wine.”

Baldridge’s personal favorite wine is the 2007 Sea Smoke Southing Pinot Noir. “It’s only available in restaurants, I had this at Boulevard Steak House and it’s incredible,” he says. “It’s a world class wine that you can experience for less than 100 dollars at a restaurant - which is a pretty incredible feat. It is rich and elegant at the same time.”

Todd Hall owns Vintner’s Cellar Custom Winery and has been a vintage wine maker for nearly 12 years. He agrees with Baldridge as a fellow fan of South American wines and has recently been enjoying Chilean wines.

If you’re interested in making your own wine, Vinter’s can help you create a unique blend of your own. At the end of this eight to nine week process, you’ll receive corks and custom labels. “We take care of everything for you,” says Hall. “You can even come in to see the different processes.” Hall creates custom wine using imported grape juices from California, Oregon, Washington, Italy, France, Australia and New Zealand.

If you would like to keep a few of your favorite wine bottles on hand, Hall says storage temperatures depend on the type of wine. “The biggest enemy of wine is heat. If you have a wine cellar you should keep it at around 50 degrees,” he says. “Red wine can be stored at room temperature or slightly chilled, about 62 to 71 degrees. White wines are served at 45 to 50 degrees.”

Have fun expanding your wine horizons. Get your friends involved by hosting a wine tasting party at home and ask each of your guests to bring their favorite bottle. Make this Valentine’s Day magical by cuddling up with a romantic movie and share a bottle of merlot, or rent a horse drawn carriage and toast to your love with a bottle of cabernet. There are an abundant amount of avenues you can take to discover wine.

Whether you opt for local wine shops, wineries, online information or wine clubs - you can find the perfect wine outlet for your tastes and palate preferences. Step out of your comfort zone and try a little bit of everything.

Stop in for a wine tasting anytime at Vintner’s Cellar Custom Winery located at 1389 East 15th. Or, pick up a new bottle of wine at Coffee Creek Wine Shop at 775 W. Covell.


The Five “S’s” of Evaluating Wine


It may look complicated, but wine tasting is all about the senses.

See
- the wine color can give you a clue to the age of the wine. White wine will gain color, while red will lose color and turn slightly brown around the rim.

Swirl - when you swirl you’re aerating the wine which releases its aromas and flavors. Notice the “legs,” observe how long the wine hangs to the side of the glass when you swirl. This determines richness and body. The longer it takes to come down, the more full bodied it is.

Smell - directly over the rim of the glass for the aroma and bouquet. Does it remind you of a flower scent, cherry or melon? All of that is preparing you for the taste. If you smell something, write it down. That’s what your brain is sensing.

Sip - and let the wine spread across your tongue, side to side before you swallow. Notice how silky it feels in your mouth. The first thing you’ll notice is the sweetness and dryness in the wine. Different parts of your tongue will experience different sensations. Young drinkers gravitate toward sweet wines at first. It’s like coffee drinkers who work into bolder and heavier beans.

Savor - during a wine tasting, swallow just a small amount to note a lingering finish. If you’re tasting a lot of wines it’s acceptable to swallow a small amount to taste the finish and then spit the rest back into the glass. There’s no rhyme or reason to how much you’re supposed to taste.

Information provided by Todd Hall, proprietor and vintner at Vintners Cellar Custom Winery
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