Thursday, October 11, 2007

Exploring Wines: Part 1

I thought I'd share one of my favorite passions and hobbies with you: "Collecting and Consuming Wine". I want to start off by saying quite clearly that I am NOT a wine snob. I happen to enjoy good wines, particularly when paired with a good meal. This was a hobby I picked up a number of years ago during a visit to Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley in Northern California. There are so many wonderful wineries across the United States, including Washington, Oregon and Virginia.
I enjoy visiting wineries and doing the wine tasting to learn more about the many varieties of wines that are crafted. The one thing I have learned about wine is: DRINK WHAT YOU LIKE. Don't get caught up by any supposed rules on what with fish or meat. There are certainly some wines that taste better with certain types of food, but what matters most is whether or not you enjoy the taste and sensation when the wine hits your tongue.
The Process of Making Wine
One of the best ways to learn about how wines are made is to visit a winery. The process is very similar for most wines (although red varies from white) but the art, or craft is in what The Winemaker does. In North America, harvest season is typically between September and October, depending on the weather of the summer season. If you visit a winery at harvest season you can watch the grapes being picked, crushed, fermented in tanks,filtered and eventually barrelled and set in storage. Some wineries have caves, which are under the Earth below the surface or set into a hillside. The caves provide an idea temperature and moisture level for wine to age.
Above left: Barrels of wine, aging in oak barrels & above right: wine caves (obviously ready for visitors) but the look is accurate.
Storing Wine at Home
Collecting wine can be lots of fun, but depending on where you live, you may need a place to store the wine so it won't spoil. We have a wine cellar at home in Palm Springs where we can store a large number of bottles.
Above: My dream wine cellar; I like to collect lots of wine and buy cases when we visit Sonoma and Napa.
Above left: wine should always be stored laying down flat. Here is a drawer of wine from my collection, mostly reds!
In part two tomorrow I will share tips on how to "test wine" and also share a few favorite bottles of wine from my wine cellar. Hope you can stop by again tomorrow!
-Rick Rockhill

9 comments:

Canadian flake said...

wowzers..look at all those bottles..

I have never been able to aquire a taste for wine...but I am the first to admit I have never tried anything but cheap wine...

could that be the problem? LOL

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i like red too!

smiles, bee

karma lennon said...

Mmmmm....wine....

Steven said...

Holy cow! What a collection you have! You probably have to replenish the cellar about, what, every two months? ;-)

Thanks for the tidbit on the winemaking. A question from someone who's not a wine drinker, do you have a recommendation on a good merlot?

Biddie said...

I am not a big wine drinker, either. I will have a spritzer now and again, though.
Why do you store wine laying down flat?

Mags said...

I have not yet had the pleasure of going to a winery but hope to very soon. I love wine, and I'm glad that you have the same theory as I do: Drink what you like!

Mmmm...perhaps a little Rioja tonight for me. ;)

Kerry and Rachel said...

Oh! We love red wine, too. We can't wait to read your recommendations!

marlupe said...

oooooo I love wine. this is a very good post rick.

CRUSTYBEEF said...

I'm really thirsty now..I want a wine cooler one of those built in refrige size kinds...
how amazingly Drunk I'd be if my wish could come true. :)
lmao.
Always,
Crusty~

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