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WINES - WINERIES

Wine Tasting - The Sense of Touch

Touch is an important category of taste sensation. This is where we try to feel the wine on the palate. Here we seek to find impressions of such things as texture, body, temperature, and astringency. The aftertaste, finish, and length of a wine are all things we feel on our palate. We are looking for how the wine feels in weight (light, medium, full) and texture (silky, coarse, velvety). Try to observe how long the sensations last in your mouth. Most will tell you the longer it lasts, the better the wine!

Locals - A Collective Tasting Room

Come visit us at Locals located at the gateway to Alexander Valley in the once sleepy hamlet of Geyserville. Locals is a collective tasting room featuring the wines of 6 local boutique wineries. Taste over 30 unique wines from talented and noted neighborhood winemakers. These are small-scale producers making premium quality and hard to find award-winning wines.

While sampling these unique selections, discover the works of area black and white photographers, listen to music from local Sonoma Country musicians and be intrigued by Locals whimsical collection of art moderne wine accessories. It all combines to create an eclectic and tasty environment.

www.tastelocalwines.com
707.857.4900
yummy@tastelocalwines.com

Chateau Julien Wine Estate

Chateau Julien Wine EstateHave you ever sat amongst nearly 2000 aging oak barrels of wine, with ambiance lighting, an exquisite four-course meal paired with the winemaker's choice vintage wines from the owners' cellar? Witnessed Monterey County crush with the winemaking crew, followed by a family-style dinner in the cellar? Heard the beauty of a cappella performed privately in a Chai over the holidays? Chateau Julien Wine Estate rests amongst the Santa Lucia Mountains in beautiful Carmel Valley, California and offers a magnificent setting for eight different events throughout the year–such as the Fall Winemaker Dinner, Harvest Wine Seminar and Holiday Spectacular. You may view a complete list of Chateau Julien Events on our web site!

Family owned and operated since 1982, Chateau Julien Wine Estate produces Estate grown wines from the soils of Monterey County. Through daily wine tasting, estate tours and a selection of unique events, the winery continually shares its passion for wine and hospitality. For more information on the Estate, please visit us at www.chateaujulien.com or contact us at info@chateaujulien.com

Win a Fabulous Dinner for Two Aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train!

Win a Fabulous Dinner for Two Aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train!Enter to win dinner for two on us during your next Wine Country visit. Simply click here and you could win dinner for two at one of our favorite places, an exclusive Wine County treat!

This drawing is for two tickets aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train! Enjoy a five-course gourmet dinner, compliments of WineCountry.com! Open year-round, the magnificent Napa Valley Wine Train is an attraction you surely won't want to miss during your visit to the Wine Country! Treat a friend or loved one world class wines, freshly prepared fine dining, and relaxed elegance!

Dinner in the Wine Country is the perfect ending to a perfect day Bon Appétit!

Chardonnay & Oak Aging

This dry white wine, made from the Chardonnay grape, is the most popular of its variety. Chardonnay ranges in style, with some oakier versions contributing to taste. The purpose of Chardonnay aged in oak is to add some of the oaks characters, along with helping the wine develop its texture. Winemakers may lightly toast the inner surface of barrels, allowing the smoky oak or toasty characters to be detected in the final product. Oak gives the taste a dimension of spiciness and adds a hint of vanilla or coconut to the grapes aroma. The oak and Chardonnay combination is a favorite that is sure to last!


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Storing, Serving, and Preserving Wine

Storing Wine
You don't need a fancy wine cellar to store wine. The basic requirements are a cool, dry, dark space (closet, crawl space, compartment under a stairway, or portion of a garage or basement) that’s shielded from direct sunlight and vibration and maintains a steady temperature (55 to 65 degrees Farenheit is ideal). Wine Storage

If you plan on becoming a serious wine collector, including wines requiring long-term aging, you may want to invest in a fully outfitted wine cellar. A variety of companies offer the building blocks of cellars, such as wine racks, refrigeration units, humidifiers, etc.

Serving Temperatures
As a rule, white and sparkling wines are best served well-chilled (40 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit), with sparkling wines and lighter whites at the lower range of the scale and fuller-bodied, richer whites, such as Chardonnay, at the upper range. An hour in the refrigerator, a half-hour in the freezer, or fifteen minutes in a ice bucket with water and ice, does the trick. Avoid over-chilling, especially with high-quality whites, because it will blunt the complexity of the wine's aromas and flavors. (Conversely, cheap whites are best-served well-chilled.

Red wines should be served at cool room temperature (55 to 65 F.), with lighter, fruitier reds (e.g., Beaujolais and Pinot Noir), at the lower range and fuller-bodied varieties ( e.g., Cabernet, Zinfandel and Syrah, at the upper range.

Certain conditions may dictate exceptions to these rules. On a hot days, for example, it's a good idea to slightly chill a full-bodied red to mitigate its alcoholic "heat," which is more evident when the ambient temperature is high. Conversely, it may be advisable to serve an especially rich white wine at close to room temperature to ensure its complex aromas and flavors can be fully appreciated.

Extracting the Cork
Stoppers formed from the spongy bark of the cork oak tree have been used to seal wine containers for over 2,000 years. Since the 17th century, when glass bottles originated, they have been the vintner's preferred method for protecting wine from air. Today, although there are effective and inexpensive alternatives to cork -- such as metal screwcaps, which require no implement to open -- wine consumers are still attached to the romance and tradition of the cork stopper. Cork Extracting

There are many different kinds of corkscrews, ranging from simple screw devices that require the user to do all the physical work of extraction to high-tech models that, to some degree, replace human exertion with mechanical function.

Popular, inexpensive models include the waiter's corkscrew, so-called because it’s the favorite of waiters around the world. It consists of a plated metal handle about 4" in length with a slender, fold-out screw in the middle and a small knife to cut the cork’s plastic or tin capsule. At one end of the handle is a 2" fold-out attachment that serves as a fulcrum for the extraction of the cork. After inserting the screw into the middle of the cork, place the recessed end of this piece firmly against the lip of the neck of the bottle. Then, using the attachment as a support to put counter-pressure on the bottle neck, pull up to remove the cork. After removing the cork, wipe the lip of the bottle with a damp cloth.

There are other inexpensive corkscrews, but most have one or more weaknesses. For example, some wine cork pullers have overly large screws that tend to shred the cork, while others, like the two-pronged versions, can push loose corks down into the bottle.

If you prefer a more modern, mechanical device, the best choice is probably one of the many models of the Screwpull -- devices with supports that brace themselves against the bottle while the cork comes out with a twist.

Glassware
You can consume wine out of any glass, cup, or tumbler -- or a mug, for that matter. But there are reasons why wine glasses are preferred: the design of the glass helps you see, smell, and taste the wine best.

Wine glasses vary in size, shape and design, but good ones will be clear and unadorned (so you can view the color and clarity of the wine), not too thick (so the glass doesn't obstruct your contact with the wine), and with a stem long enough so you can hold the glass without handling the bowl (which raises the temperature of the liquid).
Most good wine glasses are tulip-shaped (they narrow toward the rim of the glass) to channel the aroma and flavor essences of the wine into the nerve receptors at the rear of your nasal cavity when you sniff the wine. As a rule, the bowls of red wine glasses are larger and wider than those for whites.Champagne Flutes

Most table wines are served in moderately-sized (8-10 oz.) glasses, while dessert wines fare better in smaller (6 oz.) glasses, and sparkling wines require a taller, more slender glass known as a champagne flute, which keeps the bubbles from dissipating. You can buy quality glasses in each of these basic categories for about $5 each.

For true connoisseurs willing to spend more, there are glasses specifically designed to highlight the attributes of different wine types. The most famous producer of such glassware is Georg Riedel, an Austrian whose collections of crystal stemware are favored by restaurateurs and professional wine tasters throughout the world.

Whatever glassware you choose, keep enough glasses on hand to accommodate dinner parties and other social occasions. When pouring, don't fill the glass more than half-full, so the taster can swirl the wine in the bowl to release its aromas, without spilling. Clean glasses by hand-washing them in lukewarm water with a small amount of soap. (Be sure to rinse well!) And don't leave glasses in a dish drainer - they'll wind up broken. Store clean glasses upright on a well ventilated shelf, or better yet, hang them upside down from a wooden glass rack.

Preserving Wine
Exposure to air causes wine to age. If you don't finish a bottle of wine, cork it up tightly to preserve what's left. The less wine left in the bottle, the more air, and the faster the wine will oxidize and lose its freshness.

Unfinished white wines, tightly corked and refrigerated, should maintain their character for up to four days, while reds will begin to degrade after 48 hours. (You can extend this slightly by refrigerating reds too, but then you have to warm them to room temperature before serving.)

There are various ways to extend the life of a wine after it’s opened, most of which involve purging the bottle of oxygen. Two inexpensive devices are the Vacu-Vin®, which pumps air from the bottle and seals it with a rubber gasket and Private Preserve®, a canister of nitrogen you spray into the bottle to displace the oxygen. Both will add a few days to the wine’s life.

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