Spit Happens # 62- Holiday gifts for wine lovers

Every year we are inundated around this time for the latest and greatest wines and wine accessories for wine lovers. So I’m thinking this post will be no exception but I’ll try to make it a bit more practical and less gimmicky. These are my top 3 recommendations for wine related goodies. 2 are reasonable stocking stuffers and 1 is a wee bit more spendy . Champagne stoppers are super useful but maybe not in the way you think. My experience has led me to believe that most users of these stoppers try to use them to preserve the bubbles over the course of a few days. While they preform reasonably well the highest use case is to keep the bubbles contained in the bottle in a single serving. When I use the stoppers I’ll reseal between each pour as I find leaving the bottle open will degrade the experience in as little as 15 minutes. So as soon as the cork comes out I’ll use the stopper and just have it off long enough to pour the glasses I need. You will enjoy the last glass just as much as the first. If by some miracle you do have some left at the end of the night all the bubble will be preserved for Mimosas the following day.

champagne stoppers

Pulltap corkscrews are my favorite corkscrew to use on a regular basis . I think the combination of good design, sturdy construction and a nice feel in the hand make this a great price quality ratio. The double lever design makes it especially useful for longer corks and it’s not so expensive that you will be sad if it disappears. Look back to Spit Happens archives for a funny/embarrassing story about me opening wine for the first time in a restaurant setting.

Coravin is the present you get for the friend who has all the little toys . This little beauty is designed to let you sample your wine sealed with natural cork without opening the bottle. You clamp the unit on the side of the bottle and push the Coravin needle through the cork. The cartridges pressurize the bottle with an inert gas. Hit the switch and wine comes out and the inert gas replaces it and preserves your wine. You can sample the wine in a non-destructive way over the course of a few weeks. Perfect for drinking your best wine over the course of a few weeks/days . One piece of advice is to make sure your wine is sealed with a cork not a glass stopper, don’t ask me how I know ……

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Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food.

Cheers

David Lancelot

 

Spit Happens #61 – Wines of New Mexico (sort of)

While I was in Albuquerque New Mexico in October 2019 I visited an interesting winery. It feels like New Mexico is on the verge of something but I can’t put my finger on it. Gruet in Santa Fe is a long established producer that makes good to excellent sparkling wines. St Clair in Deming has some decent red wines and great QPR whites but now a player named VARA is on the scene. I think they are on the right track but time will tell as they release their new wines. They make a fortified slightly sweet apertif product called Vina Cardinal made from a grape called Listán Prieto ( AKA the Mission grape) . This grape variety was first planted in North America in 1629 by a Franciscan Friar named Garcia de Zuniga and a Capuchin Monk named Antonio de Arteaga . This is the oldest continuously grown grape in North America. For Vina Cardinal the grapes are grown in New Mexico and the wine is fortified to 17% alcohol and has a slight amount of residual sugar. Think of a blend of Pineau de Charentes and Dubonnet. Just the palest hue of pink and a pickled sweet watermelon rind mouthfeel. I think it would be brilliant with something old school like a melon wrapped with prosciutto starter course. The first releases of wines have not happened so they have been bringing in wines from Spain and bottling them in NM and label them Product of the United States. The tasting I had included a 2018 Viura ( super fresh and clean) a 2018 Albarino ( nice and briny ) as well as a Tempranillo Lot #014 and a Garnacha #014 ( perhaps the lot numbers relate to the vintage ?) . The reds were a bit on the tired side so I poured them both together and the sum was greater than its parts. We bought the Viura and I’m looking forward to trying it with some seafood pasta.

After a bit more research it looks like the plan is to release locally grown wines in the future . Also they have a dynamic young chef turning out some excellent food to match the calibre of the wines. The duck confit with juniper and coriander was very nice with the reds and the Papas Bravas (fried potatoes with smoked tomato aioli ) were superb with the whites if a bit spicy for my tastes. Check out VARA Wines in Albuquerque at 315 Alameda Boulevard NE Zipcode 87113 phone 505 898 6280 www.varawines.com.

Thanks for your time.

If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ .

Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot

Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food.

Cheers

David Lancelot