Wine 101 – Part Ii – “Bottles”

This article treats one of the world’s most successful marketing campaigns – the French red wine that arrives just in time for Thanksgiving, Beaujolais Nouveau. At one minute past midnight on the third Thursday in November, this wine is released for sale. Talk about market share, in the next 24 hours over one million cases will be sold. During the coming year, consumers all over the world will buy more than 65 million bottles. There will be about 4 million bottles exported to the United States, and 7 million to Japan and to Germany. About seven hundred thousand bottles will be exported to Italy, which makes a similar wine, Vino Novello, reviewed in our article I Love Italian Wine and Food – Vino Novello (New Wine).

Here is a typical scenario of how I use these sites. I am a big fan of French wines but do not like the prices offered at my local stores. I use my tracker to track wine sites that offer French wines on their daily deals. I recently bought a case of my favorite vintage for $11.60 cents a bottle; the local store where I normally shop it charges $23.12 per bottle, that’s a fifty percent discount! You multiply that savings times 12 bottles in a case and I saved over a hundred dollars and loved every minute of it! This type of budgeting is fun and can actually increase your standard of living at the same time.

My first pairing of this wine involved chicken in a honey, garlic, and soy sauce. The wine was not very flavorful, but during the course of the meal its flavors increased somewhat. Unfortunately the dominant flavor was bubble gum, but there was a light taste of black fruit.

3) Estate bottled? (Not the same as single vineyard) This simply means the winery grew the grapes there, and made the wine on their premises. A completely integrated process. But remember, just because it is estate bottled doesn’t mean it’s any better than a winery that Grossiste en vin fran├žais from a grower. This shouldn’t really add that much to the price, although many wineries like to flaunt this.

Prior to the traditional two cheeses I paired this Cabernet Sauvignon with schmaltz herring in oil. The wine remained sweet and was oaky. A relatively flavorless brick cheese thinned the wine, which was still sweet (by now, this is hardly a surprise.) With a somewhat tastier Muenster, same old, same old, but there was more acidity.

At the first sips this wine provided dark plums and soft tannins. Japanese rice crackers increased its acidity, but the Wasabi peas actually softened the wine. My initial meal centered on broiled beef ribs. The drink had great length and offered some chocolate. In the face of potato salad with pickles this libation provided a tinge of sweetness and some oak. It was round. It exuded chocolate when paired with eggplant and mushrooms. I finished the meat with a generous dousing of Louisiana hot sauce and our L-R red was somewhat sweet. Its dominant feature was dark cherries.

It is very important to provide lots of French baguettes, and plain brie cheese, so that your guests are able to clear their palates BEFORE each DIFFERENT wine. By doing this, they will be able to truly get the BEST sense of the qualities of the next wine. As the host, you should encourage all of your guests to follow this procedure. Make it part of the ritual, and most importantly, HAVE FUN!

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