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Sous Vide Mulled Wine

Making Sous Vide Mulled Wine

Making mulled wine has never been so easy thanks to sous vide. Mulled wine making used to be an incredibly tedious process, that would sometimes take days depending on what kind of base wine you were working with. Well, thank to sous vide, that process that used to take days now only takes a little over an hour!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Bottle of Red Wine
  • Juices of 3 Oranges, 2 Peels
  • Juices of 1 Grapefruit, 1/2 Peel
  • 3 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 75g Stevia
  • 2 Bay Leafs
  • 4 tbsp Vanilla Extract

Instructions:

Plug in your top rated sous vide machine and set the temperature to 140 degrees F. Note: If you don’t already have a sous vide cooker, then I suggest you pick one up based on the best sous vide machine reviews at Sous Vide Wizard. Once the sous vide water bath is heated to 140F, you’re going to combine all of the aforementioned ingredients into a bowl and mix lightly. Pour the mixture into 3 sous vide bags and vacuum seal them shut. Place the bags in your sous vide water bath for 60 minutes.

After 60 minutes, take the mulled wine out. Let it sit for a few minutes. Serve chilled.

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Guide to Wine Storage and Serving Temperatures

Guide to Wine Storage and Serving Temperatures

The key to enjoying a good wine is not only its storage temperature but also its serving temperature. However, are you certain of which serving temperature for the particular bottle of wine you purchased? It the previous statement made you question your basic knowledge of wine serving temperatures, please read further as I explain the proper storage and serving temperatures.

Wines continue to develop character and flavor after they are bottled. The primary external factor affecting that development is the storage temperature. The ideal temperature for storing wine is not room temperature; it is instead between 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature should also be kept constant so that the cork doesn’t expand or contract, letting in impurities and air. The best way to keep wine at a constant temperature is to purchase a wine refrigerator. If you no not have the money for a specialty refrigerator, a basement storage center in a darkened corner will be adequate. Make certain that corner is not too drafty, though.

Most people are aware that red wines can be served near room temperature. However, that does not imply that they can be served at room temperature. The ideal temperature for red wine is between 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have just purchased a bottle of wine and would like to serve it right away, wine.com suggests that you refrigerate the bottle for about 20 minutes to bring it to the appropriate temperature. Uncork it, let it breathe for about ten minutes, and then serve it in the appropriate wine glasses.

White wine requires a cooler serving temperature. White wine such as chardonnay should be served at about 55 degrees Fahrenheit, or directly out of the wine refrigerator. Wine.com suggests that you can achieve this temperature for a freshly purchased bottle of wine by refrigerating it for one-and-a-half hours to lower it from room temperature.

Fuller-bodied white wines need an even cooler temperature than other white wines. Wines such as Riesling and Sauternes need to be chilled to between 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit, according to WineIntro.com. You may discover disagreement about the proper temperature at which these wines should be served. My personal experience suggests that these wines taste much better and have a more developed nose when served slightly cooler than the cellar temperature of 55 degrees.

Finally, champagne should be served chilled. Chilled does not mean ice-cold; the ideal champagne-serving temperature is 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit. People associate champagne with an ice bucket. You can also chill it in an ice bucket for 20 minutes before serving. Ideally, it will be refrigerated before placement in the ice bucket.

Though you can drink wine outside of these recommended serving temperatures, your experience will not be the same. Proper temperatures bring out the true character of a wine. Notice that, and enjoy the wine more fully.

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Easy Wine Sauces

Easy Wine Sauces

I wouldn’t consider myself an outstanding cook, but I try my best. My biggest problem is following recipes. I can’t really do it for some reason. I always have to improvise or add a little something extra. Most of the time that works. I can tell you one time where it definitely doesn’t work for me and that is…. baking. Not my area of expertise and believe me I have tried. I am not even able to make the simplest batch of sugar cookies without screwing it up. When it comes to cooking though, now we’re talking. I believe there is one reason that I can cook and that is, if I can add wine to it, then by all higher powers, I will add wine to it. Now how can you mess that up? Trust me, it’s kinda hard to do and if you allow yourself to sip the wine while cooking, well, if you screw up you won’t care by then.

The one thing I don’t cook at home but once in a long while is fish. I’m not a big fan of fish unless its Yellow-Tail Snapper. That is about the only dish I go out to dinner for and will pay whatever to get. However, that is not practical to do as often as I like. I think my favorite part of that dinner is the sauce. Essentially it is just a beurre blanc sauce at the restaurant which is incredibly simple to make at home. It’s as easy as chopping some shallots, saute in pan until soft (do not brown them) and then adding butter, white wine and lemon juice (all in small amounts) and lightly bubbling until it’s the consistency you want it to be. Since I buy cheap white wine, it’s almost always in the house. I have also made this sauce without the shallots and instead I add a little heavy cream to thicken the sauce for noodles. Pouring this sauce over a baked piece of talapia (or any other mild flavored fish) almost makes me forget I’m not eating snapper. I also love this sauce on egg noodles served with thin breaded pan-fried chicken or pork. Another alternative if you’re not cooking with shallots is to add chopped chives and white pepper at the end of cooking this sauce. The white pepper adds a little bite to it and the chopped chives (fresh is preferable) really liven up the flavor.

When it comes to meat, which we eat a lot of in our house, I had to have an alterative. Steak, steak and more steak. Due to this fact, I had to have something other than a steak sauce or, dare I say it, ketchup. Yes. I am guilty of dipping my steak in ketchup (I think that’s sacrilegious in some parts of the world). I think the first time I used red wine in cooking, other than pouring loads of red wine in my spaghetti sauce, was my mother’s stroganoff recipe. I remember asking my husband to dinner for the first time while we were out on a golf date. I asked him if he liked stroganoff and he thought it was a vodka. Well, maybe he didn’t know what it was, but once I made it for him, the rest was history. To this day though I’m not sure if it was me or the gallon of red wine I used in that beef stroganoff that hooked him. I guess I can’t bring that up and then not tell you how I make my stroganoff, so here it is, as simple as I can make it. First I cut a bottom round roast into small chunks and place them in a bowl of red wine until ready to cook. Chop regular onion and brown in butter in skillet deep enough to fit all beef and once browned I add the beef as I drain it from the red wine. Cover skillet and simmer, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender. As the liquid cooks out I slowly add red wine to the beef to keep it simmering. I then add a packet (or two depending on how much beef you cook) of brown gravy mix adjusting the water amount added as I want the sauce to be thick. I also always throw in a couple teaspoons of Gravy Master. If the sauce is too thin I’ll just add a little flour mixed with a small amount of water (paste consistency) to the beef. Once the gravy is as thick as I like it (i.e., when I know it’s going to stick to the egg noodles) I will take the cover off and turn the stove to low and slowly add in sour cream until smooth. I then pour this over cooked egg noodles and let rest for about 20 minutes and serve. Yummy.

Now back to my easy red wine sauce for steaks. Just as I do my white wine sauce, I will chop shallots and cook in butter. I slowly add red wine and stir while simmering until I get a nice thick consistency and will pour this sauce over my steak. It works on any kind of steak whether it be rib-eye, sirloin, strip or tenderloin. If you have some in your house I would also add a dash of red wine vinegar and chives. If you sauce is thinned out too much by the wine, then just add in a little more butter, cooking until it thickens. Worse case scenario, add a little corn starch to thicken.

With these two simple little sauces you can have an abundance of simple yet romantic dinners every day of the week. I caution though, this is not for children. I have been pleasantly buzzed from eating these sauces and we don’t want to turn our children into eating alcoholics. However, the white sauce can be made without the white wine. Add a little white vinegar instead for the kiddies.

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Wine Review: Drylands Sauvignon Blanc 2006

Wine Review: Drylands Sauvignon Blanc 2006

Fall is all about getting together with friends and family, not sure exactly why but it just seems like the comfy season to sit at home while chatting it up. When guests come to my house, a new bottle of wine is always waiting for them to engage them in relaxation throughout their duration at my house. Drylands has come out with the perfect fall wine selection that goes great with all those cinnamon and pumpkin flavored meals and snacks.

A weekend ago a group of friends were coming over for a little get-together full of appetizers and fantastic wine. Since the seasons have changed, so has our house wine list for party celebrations. Usually my husband and I prefer to serve at least one white wine and one red one. During the summer we prefer a nice and cool German White wine however in the fall we wanted to have something a little more robust and spicy that matched the foods of the season. We found a selection at our local spirits store called Drylands Sauvignon Blanc from 2006. It was not a disappointment.

Appearance/Visual: The white wine had almost perfect clarity and looked healthy. It had a light yellowish color however was not as dark as say lemonade. It was easily seen through in the wine glass which is important to wine drinkers.

Nose/Smell: It does hold a medium level of body in the bouquet however is not overpowering intense to non-wine drinkers.

Sweetness/dryness: This is a really dry white wine; it can not be compared to a gew├╝rztraminer. Due to the characteristics of the fall season snack foods that tend to be sweet, this dry white wine pairs perfectly to hold back a little of the sugar.

Acidity: This is a sophisticated white wine, therefore it does have a slightly higher level of acidity which can make some people pucker with the flavor. Seasoned wine drinkers will find this selection to be very crisp.

Weight/Body: Since this is a white wine, it does have a lighter body. It is not as heavy as sophisticated white wines.

Fruit: Much to my amusement, this white wine tastes a lot like pineapple and other tropical fruits. In fact, when my husband and I first took a sip of this wine that is what we both stated. It has other herbal flavors however are not very prominent over the pineapple flavor. Years ago, many farmers would use pineapples in the southern states and place chunks into pumpkin soup in the fall months. I am reminded of this flavor when I drink the wine and eat pumpkin cookies or pumpkin soup.

Cost: Although prices vary in different areas, the bottle we purchased was around $15.00.

So, if you are looking for a good fall white wine that pairs with the fall foods of the season, try this Sauvignon Blanc from Drylands. It is good paired with foods but also warms the body on those cold nights as an after dinner wine.

Note: This wine has just won the honorary 90 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

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White Zinfandel or Merlot? How to Choose the Right Wine

White Zinfandel or Merlot? How to Choose the Right Wine

The world has hundreds of wines to choose from. Some of the top vineyards are Ridge Vineyards, Russian River Valley, and Rutherford. The vineyards produce thirteen different types of wines, choosing one that will compliment your meal can be difficult.

From my experience as a bartender and server to your home, I offer you a definition of each type of wine, the types of foods that they can be served with, and what wines are in high demand this season.

Do I serve red wine with meat? Do I serve white wine with fish? What do I serve with duck? What is the difference between sweet wines and dry wines? These are probably questions that are coming to mind when you’re trying to choose a bottle for your guests.

The best thing to do is to have both a sweet and dry wine for your guest. Each person has a different palette (taste) for wine. Some will prefer a sweet wine with what you are serving and some will prefer a dry wine.

With the knowledge that there are 13 different types of wines, I am going to do my best to demystify the difference between white, reds, and blush. I do want to start off by explaining some of the words that Wine lovers use in their descriptions of wines.

Tannic

When someone uses the word Tannic, they are talking about the taste of a wine. The presence of Tannin gives wine an astringent or clean flavor. Tannin is the chemicals that come from oak. A tannic flavor usually comes from a red wine being aged in oak.

Cabernet Sauvignon Wines

The Cabernet Sauvignon is a deep red color to purple color wine. Most Cabernet Sauvignons are rich in flavor and tastes. You will want to purchase a Cabernet Sauvignon Wine from a vineyard located in warm climate because this allows the grapes to ripen fully.

When you’re testing a Cabernet Sauvignon Wine, there are some aromas that are characteristic to this type of wine. Old World Cabernet Sauvignon wines, those made in Italy and France, have the scents of violets, blackcurrant, cedar and spices.

New world wines can carry the same scent as older counterparts but most have a dominate smell of earth, pepper, oak, raspberries, blueberries, or chocolate. The new world wines are made in Australia, Argentina, California, and New Zealand.

Wine from Australia will have a strong smell of eucalyptus, especially wines made in Coonawarra. Cherries, herbs, and green peppers have been known to lend their scent to wine in cool climate vineyards.

Cabernet Sauvignon Wine is a perfect paring with a hearty meal of beef or stew. If you have a meat dish that is peppery then a peppery scented wine will go well.

Petit Sirah

Petit Sirah is a red wine that is produced to blend with other types of wine. The Petit Sirah became popular in the 1970’s for its color and full tannic taste. The Petit Sirah is made in Australia, France, and California.

If you are having a dish with beef, lamb or a spicy sauce then a Petit Sirah would be a could choice of wine.

Merlot

Merlot wine is a red wine that is good for blending with other red wines like the Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot based wines have a medium body with aromas of berry, plum and currant.

Merlot is primarily produced in France and Italy but it has become a favorite in California because of its flexibility of blending with other red wines. Merlot wine is actually produced around the world in countries like Romania, Australia, Argentina, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, Croatia, and Hungry.

Merlot wine can be a medium red to dark ruby color. Its rich fruit flavor goes well with dishes of beef, chicken and pasta. A Merlot wine is also a great wine to serve after dinner because it goes well with chocolate.

Other red wines include the Pinor Noir, which is a dark burgundy wine. Pinor Noir wine goes well with a meal light beef, fowl, or pasta with red sauce. The Syrah or Shiraz wine has a heavy red color. The aroma can very from pepper to fruit. Syrah wines compliment spicy Indian or Mexican foods. Syrah wines are also known to go well with hearty beef dishes.

A newcomer to red wines is the Red Zenfandel. This wine is very popular in the United States for its body, color and flavor. The Red Zenfandel has a spicy peppery flavor and goes well with burgers, pizza, and red sauce pasta.

Chardonnay

Known as the Grandfather of White Wine, Chardonnay wines make up most of the white wine market. Chardonnay wines are made in the cooler climate of France, United States, Australia and New Zealand. Though, Chardonnay wines were first produced in Chablis, France.

Many Chardonnay wines are used for making Champagne and sparkling wines.

The Chardonnay is a pale to straw yellow white wine. The flavor can vary from semi sweet to sour. White wines are best served with meals that consist of low fat poultry, seafood, red meat and cheeses.

Chenin Blanc

The Chenin Blanc is used for sparkling, dry and sweet wines. Chenin Blanc wines are usually pale to medium yellow color. A meal of chicken, seafood or fish would go great with the dry, semi-sweet, and acidic taste of a Chenin Blanc wine.

Gewarztraminer

This is actually a wine made out of a spice grape. It is a sweet white wine with a fruity ad spicy flavor. Asian food, ham, and pork meals would be a good paring with this type of wine.

Riesling

Reislings can also be know as Rhine or Johannisberg wines. The Reisling is a dry white wine that has a pale yellow straw color to almost a sparkling white color. When tasting a Riesling expect to experience a dry tartness to the wine. Reisling wines are great for pork and oriental dishes.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc wines originated from France but are now produced around the world. A Sauvignon Blanc wine is a white wine that has the blend of fruits and grapes. The wine color could be light to medium yellow in color with a tinge of green. This is because it is produced from a green grape.

Most Sauvignon Blanc wines have a crisp dry flavor but some can be sweet. In the U.S., The Sauvignon Blanc can also be know as the Fume Blanc and is very popular with picnics. Sauvignon Blanc wines can be a great addition to a meal of fish, shellfish, chicken and pasta.

Viognier

A recent addition to California vineyards, it is a very difficult grape to grow and therefore grown in only a few vineyards. The grape yields a medium bodied white wine, noted for it’s spice, floral and citrus flavors.

White Zinfandel – A newcomer to the wine industry, it is very popular with new wine drinkers because of it’s sweetness and ease of taste. Although labeled as a white wine, color is pale-rose and tends to have citrus and lights flavors. The wine is delicious with light sauces and pasta, fish, pork and other light meals.

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