Pairing Wines and Chocolate

By Stacy Slinkard, About.com Guide

Some say it can’t be done, pairing wine with chocolate, but if you have the right wine to complement the right chocolate it can be a match made in heaven! Whether you are pairing a delicate white chocolate or a lively dark chocolate with wine, there are a few pairing tips to keep in mind.

Tips for Successfully Pairings Wines with Chocolate

Rule #1, typically the wine should be at least as sweet, if not a touch sweeter, than the chocolate you are serving it with. Otherwise, the taste may quickly veer towards bitter or sour.

When pairing wines with chocolate, your best bet is to match lighter, more elegant flavored chocolates with lighter-bodied wines; likewise, the stronger the chocolate, the more full-bodied the wine should be. For example, a bittersweet chocolate tends to pair well with an intense, in-your-face California Zinfandel.

Similar to “formal” wine tasting, if you will be experimenting with several varieties of chocolates, work from light to dark. Start with a more subtle white chocolate and end on a dark or bittersweet chocolate.

White Chocolate Wine Suggestions

White chocolate tends to be more mellow and buttery in flavor, making it an ideal candidate for a Sherry (consider the Osborne Pedro Ximénez Sherry $20), for a Moscato d’Asti (try Saracco Moscato d’Asti 2006, $13), from Italy’s Piedmont region offers subtle, sweet bubbles, or an Orange Muscat (try Ventana Vineyard’s Muscat d’Orange for $18). The Sherry and Moscato d’Asti will pick up the creaminess of the chocolates and the Orange Muscat will pick up any fruit tones on the scene. Another route, for pairing wine with white chocolate is going for the contrast pairing approach, this is a little riskier, but when you find a match it can be exceptional. For example, taking a wine like a Zinfandel which tends to have a heavier tannic content and often a higher alcohol level and partnering it with a creamy, buttered white chocolate can have an unusual “melding” affect. It’s like the tannins get softened out by the fat content and make for a remarkable potential for pairing.

Milk Chocolate Wine Suggestions

Pinot Noir (you might consider Mark West Pinot Noir $10) or a lighter-bodied Merlot (try Hogue or Columbia Crest) will complement a bar of milk chocolate, a creamy chocolate mousse or chocolate accented cheesecake. Rieslings, Muscats (try Bonny Doon’s Muscat Vin de Glaciere or the Bonny Doon “Vin de Glaciere” Muscat for $15) or dessert wines tend to hold up well to mild milk chocolates. Also consider a sparkling wine or Champagne for pairing with milk chocolate dipped strawberries. Last, but not least a classic milk chocolate pairing to consider is a nice Ruby Port – a very safe bet when looking for a perfect wine to accent milk chocolate.

To read the rest of this article, please visit:Pairing Wines & Chocolate

Also, be sure you visit Custom wine labels to get your own personalized wine labels for your special event!

Wine Kits and Labels

all beverageHome wine making is considered an artistic, creative hobby and is enjoyed by a large number of today’s society.

This is partially because both kits and ingredients are inexpensive. However, if you’re looking to save money you can always create your own kit from readily available products. Here are the various items you’ll need to purchase in order to build your own wine making kit.

1)      Purchase a large jug of bottled water, a 5 to 7 gallon size. This will become your fermenting vessel.

2)      You should try to buy a large amount of unsweetened, white grape juice frozen concentrate. You’re looking for enough to make four gallons of juice.

3)      A tube of clear silicone caulking and 2 three foot lengths of aquarium tubing, one for your airlock, the other for siphoning off your home brew.

4)      The only thing you will need to purchase once you have your kit ready is wine yeast. While bread yeast in readily available in a pinch, wine yeast is highly recommended as it tend to make a far superior wine.

When you get home, remove the lid from the water jug. Place a dishtowel or other cloth over the jug opening. Drill a hole in the center of the jug that will allow you to insert one end of the tubing snugly. You want to keep the hole as close as possible to the diameter of the tubing.

Insert the tubing until you have at least two to three inches inside the cap. Apply silicone around the tubing on the inside and outside of the cap and let dry overnight. You have now made your airlock and bung.

Now that you have your brewing equipment ready to go you can begin making wine. Directions can be found here.

Once your wine is finished you can now think about branding and labeling.

Many wine bottles have two labels, the front label (which gives the name of the wine and is meant to grab the consumer’s attention), and the back label (which can include the more useful information, like total acidity and pH level). A variety of uniquely shaped wine bottle labels and hang tags designed to make your wine perfect for holiday get-togethers, wedding gifts and other special occasions can be found at Labels on the Fly.

Wine Bottle Ideas – 4 Wine Bottling Tips

So you’ve decided to invest in the world-wide trend of home wine making.

And why not?

Owning your own micro-winery equipment is cost effective and the actual hobby is fun and allows for lots of experimentation.  That, and it’s an opportunity to produce one of the world’s oldest and most beloved beverages.

Below are some tips for wine bottling that will help you take what you’ve produced and turn it into a full-on finished product.

1)      What type of bottle should you use?

There are a surprising number of different wine bottles to choose from, and you need to keep in mind what will be the best style and size for your wine. You should also consider whether or not your wine will be fermented before being placed into the bottle or afterward. Having said that, bottles can range in shape and size from narrow and tall (for Mosel and Alsace wines), to tall with sloping shoulders (usually used for Bugundies and Rhone varieties of wine), to thick-walled with sloping shoulders (most commonly used for sparkling wines and champagne). Most wine bottles come in brown (Rhine or Alsace), clear (used for sweet wines and white wines), dark green (red wines), and light green (dry white wines). There are no strict rules to bottling your wine – in fact many wineries experiment with color, shape and style to make their wines stand out- but, as stated earlier, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to bottling wine so make sure to research thoroughly before deciding on what type of bottle to use.

2)      Cork vs. Crown-cap

Deciding on whether or not to use a cork or a crown-cap depends mostly on two things; the style you’re going for, and what kind of impression you want to make. Wine corks can be made of either a single piece of cork, or composed of particles, as in champagne corks. The study “Analysis of the life cycle of Cork, Aluminum and Plastic Wine Closures,” commissioned by cork manufacturer Amorim and made public in December 2008, concluded that cork is the most environmentally responsible stopper.

However, a 2005 closure study showed that 45% of corks did not prevent gas leakage during pressure testing both from the sides of the cork as well as through the cork body itself. The majority of non-sparkling wine production now uses these caps as a cork alternative as it’s much cheaper. So, again, it all comes down to opinion. Whether you want to go with a more environmentally friendly cork that’s got that old-fashioned, traditional style to it, or the more practical crown-cap that’s slightly more reliable but less safe for the earth, well, it’s up to you. It’s the wine inside the bottle, not the cork plugging it, that counts.

3)      Labels and hang tags?

After you’ve chosen your bottle and bottle-stopper, it’s time to start thinking about packaging and labeling. A label is very crucial as it shows the type of wine and date of the wine (two things you’re customer will be interested in knowing). It also can help show your specific winery style.

Wine labels are often very affordable and can come in a variety of shapes and materials including transparent adhesive paper, foil paper, and top grade paper. If you want to avoid hand-labeling every bottle you produce, try going with the simpler, more decorative hang tag.

A wide variety of expertly designed, customizable wine labels and hang tags can be found at Labels on the Fly.

4)      Where will it be stored when you’re done?

Most wines should be stored in a dark area as UV rays can cause wines to become ‘light struck’ and pick up an unpleasant smell. Darker bottles are better protected from this, but not enough to be stored in direct sunlight. If you’ve decided to cork your bottle you should store it on its side, as bottles kept upright for too long will dry out and spoil.

Make sure the temperature in the place of storage is kept constant – it should never go over 75 degrees F (24 degrees C).

Letting the temp drop below 54 degrees F won’t hurt it, mind you – it will just slow down the aging process. It’s also a good idea not to move the wine. Try to keep it isolated and make sure to store for an appropriate amount of time. And remember to adjust the temperature before serving.

There you have it! Bottling wine, while slightly less simple than switching the channel to the evening news, can be a fun way to make your wine more self-styled and personalized.

Good luck on bottling your new batch of home-made wine, and stay tuned for more wine making tips and recipes!

Home Wine Making – 5 Things You Ought to Know

Did you know there are almost 3000 vineyards in the US, with at least one winery in every state? Most US wine production occurs in the west, with the states of California, Washington and Oregon leading the way. In fact, Californian production alone is more than double of the production of the entire country of Australia.

With that having been said it’s easily understandable as to why so many Americans have begun bottling their own homemade wine. Being from upstate NY, one of America’s oldest commercial wine regions, I can safely say that homemade wine making requires hardly any intensive labor. Rather, the ease of home wine making is more or less equivalent to the benefits. It makes you wonder why everybody isn’t doing it.

If you yourself are considering becoming a home wine maker here are several things you ought to know about the process before you get started.

1)      First of all, making wine is ultimately a simple chemical process, using the natural process of fermentation to turn fruit juice into alcohol. Most people are drawn to it as a hobby because it allows you to experiment and be free with recipes.

2)      Home wine making is not at all intrusive. In fact, you can manage quite well even in a small 10 X 10 foot kitchen, and the equipment is easily stored away.

3)      A basic wine making equipment kit will cost approximately $100 to $140, and be used respectively. This means that home wine making is considerably cost effective, especially when you consider the difference between making it and purchasing expensive commercial bottles.

4)      Ingredient kits can cost $60 to $150, putting your cost per bottle in the $2 to $5 range. This means you’ll be able to present customers or friends at weddings, birthday parties or holiday events with high quality, delicious wine that’s personalized and economical.

5)      The  total time you’ll spend from starting a batch to carefully putting the last drop into the bottle will be approximately 4-5 hours, spread over a one month period. So it’s a fun hobby that won’t eat up most of your life but will still result in a fruitful award! Pun very much intended.

There you have it. Wine making can be a very fun, rewarding process that’s totally cost effective and non-time consuming. If you’re thinking about investing in the hobby you might want to begin researching kits and ingredients, as well as branding labels for afterward. In fact, the type of wine label you choose to brand your first batch with can make all the difference. Most professional wine brewers nitpick over their labels for this very reason: the label on the outside reflects the wine inside! So be sure to think about what you want.

A variety of expertly designed, affordable wine bottle labels can be found here at Labels on the Fly.

Good luck on beginning your new, fun hobby and stay tuned for more wine making tips and recipes!

The Right Wine for Any Occasion

different kind of wineIf you’re just getting into home wine making odds are you’re apt to want to start learning about what wine goes best with what type of food, and which wine is right for certain occasions.

While there are really no real rules when choosing the best wine for each occasion, you’ll probably want to take into consideration who’s coming to the event (certain people have certain wine preferences) and, if there’s food at the event, what’s being served (pairing food and wine together can be fairly easy if you have a rough idea of what you’re doing).

Wine is meant to complement certain occasions and dishes.

With that having been said, here are a few ‘soft’ guidelines to help you choose the right wine for the right occasion.

  • White wines are often used for starting off an evening on the right foot, and are also wonderful for toasts and special occasions.
  • Champagne is a regular fixture at weddings and is indispensable at such occasions.
  • Red wines are great for main courses and are typically served during the latter part of any occasion. Their full bodied nature makes them a great complement to hearty meals.
  • Pinot Noir is not as heralded as Merlot or Cabernet, so many people may not recognize its unique blend, but it goes well with creamy sauces.
  • Shiraz is a fiery complement to spicy dishes, and its taste can enhance the flavor in barbecues and roasts.
  • Chianti is the best wine to accompany tomato dishes and poultry.wine for holiday

When choosing what wine you want to bring to a special occasion you should also consider how it will be presented during the occasion.

For example, will you be branding your bottle for the occasion? If so Labels on the Fly offers a wide variety of decorative, customizable holiday, wedding, and birthday themed wine labels and hang tags.

Sometimes the look of the bottle can represent whats inside it.

Above all, though, if your instinct cries out for a special type of wine for a special occasion go with it. Your instinct is usually right, especially if its in an area you’re experienced in.

Good luck on picking your wine, and stay tuned for more wine making tips and recipes!

Previous Older Entries

RSS American Antiques and Collectables

  • ANTIQUE BRUNSWICK VICTORIAN POOL TABLE
    ANTIQUE BRUNSWICK MONARCH VICTORIAN POOL TABLE , LION BASE    Restored Victorian Brunswick 4′ x 8′ pool table. The model is called ” The Monarch”. It was made by Brunswick in the late 1870′s, early 1880′s. This model is considered … Continue reading →
  • Russia 1912 Banknote 500 Rubles Paper Money
    History of Russian Currency and Paper Money (RUBLE) 500 rubles version of 1912 year. Front. With Tzar Peter I portrait. According to the most popular version, the word “rouble” is derived from the Russian verb руби́ть (rubit’), meaning to chop. … Continue reading →
  • Russian Orthodox Icon “Saint Nicholas” silver 1890
    Collectibles > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Icons > Russian Orthodox Icon “Saint Nicholas” silver 1890 – 84 This beautiful icon shows a saint offering his blessings with his right hand raised. He wears a gorgeous vestment of gilt … Continue reading →

RSS Personalized Wedding Favor Ideas

  • Getting Married By Bernard Shaw
    GETTING MARRIED – Preface To “Getting Married” By Bernard Shaw 1908 CONTENTS   THE REVOLT AGAINST MARRIAGE MARRIAGE NEVERTHELESS INEVITABLE WHAT DOES THE WORD MARRIAGE MEAN SURVIVALS OF SEX SLAVERY THE REVOLT AGAINST MARRIAGE There is no subject on which more dangerous nonsense is talked and thought than marriage. If the mischief stopped at talking […] […]
  • Custom Wedding Candy Box Labels
    Labels on the Fly offers food and craft labels that you can use to custom design personalized candy boxes filled with your favorite treats.
  • Christmas Party Supplies and Christmas Decorations
    With 1000s of design possibilities we know that you will find something to suit your needs on our site. Simply select any label that you see and you can change size and shape. You can add your own text and select from a wide variety of fonts. The labels are broken down so you can choose your own unique color combination. With our instant preview and design y […]
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 286 other followers

%d bloggers like this: