I often get the question at wine tastings, “What do legs in a wine mean?” Very valid question as some will stare intently at them as they swirl a wine, while others wonder, what are they looking for exactly? So what are legs? “Legs” in a wine glass are the tears that stream down the side of the glass after you swirl it. Some take special notice of these legs – are they fast or slow? Thick or thin? Whatever speed and shape they take, what does it even mean? Well, we can tell you what it DOESN’T mean – the legs of a wine show you nothing of the wine’s quality, and studies have shown they don’t really show much about a wine’s viscosity, either. Legs are created in a glass by a number of different relationships between the liquid and the glass surface and between the water and alcohol components of the wine. The way the legs fall usually has to do with the level of alcohol in the wine and the speed at which it evaporates, which means, in easier terms, that thicker and slower legs can indicate a higher alcohol level. That said, sugar in wine can also lead to slower legs, so a sweet wine may showcases legs that slide down the glass more slowly. So, in short, watching the legs flow down a glass may be pretty, but won’t give you much insight into the wine. You can, however, guesstimate that heaver and thicker legs may equate to higher alcohol and/or a touch more sugar in your wine. Legs are fun to look at, but don’t give you all that much information about a wine.
So many wine drinkers shy away from Bordeaux because of the assumption that a good Bordeaux must be old and expensive. But the majority of Bordeaux is quite the opposite. Most wine from this esteemed region is meant to be drunk early, and is definitely affordable. You just don’t read about those wines as often as the first growths fetching $2,000 per bottle in a good vintage.
Since the majority of wines from Bordeaux are meant to be early drinking and affordable AND the fact that Bordeaux is the largest wine-producing region in France, that means there is a LOT of wine in that category – how does one determine the GOOD affordable Bordeaux?
Well, we are featuring a selection today and to help you find the right wine for you, here are some helpful tips.
1. Go with a good vintage. Bordeaux has had a string of fairly strong vintages, with 2008, 2009 and 2010 shining with top ratings. Even 2006 and 2007, which may not have run away with top ratings, still deliver some solid wines worth trying.
2. Go with a Merlot-based wine. There are some killer Cab-based affordable Bordeaux out there, but Merlot in general is more approachable when young, so choose a wine from a right-bank region like Cotes-de-Castillon, Fronsac or St. Emilion.
3. Go with a trusted producer. Many of the “big” names (think Rothschild) in Bordeaux make “smaller” wines. If you see a producers second wine or a wine they invest in, it’s a good bet if you like their top wine (or think you might), then you’ll enjoy their second wine.
Those are my three tips. They are not guarantees, but may help you navigate the selection of affordable Bordeaux out there. Remember, Bordeaux is meant to be a food wine, not a huge fruit bomb. So these are not wines to compare to your favorite California or Australian red, but rather wines that will show a bit more restraint and structure and really shine when paired with a meal. So stock up and enjoy Bordeaux!
November 8th marks the second annual celebration of #TempranilloDay. And what a perfect day to celebrate a grape that produces wine so reminicent of fall.
So what do you know about Tempranillo? Here are a few facts.
- It’s the 4th most planted grape in the world
- Spain has ove 60 different regional names for this grape
- It’s the base for the majority of Rioja wines
- Flavor profiles include plum, strawberry, leather, spice and tobacco or tea leaves
- The variety takes well to oak and can produce long-lasting wines
- Medium-bodied, medium-acidity, medium-tannins and medium-alcohol – a nice all-around medium wine!
- Favorite food pairings include: tapas, paella, plate of spanish cheese & meat, ham bocadillos
If you’ve ever toured a winery, particularly a cellar, you’ve probably seen it – the glass or plastic stopper wedged into the top or side of a barrel. The stopper itself is called a “bung.” So it only follows that the whole in which that stopper is wedged is called the “bunghole.” There is a hole here for obvious reasons – how else do you get the wine in or out of the barrel? Winemakers also use the bunghole for stirring the wine on its lees, tasting the wine during the aging process and of course, racking the wine when it has finished its time in the barrel.
So next time you’re touring the cellar, go ahead and use this slightly off-beat (I say this only because apparently Beavis & Butt-head used it in a more derogatory way) wine term since you’re well aware of what it actually means.
Once again, September brings us the official California Wine Month. Though our customers never shy away from California wine (it’s our top selling region year after year), now is the time to stock up on your favorite bottles to help celebrate the great Golden State.
For all of our social fans, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed to tell us your favorite California Wine. We’ll put together a list on our site of “Wine.com Fan Favorite Cali Wines” and offer a special discount later this month!
Some things about California Wine you may not know…
-California makes 90% of all U.S. wine and is the world’s 4th leading
wine producer after France, Italy and Spain. (Which means that if California were a separate country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine producer.)
- 3,540 bonded wineries
- 211.9 million cases = California wine sales volume into the U.S. market, with shipments growing 26% since 2002’s 168.7 million cases.
- $19.9 billion retail value: Estimated retail value of California wine sales in the U.S. 61% share of U.S. market by volume.
- Three of every five bottles sold in the U.S. is a California wine.
- 4,600 grapegrowers
- 543,000 acres of winegrapes: Winegrapes are grown in 48 of 58 counties in California; 115 federally approved American Viticultural Areas.
- More than 110 winegrape varieties.
Find more fun statistics on California wine at www.wineinstitute.org