Wednesday, December 9, 2015

#Wine Gum, When Drinking Wine is Not An Option #Wine

Wine Gum for Lovers of All Things Wine

As lovers of the vine, we seek out all things vinous and the markets have not disappointed. From main courses made with wine to wine-infused cupcakes, cookies and candy bars-wine is what we want.  What happens when those items are not available and it's just not a conducive wine-drinking setting?  What can you do?  You can pop some wine gum in your mouth and call it a day.  That's right, we said it-wine gum.

Wine Gum is a sensational sensory wine experience.  According to its creators, wine gum gives you the chance to "experience your senses all working together; a smell sensation, a tasting and the after-taste...Our design intensifies the perception of wine by pouring it into a new edible form."  The Real Wine Gum is a "luxury adult food and aims to achieve the taste of that first sip wine in a new way, without actually drinking." So when you can't relax by drinking some wine-you can eat it.

Behind The Scenes of The Real Wine Gum

Marleen Teters and Mireille Reuling, the creators, used their love for wine and their business expertise to create Vinoos by AMS, which makes The Real Wine Gum. It was interesting to learn that The Real WINE gum originated as part of an ART Experience installation. Mireille Reuling, who is a conceptual designer (3D and New Media) in Amsterdam, developed a 3D art installation called The Wine Xperience in 2012. She wanted to achieve 'The relaxed feel of the first sip of wine, without actually drinking it." Her experiment was designed in a way for the spectator to utilize all of their senses. It was a combination of sources for inspiration: Visual Arts, Theater, Food & Drinks and Entrepreneurship. This Wine Xperience installation experiment gave birth to The Real Wine Gum. 


The Real WINE Gum is currently available in Merlot Red & White Chardonnay, although the founders are working on additional flavors and options. Wine gum is suitable for vegetarians and it is gluten, fat, nuts, gelatin and lactose free. It also contains no artificial coloring. 




The Wining Hour's Tastes Wine Gum!


We tried both the Chardonnay and Merlot flavored Wine Gum.  The Chardonnay Wine Gum had fruity, pineapple notes similar to a Lifesaver candy.  On the other hand, the Merlot Wine Gum was more flavorful and reminiscent of real wine flavors.  It should be noted that The Real Wine Gum does not contain alcohol and has more of a gummy bear consistency, than that of an actual wine gum. The Real Wine Gum is not chewy like gum and does not have the same viscoelasticity as gum, as we know it.  Nevertheless, it makes a good, fruity snack and can provide the wine taste that many of us crave on the palate.  It was exciting to taste The Real Wine Gum, as it's a novel idea and one that gum and candy lovers alike, who are also wine lovers will enjoy.  Thanks Marleen!

About The Wining Hour

The Wining Hour writes about wine, Italy and global travel.  The Wining Hour boutique caters to wine-lovers across the globe by offering all wine-related items.  The Wining Hour markets unique wine décor and furnishings, accessories, glassware, barware, wine racks, storage and cooling options, games, gifts and more. The Wining Hour also hosts #wininghourchat on Twitter (@wininghourchat) on Tuesday's at 9 p.m. EST.(For more, see links at the top of this page)

For more information, please visit www.thewininghour.com.­­­

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Friulian Pinot Grigio and Roasted Branzino #Wine #Travel

Italy's Gateway to Eastern Europe


Friuli, also known as Friuli Venezia Giulia, is a small region in the northeastern tip of Italy. Although it is one of the smallest regions, it has a huge impact.  This little region, west of Veneto, is the connector, or gateway to central Europe, as it borders Austria and Slovenia. As a result, Italian is spoken, along with some Friulan Slovene dialects near the eastern border.


Fruili is characterized by a diverse terrain, consisting of mountains (Fruilan Dolomites, Carnic and Julian Alps), pastures, streams, lakes, lagoons and a beautiful coastline.  It's main city is Trieste. The economy is based on local crafts, farming and tourism of both the sea (Lignano, Grado, Monfalcone and Trieste beaches) and the mountainous areas.

Friulian Gastronomy
Influenced by the Eastern European culture, Friuli cuisine is characterized by polenta and dumplings (perhaps even more so that pastas) soups and cured meats.  This area is famous for its prosciutto, specifically Prosciutto di San Daniele DOP.  Other cured friulian meats are prosciutto di Sauris, Carsolino and Peta from Valcellina. Valcellina, which is sausage stuffed with beef, goat, pork and some other game meats can also be found here.  Montasio DOP is the important cheese for this region.  Latteria and Tabot are notable formaggi.  Gubana, is fruitcake dessert, as well as carnia and strudel or strucolo (with apples and fruit).  Strucolo is a traditional Austrian dessert, which is further evidence that the Friuli culture has been influenced by its neighbors.

In terms of vino, Friuli Venezia Giulia is known for having some of the best white wines in Italy. The region has 11 Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC),  3 Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) and 3 Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) designations.  More than half of the wine is DOC.  Friuli has 9 wine regions: Collio Goriziano, Colli Orientali del Friuli, Isonzo, Carso, Lison-Pramaggiore (shared with Veneto) Annia, Aquileia, Grave and Latisana, which means that there is lots of wine-tasting to do.

As this was a northern Italian region, we decided to make Roasted Branzino or Branzino Arrostito.  While this delicious fish is called Branzino in the north of Italy, it is known as Spigola in the south of Italy.  In the U.S., Branzino is sometimes referred to as Mediterranean Sea Bass, NOT to be confused with Chilean Sea Bass, which is a different fish. Here's how we made it:

Roasted Branzino 
 

Ingredients:

1 lb filet branzino
3 garlic cloves crushed or thinly sliced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning and fresh parsley leaves.
2tbsps freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. salt (to taste)
2 lemon wedges
1/3 cup dry white wine or white wine vinegar

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 450.  Mix oil, salt, pepper, garlic. Rub the fish with the mix. drizzle with wine.  Bake 450 degrees for 15 minutes uncovered.  Remove from the oven, sprinkle with parsley and/or Italian seasoning, and then roast for another 5 minutes.

We dined on our branzino with a simple mixed green salad and the wine selection below.

The Wining Hour's Friulian Wine Selection:

We selected a 2014 Paolo Valle Pinot Grigio from the Colli Orientali del Friuli DOP district. First, I would be remiss if I did not say that this is one of the best Italian Pinot Grigios that I've ever tasted. I repeat, this is one of the best Italian Pinot Grigios that I've ever tasted!  This pinot grigio is a white wine that even red wine drinkers would enjoy.  This wine was a full bodied dry white wine with aromas of pear and peach and even apricot on the nose.  These same fruits, in addition to cantaloupe, were on the palate.  It was light, refreshing, crisp and well-balanced, with just the right amount of acidity.   De-lic-ous.

We paired Paolo Valle's Pinot Grigio with branzino and it was like a match made in heaven.  The two tangoed down my palate as if they owned it.  This pinot grigio would pair well with most grilled or roasted fish, shellfish and sushi.   This wine was dry, but very rich wine with 13% alcohol by volume and aged in stainless steel tanks.

It was interesting to learn that the winemaker, Paolo Valle, collaborated with Alessandro Gallici, another famous Italian wine maker, to craft this delicious white wine.  They used a technique that helps to further enhance the flavor intensity of the grapes.  This was easy to see, smell and taste.
For more information on other Friuli wines, see Friuli's First Class Whites

Want more Friuli?  Keep reading and...

Join our live chat Saturday December 5th at 11am EST on Twitter at #ItalianFWT.  We can't wait to hear from you.  

Here are the rest of my fellow bloggers featuring Friuli:

Vino Travels – Pignolo and Schioppettino and Picolit, oh my!
Culinary Adventures with Camilla – Roasted Lobster with Pesto + Ca'Bolani Sauvignon
Rockin Red Blog – Wine at the Center of Cultural Crossroads
Food Wine Click – Friuli Wines with Nutmeg Braised Goat
Enofylz Wine Blog  A Taste of Friuli, Got Prignolo?
Cooking Chat -  Lightened Chicken and Broccoli Pasta with Wine from Friuli
Italophilia - Castello di Miramare: Pearl of the Adriatic
Orna - A Stroll through Grado: The Sunny Isle
The Wining Hour - Friuli Pinot Grigio and Roasted Branzino

We can't wait to start off the 2016 new year with you exploring some of the lesser known regions of Italy starting in January with the Basilicata region.  So come back on Saturday January 2nd as we explore the rest of Italy's regions. 

About The Wining Hour

The Wining Hour writes about wine, Italy and global travel.  The Wining Hour boutique caters to wine-lovers across the globe by offering all wine-related items.  The Wining Hour markets unique wine décor and furnishings, accessories, glassware, barware, wine racks, storage and cooling options, games, gifts and more. The Wining Hour also hosts #wininghourchat on Twitter (@wininghourchat) on Tuesday's at 9 p.m. EST.(For more, see links at the top of this page)

For more information, please visit www.thewininghour.com.­­­

Follow The Wining Hour:







Friday, December 4, 2015

Celebrating #CabFrancDay #Wine

How Are You Celebrating Cabernet Franc Day?



Dracaena Wines has been very instrumental in having a day set aside to honor this grape varietal for several reasons.  Cabernet Franc is the varietal produced by Dracaena Wines, so that wine is, in effect, their baby.  In addition, Cardinal Richelieu, the Prime Minister of France, who is known for many things, is also believed to have been responsible for Cabernet Franc's transportation from Bordeaux to the Loire Valley.  He died on December 4th, and for this reason, that date was chosen to honor the grape varietal. This year, December 4th marks the second celebration of Cabernet Franc Day or #CabFrancDay. 

Cabernet Franc is a blue black grape variation that originated in Bordeaux France and is a staple throughout the country.  The grape grows well in cooler climates and is pretty adaptable. Although it originated in Bordeaux, it can also be found in the Loire Valley, France, Italy, U.S., Hungary, Chile, South Africa, Spain, Canada, Argentina and other countries. 



Cabernet Franc happens to be the parent of a wine we all love.  Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc merged and gave birth to Cabernet Sauvignon.  Therefore, we would not have Cabernet Sauvignon without the Cabernet Franc grape.  Cab Franc is used for blending not only Cab Sauvignon, but Merlot, Petite Syrah, Bordeaux and a few other wines. In fact, Cabernet France is the main grape used in some of the worlds best Bordeaux wines. Additionally, there would be no Cabernet Sauvignon without the Cabernet Franc grape.  As most parents and children share certain similarites, Cabernet Franc is similar in taste to Cabernet Sauvignon, but is lighter and less tannic.  This grape is also used for many ice wines. Despite being a wonderful grape for blending, it makes for a fabulous wine on its own. It can be aged for 10-15 years.


The Wining Hour's Cabernet Franc Selection:

As #CabFrancDay was initiated by Dracaena Wines, it was only fitting to pour one of their wines. Last year, for the inaugural celebration, we were delighted to have Lori from Dracaena Wines join #WiningHourChat (@WiningHourChat) to discuss it.  Lori contributed some great information about the grape, its history and some pairing options.  We tasted Dracaena Wines' 2013 Cabernet Franc vintage.  It needed to be aerated, so as it decanted, the scents and flavors opened up nicely. 


To the nose, it had aromas of spicy, dark fruits such as raspberries and dark cherry and fresh herbs. Spicy raspberries were also on the palate. In addition, it was earthy, peppery and smooth with soft tannins.  This Cabernet Franc was definitely full bodied, more so than expected. Dracaena's Cabernet Franc was 85% Cab Franc and 15% Petite Syrah, and aged for 2 years in French oak barrels.  


We paired this tasty Cabernet Franc with a boneless rib eye steak and sweet potato fries. Due to the full body of the wine, it supported the steak nicely. Other typical pairing options include steaks, hamburgers, stewed and roasted meats like lamb,beef or rabbit and dishes with robust red sauces.


We enjoyed our Cabernet Franc and certainly deem it worthy of having its own day.  You can celebrate too.  To be apart of the conversation, join Dracaena Wines on #CabFrancDay on Twitter at 8pm/Eastern to show how much you #LoveCabFranc.

About The Wining Hour
The Wining Hour writes about wine, Italy and global travel.  The Wining Hour boutique caters to wine-lovers across the globe by offering all wine-related items.  The Wining Hour markets unique wine décor and furnishings, accessories, glassware, barware, wine racks, storage and cooling options, games, gifts and more. The Wining Hour also hosts #wininghourchat on Twitter (@wininghourchat) on Tuesday's at 9 p.m. EST.(For more, see links at the top of this page)

For more information, please visit www.thewininghour.com.­­­

Follow The Wining Hour: