Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays

An awesome time at the Vineyards of Torres Wines

The Long tradition of wine making from the Torres Family

While in Barcelona for a few days on work, I was invited to go on a wine tasting tour at La Torres Winery. What do you think I responded, when asked if I wanted to go or not? Well of course I said that I would definitely go! Boy was it the most awesome time at their huge and impressive vineyards, vinification center, cellars and wine tasting place!

The train takes you to a few of their vineyards and the wine guide explains in a lot of detail, certain processes, climate, temperature, topography and so much more. Their vineyards have been spanning through a lot of different areas in Spain, which has given them the amazing amount of different flavors and wine textures.

Established in 1870 by Jaime Torres, the 5th generation of the Torres family now takes great care of the huge and successful wine company that they have created. Torres wines are extremely popular around Europe, and wether you are a wine connoiseur or someone that enjoys wine while eating at a restaurant, you have for sure come across wines from Torres.

That was one of the few reasons I was excited to visit them, as Torres wines were a few of my first wines that I had grabbed hold of at home in Malta.

The cellars and the vinification systems were stupendous, and the undergound cellar was spectacular. I wanted to set a desk and a bed right there, so that I could work and sleep in front of that gorgeous view.

However, it was time for our wine tasting, and the venue and the view did not disappoint again. We started with the whites.

There were 3 whites, but the Las Mulas stood out for me with its rich taste. It could fo very well with most fish dishes amd lean white meat. I loved it, just as I loved their rose wine. It was so fresh and had a great berry taste.

Next, was 4 red wines. Yesss!! Red is my favorite, and I could say that they were all my favorite. There uniques taste were all do satisfying to the palatte. The Rioja wines were amazing and Celeste was a team favorite.

It was time to leave this beautiful place, but I wouldn’t think twice to going again and experience it all over again.

Happy Wednesday!

Cheers!

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays

Wine and Pizza? Yep.. Wine and Pizza

Wine Pairing with Pizza

There are hundreds of different pizzas and thousands of different wines. Wine is the best with pizza. Better than beer or liquor. What wine is best for your pizza?

The majority of the different styles of pizza go much better with red wine, and the type of red wine that is quite strong, full bodied and a strong taste. The only pizzas that also go great with white wine, rose or a less strong red wine, is the White pizza (meaning, more cheese and no red sauce), Hawain and Margarita. Pizzas with red sauce are higher in acidity, so the wine becomes more important with having an also strong taste, and have a full body like a Syrah and a Grenache. 


The classic Pepperoni goes well with Sangiovese or Cabernet Franc. These types of very strong wines are important since the fat from the pepperoni has a very strong flavor and it spreads its flavor on the cheese. These wines are great to counterbalance its strong flavor. If you opt for the simple Margarita, then you need a dry Rose. The ingredients are light, so a heavy and full body wine will not go too well with your Margarita. 


White Pizza is on the rise, and has become the first choice instead of the traditional (red sauce) pizza. White pizza is actually my favorite. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir love cream, and go extremely well with white Pizza. It depends if you prefer white or red wine. I always prefer the red, so Pinot does it for me.
Whichever Pizza you prefer, just remember that there is a wine that will enhance your experience. Many pizzerias, in the Mediterranean especially, also have their own House wine. It’s normally very good, but don’t hesitate to ask them what type of wine it is, so that you have an excellent Pizza and wine experience!

Cheers!

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays

Mulled Wine

It’s that time of the year were your wine should be served HOT!

Wine is celebrated everywhere and all the time for many different occasions, celebrations and events. There is never a moment were you go to any of those events and wine is not there. Wine is my drink of choice 99% of the time, and since it is only a few days before Christmas, and many events and family and friends parties are already underway, I wanted to share with you a personal favorite for this time of the year, which is Mulled Wine.

What is Mulled Wine?

Mulled wine is more than simply wine that has been heated. The ingredients that make up the Mulled Wine can vary between 1 recipe to the other, but they all have a few of the same ingredients. I love to make the one by Jamie Oliver. I love his food and his take on food and drink. This is what I put into my Mulled wine that me and many of my family and friends love to drink.


*2 bottles of rich red wine (preferably a blend, chianti, shiraz)

*1 lemon, 1 lime & 2 clementines (some also use oranges)

*200g caster sugar (you can always use sweetner for less calories)

*6 whole cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 star anise

*3 fresh bay leaves

*1 whole nutmeg (for grating)


Start with the fruit first – the lemon, lime, clementines or oranges. Then continue with the cloves, cinnamon, star anise and bay leaves. After you simmer and they are already getting quite hot, and the smell is already amazing, pour the wines and the sugar. Keep on tasting it while stirring and blending everything. Don’t forget the nutmeg and grate it while you are stirring. Make sure everything is well blended and that it is hot enough.


Get a few mugs and cozy up with your freshly made Mulled wine, sip it slow and drink in moderation! Enjoy!

Cheers and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays

Wines from New Zealand

The Country Producing Amazing Wines for all of us to Enjoy

New Zealand is fairly new to Wine Production, however, its popularity is getting bigger by the day. There are four main wine-making regions in the country and they are mostly located on the Eastern Coastlines of the North and South islands. By time, they now have distinguished sub-regions as well, to name a few; Nelson, Aukland, Waikato, Waitaki Valley, Gisborne and more. 

The temperate climates of New Zealand allow a wide variety of wine to be produced from Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Syrah, Pino Noir and several amazing Blends. The largest vineyards are no longer than 80 miles, with long sunshine hours and cool nights from the sea breeze. You hear a lot of people ask for New Zealand wines when it comes to White, and their Syrah and Blends are some of the best ones that I have tasted.

Production, because of demand, has increased, and thanks to worldwide shipping and buying, you are able to find several New Zealand wines in stores, wines shops and restaurants. The sustainable Winegrowing program in New Zealand is there to ensure constant improvement and adherance to certain guidelines issued by the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV). It ensures that it meets its measures and helping its businesses thrive. Think of certain European countries like France and Italy where they have the DOC and their own regulations for wine in different regions and standards they need to follow and meet. 

In 2002, New Zealand’s Felton Road 1997 Pino Noir was declared one of the top 3 wines during a bling wine tasting. Their Syrah and Chardonnay, follow in their uniqueness and great taste. A brand that is extremely well known around the world is Kim Crawford wines, especially the white ones, as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blac are extreely popular and exquisite due to the versatility of their grapes. Their top quality Chardonnay can npw be found in every region.

 I urge you to go and try some New Zealand wines and assure you, that you won’t be disappointed! I raise a glass to you. Cheers!

Managing Mondays

Managing Mondays

Leading by Example

Your Employees are the Result of You

Just like young kids absorbing everything their mother or father does, your new employees, whether they were there before you with another manager, or are new to the company, they will consciously and subconsiously absort the traits of their leader.

I always stress how important it is to lead by example. If you are always shouting at your team when they do something not up to company’s standards, they will start shouting at each ther and at the guests or customers. If you treat them nicely, positively, and take time to guide them through the processes and a step by step explanation, they will take their time with the guests and with each other. Even with you. If you don’t treat them right, they are not going to treat you right eventually either.

You need to create an environment where respect is visible, attention to detail and positivety is apparent. It all starts from you. It starts from the top. Whenever I visit a team on a cruise ship or hotel especially and notice certain traits from the team that are not so good, I always try to see how their manager works, acts and reacts. If a manager for example is not attentive to the team’s questions, requests and so on, they will in time act the same, whether they are getting training by someone, attending a meeting or even with their customers or guests. 

You need to always think as their leader, that they are watching your every move, seeing how you talk, how you deal with escalated issues, your time management, your precision, your work ethic, you positivety, your reaction to certain action, how you respond to difficult questions, how you act in really difficult situations, and so much more. Think. Think for a second. How would you like to see them work? That is exactly how you should work. If you blow up and get visibly upset when dealing with an angry customer, don’t expect your team to deal with the same situation in a different way. Don’t kid yourself and pull them to the side or have a meeting with them to see why they acted that way if you do the same.

Be the better Manager. Be the Better Leader. Show them how the work should be done, and you won’t have too many situations with your team. Always Lead by Example. It is one of the items I always focus on in all of the training that I give with different types of teams and Managers. Leaders and Managers are all different, but leading by example should be the same.

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Tasting

How Can you Learn from Wine Tasting?

If like me, you like to learn about wine and are always in search of getting to know new wines and flavors, wine tastings are very beneficial.

There are several different styles of wine tasting, however, it is protocol to have a few wine samples provided from the same producer or the same winery, or even different samples of whites, reds, blends and rosés. Wine tasting is the sensory examination and evaluatuon of wine and became more popular after the 14th Century.

There are 4 Stages to Wine Tasting. First is the appearance of the wine, the color and thickness, then, the aroma of the wine in the glass, hence why you smell the wine before you taste. Thirdly is the in mouth sensation; what is the flavor, what hints does it have and how much does it appeal to your pallatte. Lastly, is the after taste. I am a big fan of the after taste. I find it very important that after I drink the first sip, that the after taste is very prominent.

By evaluating those four steps, by practise and knowledge, you will start being able to establish the complexity and character of the wine, its potential to be suitable for aging or drinking, and any possible faults. During several wine tastings, you will be able to compare the quality of wine and thier price with others, the region and counrty of the wine, their type of fermentation and aging and even any remarkable or unusual characteristics. 

Some more complex wine tastings happen blindly, called Blind tasting, especially when someone is trying to purchase wine for their esytablishement. They might have favorites and in order to not be biased, they will taste them without knowing the making and the winery.

Wine Tastings are definitely beneficial and are provided in every country and region. It helps you grow your wine knowledge and to make great choices when you are choosing your wines. If you are doing it for fun, it is a great social builder and a friend and team builder, however don’t expect to go there and start drinking out of control. It is only a sip or two each wine, so that you can evaluate new and interesting wines.

Go on, try a wine tasting near you and I guarantee you would want to go on more! Cheers!

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays

How Long does it Take to Make Wine?

A little look at the time spent to produce that bottle of wine that you love so much

Wine making is not a simple “I want to make some wine and drink it” type of thing. It can take up to between 3 to 5 years to produce the bottle the wine for you to enjoy. As an example, if you have recently bought a field to fill it with vines, you are not going to be able to profit from it until 3 to 5 years time after you start. Same as when unfortunately vineyards get wrecked from fires or even an infestation of pestes and disease. The winemakers need to start from scratch.

Winemaking is a very creative process and unique to many factors like the winemakers themselves, terroir, climate, grapes and so much more.

The first process is Planting and assessing the soil, climate and also planting smaller amounts of other grape for blending purposes. The vineyard manager needs to decide how to form the rows of vines and their spacing. After that, the winery needs to patiently wait for the first harvest, however during thoses years, the young vines need a lot of attention like protecting them agains pests and pruning.

After about 3 years, comes the dormacy stage. At this time, the vineyard will produce full bunches of grapes. In the winter the vines are dormant and without foliage, but as the roots would have gone deep down into the soil, the vines are feeding on the nutrients needed. As the vines are dormant, it is time to prune. Pruning is highly important in ensuring to produce good quality wine.

As the vines emerge from dormacy, around March, the first buds start to appear. This is called Bud break. Most grapevines self-pollinate and after that fruit set occurs. Diring this time, the workers need to control the amount of sunlight and air that the fruit clusters receive. Some vines will pollinate and some will not. Fruit clusters are also inspected at this time, as well as canopy management.

After that, the green looking grapes turn ino plump juicy grape clusters. This is called Veraison. And after all that comes the Harvest. The warmer the temperatures, the faster the ripening. It is the flavor profile of the grape that determines the pick date. Harvesting normally starts very early in the morning as the air is cooler. We still don’t have the wine by now. What happenes after the grapes are picked? The winemaking process begins; crushing, pressing and primary fermantation are the next steps. After primary fermantation, the wine is taken from the fermantation tank to another one for aging. There are so many differet practises and ways how to do this dependig on the winemaker and the winery. 

The winemakers will taste the wine frequently to ensure the right flavor, and finally, after all those steps, comes the bottling and the drinking!
Cheers! I raise a glass to you!

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Glass Holding Etiquette

How should you hold a wine glass?

When one starts studying about wine, they will come across certain ettiquette of how to hold wine glasses, different wine glass shapes, swirling, tasting, smelling, spitting and so on and so forth. I have often heard people say during some gatherings or parties, to someone holding the wine glass the right way, that they are snobbish or that they want to show off, or “why so sophisticated?” Well, wine has a sense of sophistication, elaborateness, luxury and class, so yeah, holdng a wine glass the right way is kind of important for some. 

However, there is a far more important reason why you should hold the wine from the stem. Yes there are stemless glasses and those are held the same way you hold a regular glass. However, wine glasses with a stem are still the most popular. The main reason you should hold the wine glass from the stem is that it keeps the wine cool, especially the white. Your hands hold and carry warm temperatures, and holding the wine glass from the bowl, where the wine lays and not from the stem, can warm its temperature, and hence, the real taste of the wine to be enjoyed. Another reason is also social appearance, meaning there are no greasy finger and palm prints on the bowl.


There are certain ways how to hold it from the stem, whether its from its middle, at the very bottom of the stem, or part on the bottom of the stem and part on the base (saucer-like bit). Each and everyone of them is correct. Don’t forget to swirl the wine though before, as it can be a little hard to swirl it if you are holding it at the base of the stem! Don’t worry if you are not used to holding it that way, because thruth is, you can hold it any way you like, as long as you are enjoying the smell, taste and after taste. I do reccomend though to try it out, and it certainly looks much nicer on your hand.

Cheers to all the wine drinkers. I raise a glass to you (from the stem) hehehe 🙂

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays

Red and White Wine

What is the Difference between the Reds and the Whites?

Apart from the obvious color of the wine and the color of the grapes (even though there are certain grapes for white wine that are dark), there are many other differences to red and white wines. One of the biggest component is something called Tannins. Red wine usually has a higher amount of tannins than white wine. Apart from the color that the higher tannins give to the red wine, it also influences the flavor of the wine.

How are Red and White Wines made?

Red Wines are made by fermenting the grape juice as well as the skins most of the time, pieces of the grapes and also a few of their skins. Due to the fermentation process including actual parts of the grapes, it gives the wine its darker color.

White Wines are made from pressing out the juice from the grapes, and fermenting the juice only.

Tannins are found in the skin of the grapes, seeds, plants, barks, wood leaves and even other types of fruit. Tannins sort of have an astingent profile. These give the red wine a more dry feeling when consumed.

Another difference between Red Wine and White Wine is the Alcohol Content. The alcohol content comes from the sugar that is present in the grapes. During the fermentation process, this sugar turns into alcohol and since red wine grapes have a higher sugar content as they are picked when they are more ripe, this results in Red wine having a higher alcohol content. The body of the wine, or in simple terms, the feel and texture in the mouth, is also different between red and white wines. Red wines usually have more body because of the alcohol content, the amount of tannins and the procees of fermentation.

Red wines are more compex than White wines in their taste. White wines tend to be lighter, and have more of a crisp and floral flavor. There are a few people that will only drink Red wines and some that prefer White ones. If you are looking for a lighter taste and fewer calories and sugar content, you should go for the White wines. Red wine is famous for being good for your health if you drink one glass of wine in the evening.

Which do you prefer? Red or White? Or both? Or does it depend on the weather and occasion?

Cheers!

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays

Wine and their Terroirs

What is a Terroir and what does that mean for wine?

More and more people everyday are choosing to try different wines and try to get to know differet flavors. There are many things to look for in wine when trying to compare, in order to build a repertoir of wines that you have drunk. You rate the smell, taste, texture, flavor, after-taste, boldness, acidity and so on. By time, one can also anticipate how certain wines from a certain country or even better “terroir” will taste, obviously, depending on the type of vine and grape that the vine has, i.e: whether a wine is a blend, cab, merlot and so on. So what does Terroir have to do with the taste, boldness and aroma of the wine?
Terroir

Terroir is a region’s climate (cool or warm climate), terrain and soil, and also a lot of tradition of how to make wine from that particular region. Talking about terroir brings you closer to the region. As an example, France and Italy have a lot of regions, so you cannot simply say this wine is from Italy, but rather that this wine is from the Veneto region, or from the Emiglio Romana region, and so on and so forth. Same as in New Zealand for example; the Aukland region or the Waitaki Valley region. You hear people say that they love wines from New Zealand or from France or Argentina, however with Terrior, one is being more specific.

Terrior- Climate

Climate for wine is basically split in 2. Either cool or warm. Grapes from warmer climates produce higher sugar levels, whereas the cooler climates produce lower levels of sugar and retain more acidity. Napa Valley wines are different from the Bordeaux region wines for example due to the warmer and cooler clomates.

Terrior- Soil

I’m sure that many of you have seen vineyards from somewhere; either at a wine tasting in a vineyard, or in a car driving by. Soil is the base of the vineyard, in huge long big fields. Soil is very old in many regions and in it, there’s a lot of rock and mineral deposits. There are hundreds of different soils all over he world. Some vineyards have up to 6 different soils in them. As water or rain flows through the vineyards, into the soil and their roots, difference in tastes for different wines can be produced.


Terrior- Terrain 

Altitide is highly important in the quality of wine, as is certain geological features like mountains, valleys, flora and fauna and so much more. There are also links between high altitude vineyards and great quality aging wines. Mendoza in Argentina has very high altitude vineyards. We all know how amazing wines from Mendoza Argentina are. 

Terrior- Tradition

Some wineries use very old and traditional wine making procedures. Some work with highly advanced technology, or incorporate the two together. Many regions have many different wine making systems, and this along with climate, soil, terrain, vines and so much more, bring us the hundreds of thousands of different wines to satisfy everyone’s palate.

Next time you grab hold of a bottle of wine, make sure to read and see what region it is made from and what type of aromas, fruits, flowers and nuts it embodies. See if you can smell and taste these, and start learning more about the wines you are drinking.

Cheers!