NEW YORK (eTN) – It is cold in New York. It is time for fur coats and mulled red wine. It is cold enough for skiing and saunas, bikinis and surfing.
The yen to leave town for slopes or surf is tempered with the sadness that many who live in New York and New Jersey continue to be shell-shocked from the body blows dealt by Sandy followed by a quick assault one week later from a Nor’easter named Athena. Picture The Day After Tomorrow (think rain instead of snow) and you will have a vague idea of what took place in these heavily-populated urban centers and suburbs.
Nonetheless, even in the middles of a disaster, a glass of a Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, or Muscadelle (for those who prefer white wines) or perhaps a Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc (for those with a red preference), a goblet or carafe of Bordeaux can make the world appear a bit nicer.
Who drinks wine
Research indicates that most wine in the United States is consumed by adult college educated who live in the suburbs.
Research by The Wine Market Council (2009) found that 3 out of 10 American adults drink wine (30 percent). This translates into approximately 65 million adults. Over half (51 percent) of these wine consumers drink wine weekly or more frequently and are considered core wine drinkers. Just less than half (49 percent) drink wine less often than once a week, but at least once every 2 or 3 months and are considered marginal wine drinkers.
A 2012 Gallup poll of 1014 people over the age of 18 found that women drink more wine the men (52 percent) and people over the age of 55 consume more wine than their younger colleagues. A study by Mindset Media and the Ros Taylor Group studied men and drinking. The study found that men drinking wine are likely to be college graduates, mature, discerning, and organized as well as unadventurous and risk averse.
Most wine drinkers are Caucasian (86 percent), with African-Americans and Asian-Americans representing only 5 percent of the market. Hispanics represent 3 percent of the wine market and Native Americans form 1 percent of the market. The study by the Wine Market Council (2009) found that most wine drinkers live in the suburbs (47 percent), while one-third are urban dwellers (31 percent) and 21 percent live in rural areas. Most wine drinkers attended college, 34 percent completed an undergraduate degree and 17 percent completed post-graduate work.
International Wine Consumption
The wealthy and almost rich in China are consuming the most high-end Bordeaux wines while Vatican City residents have the highest per capita consumption in the world (55 liters per person per year). The French (no longer big wine consumers) are imbibing only 45 liters a year – less than a glass a day, and the Italians are consuming a bit more than 40 liters per year.
Drink Merlot for good health
In a small 2012 Spanish study (covered in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition), researchers followed 10 healthy middle-aged men and after 35 days determined that the men drinking Merlot (or other low-alcohol red wine) had a larger percentage of beneficial gut bacteria, lower blood pressure, decreased triglyceride levels, HDL cholesterol, and C-reactive protein.
Wine drinking is also good for women. In a study published in the journal Menopause, and led by Urszula Iwaniec of Oregon State University, the more the wine women drank within the moderate range, the better their bone health.
A study by the University of Florence, Italy (2008) determined that women who drank two glasses of wine daily had a better sex life than non-drinkers. A study by Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital showed that women regularly drinking a moderate amount of alcohol, particularly red wine, were less likely to have long-term weight gain than non-drinkers
When to Drink Wine? Whenever!
A study of 800 wine drinkers (conducted by Wine Options) found that 25 percent of the wine consumed was enjoyed without food; however, wine was consumed during the preparation of food (14 percent) as well as with appetizers and snacks (19 percent). Most wine is consumed away from the table and more wine is consumed on weekends (Friday and Saturday) then during the week.
Over the weekends, wine is consumed with dinner (42 percent), before dinner (24 percent), and after dinner (23 percent). People who dined at restaurants consumed 60 percent of their wine with dinner, 20 percent could not wait for dinner and ordered wine before the meal (75 percent selected white wine), while 10 percent ordered wine as they waited for dinner to be served, or after dinner – before leaving the restaurant.
Bordeaux wines to drink. Going RED
To remember the red grapes of the Bordeaux vineyard think Merlot (62 percent by area), Cabernet Sauvignon (25 percent), and Cabernet Franc (12 percent).
Merlot is planted everywhere in Bordeaux and thrives in cool soil. The outcome of the process is a smooth wine of beautiful deep color that releases roasted aromas and mouth/brain memories of red fruit (think plums), violets, oranges, and figs (when left to age in the bottle for several years). It is perfectly paired with beef, hearty chicken dishes, red pasta selections, and chocolate. Served best at 64 degrees F.
There are 122 calories in one 5-fluid oz. serving of Merlot, with up to 12 percent of those calories coming from carbohydrates. This translates to about 13.7 carbohydrate calories per serving, or 4 grams of carbohydrates.
The Cabernet Sauvignon grows best in gravely soil and the small grapes are dark blue in color. The grape yields magnitudes of WOW flavor backed by substantial tannins. The outcome is a red wine that is flavorful with hints of liquorice, black currants, black cherry, chocolate, and peppers. It ages well in oak barrels which lead to its characteristic toasty flavor.
Cab enjoys the company of fillet steak with foie gras and truffles, Korean-style beef stir-fried in garlic, soy, and sesame; Texas barbecue, and roasted eggplant with tomato and basil ragout.
Each 5-oz. serving of cabernet sauvignon contains 122 calories with 15.28 calories from carbohydrates.
The Cabernet Franc grape thrives in sandy chalky soil. Although it is similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, the Cabernet Franc grape buds and ripens approximately one week earlier than neighboring grapes. The plantings of these grapes “insures” wine makers against bad weather conditions close to harvest time as an inclement climate may damage Cabernet Sauvignon plantings. The vine is vigorous, upright and dark-green, with 5-lobed leaves. The dark-blue thin skinned berries are small in size.
Cabernet Franc produces wines with pronounced notes of raspberries, black currants, and violets with slightly less tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine often leaves a smoother finish on the tongue.
The wine should not be swirled, but rather enjoyed as it lays quietly in the class. It can be served at a temperature between 65-70 degrees and enjoyed with food, after dinner, and before dessert. Recommended pairings include pizza with black olives, roast chicken and potato kugel, as well as Anjou pears and blue cheese.
Go Bordeaux White
This is considered the most important variety for dry white wines. Sauvignon Blanc with its distinctive aroma conjures up citrus fruits and green grass. The fully-fruity style (with no oak influence) charmingly teases the tongue with hints of grapefruit, lemon, melons, and gooseberry. The grassier style brings back memories of lush green meadows and herbs.
Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with Caesar Salad and fried chicken as well as oysters, clams, and grilled shrimp. A 5 fluid ounce glass of Sauvignon Blanc deliver 119 – 121 calories and 2.0+ carbohydrates. This wine should be served at a temperature between 43-48 degrees F.
Our thanks to the Semillon grape – for without it we would not have the most expensive and famous desert wine in the world – Chateau d’Yquem. This grape is likely to be a component of dry white wines as well. It is the noble rot (Botrytis Cinerea) that attacks the Semillon grape and concentrates its sugars and flavors thereby creating an intense aroma for Yquem and other late-harvest dessert wines (think apricots and honey).
The thin-skinned Semillon grape ripens early. The berry is dark yellow and may have a pink hue in warm areas. Because it is thin-skinned it may burn in hotter climates. Some Semillon suggests an aroma of figs but most have a short finish. These grapes can develop a “finish” in the bottle. An aged Semillon may develop a rich hazelnut aroma with a long finish after 10 years in the bottle. Try it paired with duck breast strips and sesame sauce, marinated chicken wings with soy or scallop kebabs.
A glass of Semillon brings with it 122 calories and 4.5 g of carbs along with 0.1 g of protein.
Muscadelle is noticed because the grapes produce a wine that is dry and sweet. The grape is delicate but delivers an intense and flowery mouth experience. Some compare the aroma to grape juice and raisins. Because of its POW, it is used in small quantities (not more than 5 percent) to add bouquet to sweet wines. It is known for having a slightly acid structure and can add a musky note to the wine experience. Muscadelle ripens early and has an irregular yield and prone to rot.
Get the Glass: My Viewpoint
Finally we can get to the best part of the wine experience, the drinking. At a recent Bordeaux tasting I felt like Columbus discovering America. I had a few OMG experiences, and here is my view:
Chateau des Leotins (2009)
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc
Գին: $ 8.99
Very cherry! Amazing flavor of ripe (almost overripe) cherries; think cherry cough syrup. This is not for a sophisticated palette; however, for those who enjoy a cherry soda and want something sweet that is not a dessert, this wine is perfect.
Chateaux L’Insoumise (2008)
Grape: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec
Գին: $ 15.00
This is more complex than less expensive choices; there is the barest hint of cherry combined with a suggestion of almond. The hue ranges from pink to cherry wood red. Look forward to a clean finish and no tannins. A major player with steak and roast beef.
Chateau de Sales
Grape: Merlot, Cabernet Franc or Bouchet, Cabernet Sauvignon
Գին: $ 34.99
Cut out Starbucks and lunch, walk to work – but somehow find the way to pay the price for this Pomerol… you will want to taste the difference that makes this complex Pomerol and everything else. Taste the ruby redness of the Chateau de Sales that triggers memories of real vine grown cherries. Marvelous with goat cheese and walnut salad.
Chateau Ferrande (2011)
Grape: Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon
Գին: $ 19.99
Even the smallest sip brings a vision of tall grasses, mountain lakes, and snow-capped mountains. A peek through the glass delivers the image of white stephanotis on a bridal bouquet. Plan to enjoy this delicate tasting experience with an afternoon of smoked white fish salad, a peasant bread, and fresh farm butter.
My next taste-based travel experience is to the Pays d’Oc vineyard that stretches along the Mediterranean Sea and spans four departments in the Languedoc-Roussillion and 6 communities in the Lozere.