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5 Hacks to Make Your Wine Taste Better

Wine Hacks | www.drinks.ng

While most people are down to drinking a glass of wine anytime, not all wine drinkers love the sweet-sour taste of wines.

Should the taste deter you from drinking wine? We don’t think it should. As much as wine is a distinct alcohol of repute, you can always switch up the taste to favour your palate.

Here are five (5) simple hacks to change the taste of your wine for the better:

  • Soda is always welcome

Adding soda to your wine gives it a semi-sangria feeling and makes it taste better. Make sure both the soda and the red wine are of the same quantity, pour on ice and garnish with a slice of lemon.

  • Pineapple has magic

A glass of white wine rose wine, or sparkling wine can benefit a great deal from the addition of pineapples. Cut your pineapple into triangular chunks and add them to your glass of wine for that extra hint of sweetness.

  • Hello Lemonade!

You can enjoy your glass of white wine with a twist of lemon by adding equal parts lemonade and wine in a glass over ice. Garnish it with a wedge of lemon for the extra citrusy feeling.

  • Use the Freezer

Have you ever tried freezing your wine? That is a whole new level of enjoying wine. Simply pour your wine into an ice cube tray, add 2 tablespoons of simple syrup and freeze. Once it’s frozen, you have for yourself a beautiful wine-y dessert to tell your friends about. Don’t shy away from garnishing with citrus or another fruit of your choice.

  • Bring in the blender

Wines generally taste better when they are well aerated. So where you do not own a traditional wine aerator, bring in the blender. Pour your bottle’s content into a blender, and turn it on. let it blend for a minute or two, then serve. Your wine will come out tasting better than before.

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Do You Know Major Types of White Wines?

As you should already know, white wine is wine produced by the alcoholic fermentation of the non-coloured pulp of grapes, which may have a skin of any colour.

White wines themselves could be straw-yellow, yellow-green, or yellow-gold. Knowing white wine styles by variety and production area would help with better understanding and appreciating them. Some white wine grape variety could produce dry white wine or sweet white wine. Others could be made bubbly or still.

When only one variety is mentioned on the label, the wine is called a “varietal” and is named after the grape with a capital initial. Varietal wines primarily bring the fruit to bear, because how the wine tastes much depends on the grape variety. Below are seven major white wines styles by variety and production area:

Chardonnay

Chardonnay has been the most popular white grape since the 1990s. Pronounced “shar-do-nay”, it can be made sparkling or still. This grape variety is a great choice for fish, including salmon, and chicken dishes. Chardonnay makes the principle white wine of Burgundy (Bourgogne, France), where it originated. It’s quite versatile and grown successfully in most viticultural areas under a variety of climatic conditions. Still, it only amounts to 2% of the world vine areas. Total chardonnay vines cover more than 160,000 hectares (400,000 acres). As at 2005, the biggest states were:

  1. U.S.A.: California: 44,509 ha; Oregon and Washington state: 3,200 ha
  2. France: 35,252 ha
  3. Australia: 22,528 ha
  4. Italy: 11,800 ha
  5. Moldavia: 6,000 ha
  6. South Africa: 8,000 ha
  7. Chile: 7,500 ha
  8. Argentina: 5,155 ha

Chardonnay wines are often wider-bodied and more velvety than other types of dry whites, with rich citrus flavours. When fermented in new oak barrels, chardonnay adds buttery tones of vanilla, toast, coconut, and toffee for instance.

Sauvignon Blanc

Pronounced “so-veen-yawn blah”, sauvignon blanc is grown in the Bordeaux region where it is blended with Semillon, but the Loire Valley and New Zealand also produce some excellent sauvignon blanc varietals. Some Australian Sauvignon Blancs, grown in warmer areas, tends to be flat and lack fruity qualities. Sauvignon blanc usually shows a herbal character suggesting bell pepper or freshly mown grass. The dominating flavours range from sour green fruits of apples, pears and gooseberries through to tropical fruits of melon, mango and blackcurrant. Sauvignon blanc is significantly versatile, paired best with seafood, poultry, and salads.

Semillon

Sémillon is the major white grape in the Bordeaux region of France. It’s also known as hunter (river riesling), boal/bual of Madeira, Chevrier, Colombier, Malaga and blanc doux. Sémillon is also grown in Chile, Argentina, Australia, and California. The Sémillon wine varietal usually features distinct fig-like character.  This white wine type is often blended with sauvignon blanc to delimit its strong berry-like flavours. It goes with fish, but dry Sémillon pairs well with clams, mussels, and pasta salad. Sémillon is pronounced “say-mee-yaw”.

Moscato

Moscato (mos-cato) is grown in most vine-friendly climates, including Italy, the Rhône Valley, where it is called Muscat Blanc à petits grains, and Austria, where it is called Muskateller. The variety belongs to the Muscat family of grapes along with Moscatel and muscat ottonel. Often sweet and always fruity with a characteristic grape-fruity and musky aroma, Moscato wines are easily recognised by people who have tasted a Muscat table grape. It is best enjoyed on its own, but sweet Moscato wines pair well with dessert.

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is planted extensively in the Venezia and Alto Adige regions of Italy. It’s also grown in the western coastal regions of the United States of America. Pinot Grigio is called “Malvoisie” in the Loire Valley and “pinot gris” in the rest of France. In Germany and Austria, pinot grigio is known as “Ruländer” or “Grauer Burgunder”. Similar aliases are used in the German-settled regions of Australia. Pronounced “pee-no gree-zo’, this is one of the most versatile of the white wine variety. It is typically crisp on the palate. The dry pinot grigio wines with good acid “bite” usually come from Italy and Germany. Oregon or Alsace Pinot Gris offers aromatic, fruity flavours.

Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer (Gah-vurtz-tra-meener) is most popular in wines from Alsace, Germany, the United States West Coast, and New York. It’s known as a considerably aromatic variety. The varietal wines have fruity flavours with aromas of rose petals, peaches, lychees, and allspice. A Gewürztraminer is generally considered not as refreshing as other types of dry whites. This is ideal for sipping. It pairs perfectly with Asian food, pork and grilled sausages.

Riesling

The classic German grape of the Rhine and Mosel, Riesling grows in all wine regions. Germany’s great Rieslings are usually made slightly sweet, with steely acidity for balance. Riesling from Alsace and the Eastern United States is also fantastic, though usually made in a different style, equally aromatic but typically drier. California Rieslings are much less successful, usually sweet without sufficient acidity for balance.

Riesling wines are much lighter than Chardonnay wines. The aromas usually include fresh apples. The riesling variety expresses itself very differently depending on the district and the winemaking. A riesling should taste fresh. If it does, then it might also prove tastier and tastier as it ages.

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7 Reasons Why Wine is the Drink of Romance

Wine and Romance | www.drinks.ng

“Wine is romantic, intoxicating and built on passion that begins in the vineyard and ends in the glass… or perhaps ends in the intoxicating rush you get when you sip a spicy, silky, brooding red with your love… or the object of your affection,” says Ian Devereaux White.

Wines have always been linked to love or classified as a drink that intensifies romance. From romance stories to poems and simple quotes, wines have featured alongside romance or romantic lovers.

In a common setting, if you were to ask a hopeless romantic or even the most unfeeling of persons what the perfect setting for a romantic evening is, wine is bound to be mentioned eight out of ten times.

But why is wine considered as the drink of romance?

We surfed around and found seven (7) reasons why.

It is sweet

Romance is sweet, and so is wine. Whether it is red wine, rose or white wines, or even the recently popular Moscato, wines leave a pleasant feeling on the palate. Notes of fresh fruits and refreshing warmth are enough to set the romantic sides of us on fire.

Wine is beautiful

Be it in a bottle or in a glass, wines look beautiful at all times. Couple all that beauty with petals of flower and boxes of chocolate and you are sure to win over your lover again and again.

Wine affects you the same way love does

Scientists have confirmed that alcohol (wine) has the same effect on the body like love does. When a man and a woman are in love, the body releases Oxytocin also known as “love hormones.” These hormones play a role in making us desire body-to-body contact. Scientists at Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews found out that the same feelings oxytocin gives us is similar to the feeling we get from drinking wine.

Wine names are romantic

Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or whatever other types of wine you introduce to your woman, you will always sound classy; and classy is romantic. Those beautiful wine names open the door to a whole lot of romance, and if your significant other is interested in wines, knowing a little backstory will help you.

Wines are always a good pair

Wines make a good pair of anything you hope to serve or order on your romantic night out. Grilled meat, seafood, fish, barbecued chicken, local or continental dishes – whichever meal you are served, wine pairs well with all of them. You just have to select the right type of wine to suit the occasion.

Beauty Enhancer

You have heard how red wine is good for the heart when taken in moderation. Well, not only is the heart the only beneficiary of the goodness of red grapes. The antioxidants in the grapes used in making wines help to even out the skin tone. No wonder Marilyn Monroe decided to take a bath in a tub filled with champagne.

The great sage, Ovid, in his 17 A.D. treatise entitled “The Art of Love” wrote about wine that:

It warms the blood, adds luster to the eyes, and wine and love have ever been allies.” 

It’s and Aphrodisiac

Many believe wine is an aphrodisiac, especially when paired with seafood. The aroma of certain wines is enough to put one’s passion in the speed lane. Talk more about having a sip of the wine running through your system. The pesky little chemical messengers called pheromones that can cause havoc in our minds and bodies.They pass information on to the brain, which may affect one’s state of mind, emotions, or mood. It is the reason behind that special feeling you get after having a glass of sweet wine; that feeling that just eases you into the right mood for a memorable night.

However, having too much of wine to drink may just put you in the mood, but render you incapable. So it is better to take in moderation. Even Shakespeare advises against having too much wine when Porter, in Act III of “Macbeth” proclaims:

“Ah, wine…it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance.”

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Which Type of Wine Drinker Are You?

Wine_drinkers | www.drinks.ng

Wine tasting is one of the oldest practices in the world. It is as old as wine production itself and usually involves a systematic procedure in order to properly evaluate the wine.

Tasting of wine usually occurs among connoisseurs, wine enthusiasts and wine makers. However, within the comfort of our homes or on dates in restaurants, each of us is a wine taster. While some of us just take regular sips of our wine, others go through  the “five S” steps – see, swirl, sniff, sip, and savour.

Also, some drinkers are attracted to brands, others are drawn to the taste while others will simply drink any type of wine placed before them. The underlining factor in drinking wine usually lies with the palate of the drinker.

A recent study by Tim Hanni MW has shown that there are mainly four types of wine drinkers according to palate differences and genetics. The study reveals the four ‘vinotypes’ to be sweet, hypersensitive, sensitive and tolerant.

So which type of wine drinker are you?

Sweet Wine Drinkers

Women populate this category because their genetically sweet palate. Sweet wine drinkers are highly selective with their wine choices. They usually end up with light and sweet wines of which rose wines are the most frequent of their choices. For the sweet wine drinker, wines that are either harsh or strong in taste are a turn off.

Hypersensitive Wine Drinkers

Hypersensitive wine drinkers go several steps ahead of the ones with sweet palates.These set of wine drinkers tend to be much more adventurous. Usually they are ready to try out new wines, but at the same time love clean styles. It is quite normal for the hypersensitive wine drinker to go for a wine that is not too loud on flavour.

Sensitive Wine Drinkers

According to Hanni’s study, sensitive wine drinkers are at the centre of the sensitivity spectrum. This is the category were majority of wine drinkers fall into.Sensitive wine drinkers are notably flexible, free-spirited, adaptable and adventurous. Whether it is a sweet wine, clean or strongly-flavoured, this category of wine drinkers are ready to have a sip. With these wine drinkers at your event, you do not have to bother about the style of wine you are serving as they go for any wine type on the menu.

Tolerant Wine Drinkers

Tolerant wine drinkers are the ones whose palates are suited to strong-flavoured wine types. These type of wine drinkers never say no to wines with intense and powerful flavours. For the tolerant wine drinker, the more rich and full-bodied a wine is, the more enjoyable it becomes. Tolerant wine drinkers are almost always in complete wonder as to why others settle for ‘wimpy’ wine styles.

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6 Amazing Ways to Recycle Your Old Wine Bottle

Wine Bottle Chandelier | www.drinks.ng

A bottle of wine is one of the most pleasurable sights in the world for the avid wine drinker. However, when the aromas have been released and the palate has been seduced, what happens to the wine bottles?

Do you throw them into the bin and let it be carted away with other waste, or do you just leave them in the backyard or store with a pile of other beverage bottles? Letting bottles of wine go to waste might not compare to pouring away a good Merlot wine, but it surely it is something too precious to waste.

How do you recycle old wine bottles?

There are a lot of creative ways to reuse your old wine bottles within your home rather than send it to the recycle company.

We are not talking about the typical Nigerian style of storing groundnuts in them or cooking oil. This has to do with creative recycling, and it requires a bit of work.

Below are some of the creative ways you can recycle your old wine bottles.

Turn it to a cup

You may have a lot of glass cups in your house already, but a glass cup made out of an old wine bottle is rare and special.

To get your glass cup from a wine bottle, all you need is to split the bottle into half. The up part can serve other purposes, but it is the bottom part that is readily available for holding a new liquid ( or liquor as you like it).

All you need to do is soak a piece of yarn in nail polish remover and tie it around the wine bottle. Light up the yarn using a lighter and let it burn all the way round for 10 – 15 seconds. Dip in a bowl of cold water and there you have your perfect split. Go ahead and smoother the edges with a chisel or sand paper and your glass cup is ready for use.

How about a chandelier?

Yes! How about a chandelier of old wine bottles? With the bottom half of your wine bottles already in the glass rack, the top half can serve as chandelier. You will need wires, bulbs, a board and a chain to hold up the board to the ceiling. String your light bulbs through the bottles – make sure the wires have been connected properly to the power source ( you might need an electrician here). Don’t shy away from using different colours of wine bottles as this would add some spice to your chandelier.

Flower Vase

Wine bottles can make amazing containers for growing your flowers. You can simply fill up the bottle with water and soil and put your flower into it. In other case, you can also cut your bottles in half and use either half to grow your flowers.

You can as well switch it up and use both halves of the bottle in growing your house plant. While the bottom half stores the soil and water, the upper half hold up the plant. Show your creativity by arranging them beautifully in and out of the house.

Path Liner

Wine bottles come in handy in demarcating your backyard garden from the footpath. All you need is to bury them neatly by the edges of your garden or field to ensure people do not step on the grass or plants while walking through. Ensure that none of the bottles are broken to avoid any injuries. Using different colours of bottles will add ornamental beauty to your footpath as well.

Toothpick Holder

Your wine bottles can become a toothpick holder in the dining. Imagine the beauty of picking out food particles from your teeth after enjoying a meal of roast paired with a lovely Chardonnay wine. Split the mouth of your old wine bottle in a slant, chisel for smoothness and use the cork or cover to seal it. Place your toothpicks in them and it is set for use.

Candle Holder

Wine is already considered as the drink of romance. Why not go above the top by having a romantic dinner lit up with candles in old wine bottles? There are several ways to create your candle holder. Simply putting the candle through the mouth of the bottle is the most common. However, you can split your wine bottle in half, use the upper part to hold the candle, while the bottom part (with the base cut open) can protect the candle light from wind.

 

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Quick Guide To Understanding Chardonnay

Understanding Chardonnay | www.drinks.ng

Quick Guide To Understanding Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine. It originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France, but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand.

Chardonnay is the most popular white wine on earth. It was born in the Burgundy region of France, where it is known as White Burgundy, and it was there that the wine became really popular for its elegance. Due to Chardonnay’s popularity, winemakers in the Champagne region began to grow the grape as well, using it as a major ingredient for their sparkling wines.

While grown in the same country, the Chardonnay grapes took on a very different characteristic in Champagne than they had in Burgundy. Winemakers began to realize that the grape had a unique knack for truly embodying the region and area where the wine is grown. No two places that grow Chardonnay produce the exact same wine, yet every region finds it is relatively easy to grow. This discovery is what helped the grape quickly spread across the world.

As the grape spread, winemakers discovered that warm climates would produce a Chardonnay grape that was ripe and full of tropical flavors, while in cooler climates the grape had flavors of apple as well as earthy fall aromas such as mushrooms and the smell of fallen leaves. With the variety of different Chardonnays that can be produced around the world, wine drinkers literally have a Chardonnay for every season and occasion. This worldwide variety allows Chardonnay to go extremely well on its own while sitting outside in the summer, or even on a cold winter’s night with a hearty stew.

However, chardonnay started to get a bad repped because it was oaked for too long. This made the wine to have a heavy buttery taste that put many wine drinkers off.  A good way to avoid the liquid butter wine is simply to avoid Chardonnay that is made by any of the worldwide mega-producers or simply buy unoaked chardonnay.

sources- wikipedia, vinepair.com

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UNDERSTANDING WINE VARIETALS MADE EASY

Wine Varietals | www.drinks.ng

When wine shopping, it’s easy to get bamboozled by all the terms and fancy words that the experts throw around. So you decide to do a quick google search and only end up tangling yourself in web a of confusion. Honestly, navigating the wine world and learning all the phrases- what they mean, when they are used, what wines they are used for can get very exhausting. Take it from someone who has been there. To put you out of your misery, here is a list of wine varietals and what they mean. The descriptions given have been broken down to their simplest forms. We hope this helps!

Varietal simply means a wine made from a single grape variety and the varietal gives you information about what’s in the bottle.


Cabernet Sauvignon – This varietal is a full, rich red wine that goes well with heavier foods such as red meats, game and tomato-based sauces.
Pinot Noir is usually softer than Cabernet sauvignon, but with similar characteristics.
Merlot is one of the lighter reds, and it’s very popular.
Zinfandel is a strong red that’s a Californian specialty.
Syrah is one of the biggest reds, and the best are French and Australian.
Chardonnay is an elegant white with a nice buttery taste, and pairs well with chicken and creamy pasta sauces.
Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp white, great for sipping on hot days and pairing with fish.
Riesling is a sweeter white — the Germans make the best but the Californians are also good.

You should note that not all wines are made from a single grape varietal and it is possible to find blends.

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Wine 101 – What wine is made of

What Wine is Made of | www.drinks.ng

chemistry of wine

Wine 101 – What wine is made of

In its simplest terms, wine is made by fermenting grapes and pressing the liquid out. Winemaking or vinification, is the production of wine, starting with selection of the grapes or other produce and ending with bottling the finished wine. Although most wine is made from grapes, it may also be made from other fruits or plants. The science of wine and winemaking is known as oenology. A person who makes wine is traditionally called a winemaker or vintner.  However, the purpose of this post is to explain what wine is composed of and not the process of vinification.

So what is wine really composed of?

85% Water

There’s a reason for the ancient tradition of drinking wine besides the pleasure of its alcohol content: wine is mainly water. Long ago, wine was safer to drink than water because it was less prone to dangerous bacterial contamination. This was particularly true in warm regions where water was rarer could get spoiled more easily. This is perhaps why the story of wine started in warm and dry regions around Mesopotamia.

13(ish)% Alcohols

It’s no secret, wine contains alcohol. The alcohol is produced when yeasts consume the sugar in grape juice, turning it into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The alcohol percentage (referred to as alcohol by volume or ABV) varies from wine to wine. Wines on the low end contain around 7%. These are often sweet wines whose fermentation stopped early, leaving unfermented sugar. Naturally fermented wines rarely go over 15% alcohol because yeasts run out of sugar to ferment. High alcohol wines (14% to 15%) are generally from warm regions where grapes reach a high level of ripeness with high concentrations of sugar. Only fortified wines have alcohol percentages of 17%-20% or higher. Fortified wines are essentially wines to which high-strength spirit has been added. The process of adding alcohol to wine or grape juice is called fortification hence the name fortified wines.

1% Glycerol

Chemically, glycerol is an alcohol, hence the ‘ol’ at the end of the word. It doesn’t have any effect on our nervous system, and our bodies treat it more like a sugar. Glycerol is a byproduct of fermentation, generated by the yeasts as they transform sugar into alcohol. Glycerol is has an oily texture that brings viscosity to wine. A cool fact: glycerol tastes rather sweet, which partially explains why some wines taste a bit sweet though they contain very little sugar.

0.5% Acids

Acidity in wine is measured in pH, usually between 3 and 4. It is often more acidic than orange juice, but less than most sodas. The main acid in wine is called tartaric acid. The grapevine in one of the very few plants to generate tartaric acid; as a result, most bacteria are unable to metabolize it. This is why wine is so resistant to spoilage.

Carbohydrates (sugars)

Obviously, the concentration in sugar in wine can vary greatly depending how ‘sweet’ the wine is. Very dry wines have virtually no sugar at all, and some sweet ones can contain over 200 grams per liter. However, most wines, even dry ones, contain between 0 and 10 grams per liter (g/L) of carbohydrates.

Sugars in wine are mainly the natural fruit sugars: fructose and glucose, generally in equal proportions. However, wines can contain small but significant quantities (1 or 2 g/L) of unfermentable sugars. Like the name indicates, they cannot be fermented by yeasts or bacteria. They therefore remain in the wine as “residual sugars” and provide some sweetness.

0.1% Phenolics

Despite their relatively small proportion, phenolics are a big part of what make wine special. Phenolics called flavonoids and anthocyanins give white and red wines their distinctive colors. The tannins that provide wine’s drying astringency and some bitterness are also phenolics. Tannins are in much higher concentration in red wines, although whites contain small quantities.

And that’s it! Lots of water and a few powerful molecules come together to make the amazing variety in every glass of wine you drink.

source : vivino.com