Thursday, 6 February 2014

Wine of the Month (February)

Verdicchio is a white Italian grape variety from the central region of Italy known as the Marche region. This type of grape has been growing there since the 14th century. It is also thought that the Verdicchio varietal may be indigenous to the Marche. There are clones which share similar genetic info as the Trebbiano and Grecogrape varieties grown in the Lombardy and Soave areas.

 The wine is not very aromatic, but it does offer elegant armomas of citrus and nuts, in particular, lemon and bitter almonds. Often, the grape lends itself well to the production of spumante (sparkling) wines, a specialty on the Adriatic coast. It is best mached to broad bean salad with peanut dressing, fish and the very tasty, roasted peppers.

Vieux Château du Roi (Château Neuf Du Pape)
Vineyards located at Château Neuf Du Pape
The name roughly translated is "old house of the king".  Vieux Château du Roi or VCR is a name that wine kits makers' use to represent Château Neuf Du Pape ("new house of the pope") like wine blends.  The original name was coined from the time when Pope Clement V moved to Avignon in 1305 due to a conflict between the Papacy and the French Crown in the historic region in the southern Rhone Valley in France. Apparently, the Pope was an avid wine lover. Aside from being infatuated with wine, Pope Clement V's other memorable historical note was that he was ultimately responsible for suppressing the order of the Knights Templar.

Getting back to the subject of wine, in California, VCR is produced from a blending of a variety of grapes to imitate the complexities possessed by the original Château Neuf Du Pape. Such attributes as the ripeness of the grapes and the oak barrels used in ageing the red wine creates a lush wine with a polished texture.

  1. The Wine Rambler
  2. Reinhold Haart
  3. Wine-Searcher
  4. The Wine Cellar Insider

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Custom Wine Making

When we make wine we follow the recipes and instructions that have been developed by Wine Kitz over many years. The ingredients used, and the procedures we follow, produce reliable and consistent results when we make our wines – something Wine Kitz is well known for.

From time to time, however, we are asked to adjust our recipes to achieve a slightly different result. The most common change we are asked about is reducing the sweetness of a given wine. Many wines can be made less sweet by adjusting the recipe – something my wife usually does when she makes Riesling. At other times customers may have sensitivity to the preservatives or stabilizers used and we adjust the ingredients accordingly.

Occasionally we are asked by a customer for a match to their favourite wines when we do not have a kit of that type. An example of this came from a customer who was looking to make a wine comparable to Barefoot Moscato - a popular, lower alcohol wine with a sweet and fruity taste. In order to meet the customers need, a custom recipe was crafted by the Winemaker at the Wine Kitz Head Office that would match the profile of the wine. This recipe uses a Traditional Vintage Piesporter white wine kit with the concentrate divided between a base and a sweet reserve with adjustments to the stabilizing agents and procedures. The result is a sweet, fruity wine with the higher sugar (~64g/L R.Sugar) and lower alcohol (~9%), and comparable to a Moscato.

For this, or any other custom recipe, come in and see our winemaker. We are always here to help.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Wines of the Month (November)

Sauvignon blanc

Sauvignon blanc is a green-skinned variety originating from Bordeaux region and Loire Valley of France. Interestingly, the Loire Valley has a long history of
the monarchy in France, notable for the three hundred plus châteaus built there since the 10th century. The French kings and nobility constructed their beginning with castle fortifications in the 10th century to allow for the nobility to remain close to their seat of power. 

This wine is often described by experts as "crisp, elegant and fresh". However, depending upon climate and region, flavour may range from a "grassy" to a sweetly tropical taste.

Sauvignon blanc pairs well with white meats including chicken, pork chops and turkey.  It also goes well with a plethora of sea foods including lobster and Digby Scallops!  

Shiraz - Australia

Shiraz (also known as Syrah) is a dark-skinned grape which may have originated from the Rhône region of southeastern France, named after the Rhône River. Interestingly, the Rhône has been an important highway since the ancient period of the Greeks and Romans. It was the main trade route from the Mediterranean to east-central Gaul. 

The grape variety eventually made its way
to Australia in 1831 by the Scotsman James Busby, who is known as the "father of Australian viticulture".  He had travelled to Europe to collect cuttings from vines primarily from France and Spain for introduction to Australia. 
The wine is often powerfully flavoured and full-bodied. Recently, Australian Shiraz producers have started to add up to 4% Viognier to their Shiraz to add apricot tones to the wine's nose and palate. This full bodied wine pairs well with brisket (slow cooked BBQ), grilled lamb, London broil, beef stew and chili.  Break out the BBQ!

1. Wine Folly
2. wikipedia: Sauvignon blanc
3. wikipedia: Syrah
4. Best Ideas for Pairing Shiraz Wine with Food

Friday, 4 October 2013

Oktoberfest Wines

Oktoberfest is the world's largest fair held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany highlighting Bavarian culture since 1810. Similar festivals are celebrated around the world and which also share a similar attribute of consumption of vast quantities of beer. You might wonder what Oktoberfest has to do with wine making, but there is a clear connection to beer making, hence the reason for the Oktoberfest sale on German wine kits and beer kits at the Wine Kitz stores in New Minas, Digby and Bridgewater.

Aside from the obvious subject of beer, we will explore the world of German wine. Most German wines are produced in the western side of Germany, primarily along the river Rhine and its tributaries, with the oldest vineyards dating back to the Roman era. Interestingly, more than 2/3's of the wine produced in Germany is white. The better known wines include Liebfraumilch, Gewürztraminer, Piesporter and Riesling. Riesling is the benchmark grape in Germany and is grown in most of the area in German vineyards. Müller-Thurgau which was available as a limited edition wine in the stores earlier this year, is an alternative grape to the Riesling providing a more neutral flavour than Riesling. Liebfraumilch is a semi-sweet white produced in Germany primarily for export. It's name literaly means “beloved lady's milk”. Piesporter is a light bodied wine ranging from dry to off-dry is made in and around the village of Piesport on the north bank of the Mosel wine region. Finally, Gewürztraminer is a grape variety with a pink to red skin colour, however, it is a white wine grape. This wine has a sweetness with armomas of roses, passion fruit and floral tones. The name literally means “spice/perfume from Tramin”. Enjoy German wine!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Wines of the Month (September)

White Zinfandel
White Zinfandel, often abbreviated as White Zin, is an off-dry to sweet, pink-colored blush
wine. White Zinfandel is made from the Zinfandel wine grape, which would otherwise produce a bold and spicy red wine. As such, it is not a grape variety but a method of processing Zinfandel grapes. Rosé wines, also known as blush wine, is a wine that is somewhere in color between a white wine and red wine. While they can vary in color from pink wine, to salmon, to light red, rose wine doesn't quite fall into either the white or red spectrum.

Pair White Zinfandel with light meat, including chicken, pork and lamb. The general rule with wine pairing is white meats with white wines and red meat with red wine. As a sweet wine, White Zinfandel is best paired with light flavours so that it is not completely overpowered. Possible white meat options include grilled chicken, pork chops, chicken kebabs or chicken sandwiches. Pair White Zinfandel with seafood. As with white meat, white wines are commonly paired with seafood, including any variety of fish, lobster, cockles, crab cakes, clam chowder, Digby scallops, fish and chips and grilled or steamed shrimp.

(Sah-ra or Shi-raz) Syrah and Shiraz are two names for the
same variety. Europe vintners only use the name Syrah. Shiraz is the name given to the dark-skinned Syrah grape when grown in Australia and selected pockets of the New World. Though genetically identical, the stylistic differences between Shiraz and Syrah are pronounced enough to consider them distinct varieties. Shiraz is so important to Australian viticulture that it is the most planted grape variety in the majority of Australian vineyards and is virtually synonymous with marquee wine regions such as the Barossa Valley.

Shiraz wines display firm tannins (although they are typically ripe and smooth, not abrasive like younger reds can be), a medium to full body, and the rich round flavours of black cherry, blackberry, plum, bell pepper, black pepper, clove, licorice, dark chocolate and smoked meat.

Toffee notes if present come not from the fruit but from the wine having rested in oak barrels. The Shiraz variety gives hearty, spicy reds. While Shiraz is used to produce many average wines it can produce some of the world’s finest, deepest, and darkest reds with intense flavors and excellent longevity.

Shiraz is great for grilled meats or veggies, wild game, richly flavoured red meats, in particular ribs as well as beef stew and meat lover's pizza.

There you have it, our two Wines of the Month.  I hope you will enjoy ! 

Edd Lawrence, Manager & Wine Crafter
Wine Kitz Digby

Friday, 26 July 2013

Wines of the Month (August)

Gewürztraminer - Australia
Back again, this aromatic wine grape variety, despite having a pink to red skin colour creates a white wine possessing a gentle spicy and rose petal aromatic experience.  The variety has high natural sugar and the wines are white and usually off-dry, with a flamboyant bouquet of lychees.  The name Gewürztraminer literally means "Spice coming from Tramin" or "Perfume coming from Tramin".  Although the species originated in Tramin, Italy, it has been produced from the cooler regions of Australia from the Adelaide Hills, Eden Valley and the island of Tasmania.

Gewürztraminer marries beautifully with rich, fatty dishes like pork and goose or ripe cheeses, as well as with the exotic spices of Moroccan, Indian, and Far Eastern cuisines.

Gamay Bergamais
Gamay Bergamais is an interesting blend of Gamay Noir and the Bergamais grape. The Bergamais wines are typically fruity, filling the nose with the aromas of cherries and plums and which exhibits a characteristically light bodied red wine. Bergamais is often served slightly chilled and possesses a colour that is usually lighter than your traditional reds. This paired with the dark-skinned variety of grape (Gamay) which adds a slight hint of strawberries creates a fresh, lively and juicy berry scent wine that delivers a crips finish on the palette. It is the perfect wine for casual parties and events, a 'nouveau style' of wine bringing a degree of sophistication and fun for all to enjoy. Those who favour whites only, may also enjoy this type of wine, as its lightness and taste shares similar characteristics with white wines. It's also the perfect wine to take with you on picnics, a lighter fare such as salads and sandwiches.
  1.  Stuart Wilson (1996). Understanding, Choosing, and Enjoying Wine. London: Hermes House. p. 88. ISBN 0-681-18585-6.
  2. Gewürztraminer
  3.  wikipedia: Gewürztraminer
  4.  wikipedia: Gamay

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Wines of the Month (July)

Riesling is a light-skinned aromatic (wines with a fruity and floral aroma) grape of German origin.  The origins of the grape can be traced to the middle Rhine and the lower Mosel in Germany, which happen to be Europe's great wine rivers.  Recall in the last article, Piesporter can also be traced to the left bank of the Mosel River.

This same wine is produced in the "New World", notably, the Australian Riesling from Australia's Clare and Eden valleys, New Zealand's South Island regions and the famous ice wines of Canada are made mostly from Riesling grape.

Its floral undertones with a hint of honey creates a versatile wine for pairings from appetizers to desserts, poultry, pork, shellfish and almost anything in between.  It possesses a medium-dry sweetness and exhibits a medium body, making it the perfect wine with most foods.

Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon (often shortened to 'Cab Sav') is one of the world's most widely recognized red wine grape varieties.  It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country.  It is often referred to as the 'King of Red Wine Grapes', hailing originally from Bordeaux and which has a significant presence in California's wine producing areas.   It is rivaled by its Bordeaux 'Merlot' and its opposite contender, 'Pinot Noir'.  Favouring warmer climates, it is most successful in Australia, Chile, South Africa and New Zealand.  Although, the powerhouse productions are found in France and Italy.  A common question asked relates to the difference between Merlot and Cab Sav. The answer is that they are made from different grapes.  Merlot is often described as a softer and more supple wine than the Cab Sav.   Cab Sav is described as having a bit more backbone and tannic strength than Merlot.  One of the most noted traits of Cabernet Sauvignon is its affinity for oak, either during fermention or in-barrel ageing.

Cab Sav is best paired with red meats, flavourful and heartier (red) pastas, in particular, penne arrabiata, strong-flavoured cheeses and dark chocolates.

  1. Wine Searcher
  2. wikipedia: Riesling
  3. wine-searcher: Cabernet Sauvignon
  4. wikipedia: Cabernet Sauvignon