The word “natural” is notoriously indistinct and ill-defined when it comes to food (though that may one day change). The term may seem especially cloudy when it is applied to wine. Yet, NPR’s The Salt blog notes, “natural wine” is currently a cult hit.
WBUR reporter Andrea Shea, clearly a fan, has offered a primer on natural wine. Here are a few things to know:
Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating, cooking and drinking from coast to coast.
When parties abound, it’s tempting to just buy a box of wine and let the masses descend. But if you want to put a little more thought into the season’s celebratory bottles, dazzle your guests by taking your cues from these chefs’ go-to bottles to serve, gift and brighten spirits. Read more
If your palate yearns for fancy Bordeaux but your wallet insists that you settle for Two-Buck Chuck, the company behind a new device called the Oak Bottle has you squarely in its sights.
The Oak Bottle, billed as “the first for-home-use barrel-aging apparatus,” promises to make your “cheap or average-tasting” wine and spirits far more palatable by infusing them with an oaky flavor in anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
If you’ve found yourself drinking more rosé — or drinking it for the first time — these past two summers, you’re part of a national trend. “Folks on the coasts had heard it for a couple of years, but 2014 was where rosé really became like, it,” Devon Broglie, Whole Foods’ associate global beverage buyer, recently told Eater.
But how did the pretty pink wine get so popular, so suddenly? Eater took a look. Here are a few takeaways:
It was no accident: Having noticed the rosé trend fermenting in wine-forward areas like Southern California, buyers at national retail chains, who have a nose for such things, made a conscious decision to decant it to areas across the country.
Americans may be drinking more wine these days than we used to — especially in Washington, D.C., where, it may not surprise you to learn, more wine is consumed per capita than in any other state or district. But that doesn’t mean we know how to properly store and pour it. At what temperature should it be served? How full should our wine glasses be? And are we really supposed to decant?
Here are a few rules of thumb:
Be Chill (But Not Too Chill) About Storage: Ideally, bottles of wine should be stored (preferably, though not necessarily, on their sides) in a cool, dark place — like a basement or closet, if not in a dedicated wine cooler — at temperatures between 45 and 65 degrees F, with 55 degrees F being the sweet spot. Exposing wine to temperatures above 70 degrees F could speed aging or even flatten out the flavors and aromas, Wine Spectator warns. It’s cool to keep wine in your kitchen fridge short term, but don’t leave it there for months on end, as the low temp could damage the corks and, in turn, the wine. Aim to avoid extreme temperature fluctuations and long-term exposure to bright lighting when storing, but don’t freak out if they happen, especially if you’re planning to drink the wine sooner rather than later.
The holidays offer a great opportunity for gathering family and friends, to remember old times and make new memories. And since it’s a celebratory time, it’s inevitable that there will be some drinking going on — a toast with Champagne, wine with dinner, etc. Wine is also a popular host/hostess gift. But after you’ve received the umpteenth bottle of Merlot, what do you do with all the wine? FN Dish has the perfect solution for you.
How about mulled wine? Just think about it. Unless you have a wine cellar to store the bottles, you probably won’t have the space to keep them. And how many times have you put a bottle of wine in your pantry only to discover next Christmas it’s still there? So instead of letting those bottles gather dust, make mulled wine. It’s the perfect way to extend your holiday entertaining into the New Year. Plus it’s a great solution for using up cheap wine (i.e., inexpensive wine — you wouldn’t want to use a $50 bottle for mulled wine).
Having a wine bottle holder is a great way to show off a favorite bottle and add a touch of class to your kitchen. This funky wine bottle holder by Emilia Ceramics will reliably nestle your wine in between pours and serve as a great kitchen conversation piece — especially at the Thanksgiving table.
You can buy your own Zig Zag Wine Bottle Holder here or enter in the comment field below for a chance to win one. To enter: Tell us your favorite food and wine pairing in the comments. We’re giving away a wine bottle holder to three lucky, randomly selected commenters.
For Halloween I often advise people to find one of the many wines available with scary names, such as Sin Zin, Dead Arm or Devil’s Lair. Given the festive nature of fright night, however, it can also be rewarding to whip up a big-batch wine that is sure to give your guests the creeps — in a good way.
Red Punch: The color of villainy, of course, is blood red, so the easiest way to add fright to your night is to mix up a simple Red Wine Punch from Food Network Magazine.
Sangria: With a little more work, you can make a traditional red sangria, whose name appropriately derives from sangre or blood in Spanish. I show you how in this video.
Go Green: Equally impressive would be to surprise your guests with a concoction the color of ghastly green. Obtain some green food coloring and add it to Paula Deen’s Mimosa Punch or Giada’s Apple and Mint Punch.