Archive for March, 2010

Wine and food pairing – The goal is synergy and balance

March 31, 2010

When pairing food and wine, the goal is synergy and balance. The wine shouldn’t overpower the food, nor should the food overpower the wine.

Think of wine as if it were a condiment — it should compliment the food.

Wine drunk by itself tastes different than wine with food, because wine acts on food similar to the way a spice does. Acids, tannins and sugars in the wine interact with the food to provide different taste sensations.

Wine can enhance the flavour of food. A good match will bring out the nuances and enhance the flavours and unique characteristics of both the food and the wine.

Memorable food and wine pairing is achieved when you find similarities and/or contrasts of flavour, body (texture), intensity, and taste.

Read more …

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Finding the perfect Balance between value and quality

March 29, 2010

The No. 1 wine trend for 2009 was trading down. The theory is that, given the failing state of the economy the consumers are expected to still buy wine but spend less money per bottle, thus trading down your aspirations.

Finding the right balance between value and quality in wine has become one of the new key aspects of consumers’ wine selection.

It all seems a bit condescending, coming as it does from retailers, restaurateurs and wineries who conveniently encouraged us to trade up for the last decade, but in these troubled economic times – well, you get the picture: Cheap is in and Value is King.

While many wine drinkers will simply drink less, and likely less expensive wine, the goal should always be to drink better value wines. With a little luck, by the time the slump, downturn, slowdown and/or recession comes to an end, you will have become a more resilient, smarter, savvy wine drinker able to withstand any economic setback. Perhaps more important, when things get better you will be a much better judge of price and quality the next time prices escalate.

The point is that once you learn how to uncover value and enjoy drinking quality, value-for-money wines, you will become a much more confident and sophisticated wine buyer in the years to come.

Source: windsorstar.com

How to Have a Balanced Lifestyle

March 25, 2010

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.” – Thomas Merton.

According to Stephen Covey and others happiness can only be achieved if there is a balance between the physical, the mental, the spiritual and the social/emotional. However, intensity does help on occasion.

Here are a few tips:

Physical

  • Get sufficient exercise – regular push ups, sit ups, crunches, and jogging.
  • Get sufficient rest – an average of eight hours is completely helps the most.
  • Eat healthy – look online and find the food pyramid, then try balancing your calorie intake with your exercise.
  • Find time to relax – just lie down and think about what you did. Think positive thoughts, or take up a relaxing hobby, but don’t go to sleep.
  • Pick a hobby that you enjoy.
  • Always smile.

Mental

  • Plan out your day, set goals, but don’t stress out but remain flexible.
  • Write but keep it positive. No negative thoughts.
  • Finding out and developing one’s talents by going out and doing activities.
  • Keep a diary or journal.
  • Read Shakespeare, Newsweek, National Geographic, or things that help you stay in the present.
  • Try to set goals that are reasonable to achieve.

More tips

The basics of wine’s five styles

March 23, 2010

The wine world features five styles of wine: white, red, rosé, sparkling and fortified. While color and taste are obvious differences, how they are made is the most significant one.

Many of the same grapes are used in different styles. An example is pinot noir, which is used to make red and sparkling wines. A syrah, usually a red wine, can be made into a rosé.

White-wine grapes are harvested, destemmed and crushed, then immediately pressed to extract the juice. Yeasts are added and fermentation begins.

After fermentation is complete, the white wine is aged in oak barrels, stainless-steel tanks or both before bottling.

Some white-wine grapes, such as pinot gris, actually are pink instead of the usual green. The color does not get picked up because the grapes are pressed right after the crush, and the skins that create the color come in contact with the juice for only a very short time.

Red-wine grapes also are destemmed and crushed. Yeast is added to this combination of skins, seeds, pulp and juice and it is then fermented. This mixture is called must. After fermentation, the must is pressed.

The red color is produced because the skins have been in contact with the juice during fermentation. The extended time the skins and seeds are in contact with the juice also cause red wine to be more tannic than white.

The red wine is then put into oak barrels and aged. Because of the tannins, the wine usually can be aged many years after bottling.

Rosé wine is made by using a little of both the red and white methods. The grapes are crushed and fermentation is started.

The skins are left in the juice for a short period of time (two or three days) to get the pink color, then the juice is pressed and fermentation is completed. The wine usually is bottled right away.

Sparkling wine can be made a few different ways.

The traditional way for French Champagne is méthode traditionnelle, a process that takes at least two to five years.
The transfer method is less expensive, time-consuming and labor-intensive. In the injection method, carbon dioxide is injected into the wine, like with carbonated soda.

Fortified wines are those in which brandy and sometimes sugar are added back into the wine. The two famous fortified wines are sherry and port.

Sherry differs from other fortified wines because of how it is treated after fermentation — it is fortified with brandy.
Port wine is fortified with brandy halfway through fermentation, which stops the process so not all the sugars turn into alcohol, leaving a sweet wine.

Source: Ventura County Star

Cheesy Cartoons

March 18, 2010

I thought these ‘Cheesy Cartoons’ are really funny.

Wine is good for the body and soul

March 17, 2010

Apart from all the health benefits,  wine is also good for your psyche. Enjoying a glass of wine with friends or relaxing with a glass of wine after a long day at work is good for the soul.

Mari Stull writes that those of us who thoroughly enjoy our wine already know the restorative benefits of a glass of wine sipped after a long day at work, the enjoyment of friendships fostered over a luscious Cabernet Sauvignon, or the quiet contentment of a soft Pinot Noir shared by parents after the children are tucked in for the night.  For us, these gratifying benefits to the soul are all we need to sip our vino.  We should have known that what’s good for the soul is good for the body.

Recently, there have been a slew of scientific studies relating new health benefits to moderate consumption of wine. Wine is rich in antioxidants (especially red wine), raises your good cholesterol (HDL-Cholesterol), contains resveratrols , counters some of the ill effects of cigarette smoking, improve cognitive thinking, and may even slow down the aging process. read more

White Wine ‘As Healthy As Red’

March 15, 2010

It’s already been established that red wine is healthy. But a recent study says that white wine is just as good for you.

Rats given a tipple of Italian white wine with their meals suffered less heart attack damage than animals allowed only water or raw grain alcohol.

The benefits were similar to those seen in animals fed red wine, or its “wonder” grape-skin ingredient, resveratrol.

Red wine, and resveratrol, have often been cited as the cause of the “French paradox” – the fact that French people have low rates of heart disease despite eating a lot of fat.

However, white wine, made from the pulp of grapes but not the skin, contains no resveratrol. Lab tests suggested that white wine protected the mitochondria in heart cells, the rod-shaped cell structures that act as energy-generating “powerplants”.

Molecular biologist Dipak Das, from the University of Connecticut in Farmington, US, said: “The flesh of the grape can do the same job as the skin.

Reas more on sky.com

‘Unhealthy food and drinks’ can actually be good for you

March 12, 2010

Snacks and tipple are not deemed to be the healthiest food around but indulging in some of them may do you a whole lot of good. Snacks like are popcorn, chocolate red wine and a few more.

Some of these perceived “no-no’s” can actually be good for you , and even more so when you follow a balanced diet.

Here are some examples of the perceived unhealthy foods which have some health benefits.

POPCORN
It may be the best accompaniment for movies, but popcorn also helps curb the evening snack craving. A bowl of home-made popcorn is even better as it is low on calories and high on antioxidants.

DARK CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
Yes, it is indeed good news especially for people with a sweet tooth. Dark chocolate is proven to be good for the heart and if it is paired with a whole wheat brownie and some nuts, it becomes rich in fibre as well.

DARK CHOCOLATE BARS
Dark chocolate contains high amounts of antioxidants. It helps to lower the blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease as well, if you eat around 100 grams a day.

CRACKERS
There are many kinds of whole wheat crackers available, which can be a good and healthy evening munch without the side-effects that other junk foods cause.

BAKED SNACKS
The latest in the snack category are baked snacks. They are better than fried chips as they contain no oil. Usually made of whole wheat with a dash of spice, it not only entertains the taste buds but is also healthy for your body.

PROCESSED CHEESE
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is found in many meat, milk and cheese products. But a recent study which concentrated specifically on processed cheese found that CLA has anti-carcinogenic properties and it is also an effective antioxidant. The study says processed cheese contains more CLA than natural cheese, such as cheddar.

DRY STOUT BEER
Experts say that one pint of this thick and creamy dark beer may be as effective as a low dose of aspirin to improve blood circulation, and hence lower the risk of blood clots and heart attacks. It’s proven to be better than aerated drinks and other types of beer.

RED WINE
Resveratrol, an ingredient in red wine, effectively decreases life-threatening inflammations. The antioxidants in red wine can help in preventing heart disease and cancer. For non-drinkers, grape juice or even red grapes can be as effective.

Source: timesofindia.com

Fooling the professor – Joke

March 11, 2010

Two University seniors had a week of exams coming up. However, they decided to party instead. So, when they went to the test, they decided to tell the professor that their car had broken down the night before due to a very flat tyre and they needed a bit more time to study.

The professor told them that they could have another day to study. That evening, both of the boys crammed all night until they were sure that they knew just about everything.

Arriving to class the next morning, each boy was told to go to separate classrooms to take the exam. Each shrugged and went to two different parts of the building. As each sat down, they read the first question.

“For 5 points, explain the contents of an atom.”

At this point, they both thought that this was going to be a piece of cake, and answered the question with ease.

Then, the test continued… “For 95 points, tell me which tyre it was.”

Wine may help women keep weight in check

March 9, 2010

Light to moderate alcohol consumption, especially red wine, is not only good for a woman’s heart, it’s also good for her waistline, according to a recent American study.

The study started out with nearly 20,000 trim middle-aged and older women. Over time, women who drank alcohol in moderation put on less weight and were less apt to become overweight compared to non-drinkers. This was true even after taking into account various lifestyle and dietary factors that might influence a woman’s weight.

Red wine seemed best at keeping weight in check, but white wine, beer and spirits also had some benefit.

Read more on www.reuters.com