Steps to a Successful Winery Visit

Winery

A winery is one of the best places to be when you are looking to spend a day away from home. There are many people who are trying to place special events which can allow one to get access to the whole process of the winemaking. This is one of the most charming ways to spend the evening well.

Get an empty box for wine

When you are in a winery, you are going to buy a local wine for the rest of the days. You need to make sure that you are carrying them well as there is a possibility that they have the right kind of bootle for each day. Getting a box will make sure that you are carrying it well and do not have to deal with broken wine bottles.

wine

Have a designated driver

There is a huge possibility that you will be tasting wine, and there is a chance that the taste might add up. This will allow you to be responsible when driving. There is also a chance that you will have to encounter a lot of wine regions which will require you a vehicle to travel.

Take kids

When you are planning to take the kids with you, you need to make sure that you are finding something to take with them. Taking rooms can be boring for the kids, and it is important that you have the right activities which will keep them engaged. You can bring in Rubic’s cube, Play-doh, colouring books etc., to keep them occupied.

Go early

A winery can be a fun place to chat with people, but the owner of small wineries have little to no time to talk. If you are going in the morning, you will find a good slot where you can talk to the winemaker, allowing you to understand everything better.

early

Focus on smaller places

You need to make sure that you are visiting smaller wine places which will allow you to see the quality time and the procedure they follow to make the same wine which is sold behind the bar. Big places, although offer a parking lot, T-shirts and help small places can show you the real winemaking process.

Be polite

This is an obvious one where you can visit hundreds of tasting rooms, but you need to not be rude. In a small winery, they are likely to be a part of someone else’s home, which requires you to be nice to the owners. You are getting the wine for free or for a small change which is why it is important to show some respect to the winemaker regarding the skills and the process.

Slow Wine Magazine Issue #5 Now Online

Wine

From the Cinque Terre to Tuscany, Campania to Alto Adige, our latest issue recounts an Italy that continues to surprise us, both with its indigenous grape varieties as with its international ones…
We are pleased to let you know that the latest issue of Slow Wine Magazine is now available online in English, German and Italian.

This issue’s main story is dedicated to white wine, a first! Fiano di Avellino, from Campania, is one of Italy’s finest white grape varieties but still remains largely undiscovered. Whoever thinks that Italy is just a land of great reds has much to discover! The article was written by Luciano Pignataro, an expert on Campania wines who we are also lucky to have as a regional coordinator for our Slow Wine guide.

The Retrospective section is dedicated to Nobile di Montepulciano 2005, one of Tuscany’s most intriguing Sangiovese-based wines, which we put to the test of time 10 years on from the vintage. How will it hold up? We reveal all, along with stunning photographs of the area (Tuscany’s breathtaking landscape didn’t disappoint for our photographer!).

Our New Frontiers section visits one of the most cherished landscapes in the world – the Cinque Terre on the Ligurian coast. Our reporter Fabio Pracchia hiked the “five lands” to discover the producers, the history and the landscape – its severity and fragility – and the wines which today risk extinction. We tasting outstanding whites and passitos, extraordinary for their character and sense of place.

We end off with a mammoth vertical tasting (50 wines!). We tasted and reviewed the vintages from 1984 to 2010 of Löwengang Cabernet and Chardonnay by Lageder, the celebrated biodynamic winery in Alto Adige. These two wines astounded us with their extraordinary longevity.

With 58 pages, four maps and 160 wines tasting notes, divided into simple and easy top lists, this issue recounts an Italy that continues to surprise us, both with its indigenous grape varieties as with its international ones which have found their perfect natural habitats.

As always, our digital magazine offers several options: You can buy a single article (US$2.99), the entire issue (US$5.99) or an annual subscription of six issues (US$29). If you want to see what Slow Wine Magazine is all about, you can always check out Issue #1 for free.

The Nature Of Natural Wine

natural wine

It is difficult to utter the words natural wine without sparking a heated debate. The term polarizes people. The definition conjures confusion. Consumers seem destined to either love or hate it.

Much of the conflict is based in semantics. The vague quality of ‘natural’ fuels the argument, while mainstream producers take offense at the implication that such a term renders their wine ‘unnatural’ by comparison. Even amongst those who align themselves with the principles of the natural movement there is discord about what to call these wines and how to label them.

In general, natural winemaking (which I will call it for simplicity’s sake) encompasses the ethos of a group of winemakers who grow their grapes without chemical additions, hand harvest the fruit, avoid the addition of industrially produced yeasts, and keep sulfur additions to a bare minimum, if it is to be added at all. The degrees to which producers adhere to this ‘naturalness’ vary, as do the names by which they define their products – including ‘authentic’, ‘naked’, ‘artisan’, and ‘sustainable’. The one thing they share, however, is a drive to make wine with very little intervention.

This hands-off approach is celebrated because it is seen as a means of preserving identity and distinctiveness. Key to this classification is that ‘organic’, ‘biodynamic’ and ‘sustainably produced’ wines are not necessarily of the natural ilk. Many wineries employ such practices in the vineyards, but when it comes to the cellar, the grapes are often subjected to industrial methods. This includes techniques like reverse osmosis and microoxygenation, and can also mean the addition of colorants, enzymes, sugar, artificial flavorings, and synthetic preservatives.

“Modern winemaking techniques and refinements can erase perceived faults but they also kill personality,” says Giulio Armani, the winemaker at La Stoppa and founder of the new domain Denavolo, both in Emilia Romagna, Italy. “The joy of natural wines is that each one is living and every bottle is unique, even those from within the same vintage.”

Many opponents suggest that this approach is simply a fad, a trend that excuses sloppy winemaking techniques. Renowned critic Robert Parker Jr. has pronounced that the natural movement is “one of the major scams being foisted on wine consumers.” This raises the question of how we choose to define flaws and faults in products, a somewhat hazy overlap between food, art and craft. But what many people love about natural wines is not that they are necessarily the best—that is, the most refined or elegant—but that they are unpredictable, alive, personal, and reflective of a winemaker’s work with particular fruit and in a specific place.

In the end, there is definitely room to accommodate both markets. Natural wines counter what seems to be increasing homogeneity, and it is heartening to see producers and retailers embracing craft practices while creating products that do not present an ever-pervasive sameness.

The Best Soils in the World for Growing Wine Grapes

Wine Grapes

There are many factors which go into making the right winery. Every soil lends a unique blend of qualities which can be utilised to help in the ageing process. For grapes, one of the most important aspect to look after is the soil. Grapes for wines grow in a land which has certain characteristics. White grapes tend to grow on high levels of minerality. If you are wondering the best soils in the world for growing wine grapes, keep reading to find out.

Burgundy, Frane

The Burgundy region of France is well known when it comes to the quality of the wine. The bottles of burgundy wines can be highly expensive can it is a collector’s items. This has something to do with the fact that there are some of the best winemakers who provide quality work. The soil is shared by Loire Valley and Champagne which is rich with nutrients in its centre-stage. The vineyards is surrounded by the producing the highest quality wines, which is the mix of clay, limestones and silica. The soil can result in one of the richest in nutrients characteristics which can last for a very long time.

Burgundy, Frane

Mendoza, Argentina

Argentinian wine is loved all around the world, which is most probably due to the soil. The soil here is interesting enough across the board, which can typically consist of sands, schist, granite. The Mendoza is unique due to the altitude. There are many few vineyards in Europe which can claim such elevations which provide for sunshine which gives the grapes its signature spiciness. The air is dry and the nights are cool, which shines prominently, which allows for rich, full-bodied produce.

Sicily, Italy

Sicily is one of the most difficult places to grow in the country, but the wine produced here is especially good. The Sicilian winemakers try to step up their game and made wines which is one of the most sought after commodity. Sicilian wines get more intense as the soil in Sicily is volcanic, and the rocky mineral can bring a lot of intensity to the wine. The wine, when consumed bounces off the tongue and can provide with a fruity feel. The wins from the region is heavily priced and rightfully so.

Sicily, Italy

Tuscany, Italy

Staying in Italy, Tuscany is one of the best places for a winemaker to bring wine to life. Tuscany is unique and is home to many different types of soil. It is characterised by rocky soils which allows one to have the spicy taste to the wine. Tuscany is certainly one of the most celebrated wine region in Italy. The grapes grown here are said to have a distinctive taste to them which allows the wine to adapt the taste of the soil, which makes the difference.

Does Italy Have Regional Beer?

Regional Beer

Since 2009, Slow Food has published Guida alle Birre d’Italia, our Italian-language guide to what we consider to be the best craft beers across the peninsula. During tasting for the last edition, we discovered that, beyond the extremely high average quality of the some 400 beers we tasted, the craft beer movement has managed to achieve a strong identity both nationally and locally.

I’m not talking just about the fact that many brewers use local ingredients to flavor beers; by now this is a mainstay in Italian artisanal beer: grapes in Monferrato (Piedmont), peaches in Volpedo (Piedmont), citrus fruits in Campania, mountain pasture flowers in the Central Apennines (Abruzzo) and herbs from the Dolomites in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, to name a few.

Rather, while grouping the beers by regions, instead of by style, we realized that there exist macro-regions from a stylistic point of view.

Strongly hopped beers are mostly present in central Italy up until Lombardy. Lombardy on the other hand is influenced by the northeast, dominated by bottom-fermented beers, and having a much lower presence of English- and Belgian-styles (even though the few examples are of a very high quality). The region is in some respects in a class of its own, with a coexistence of strongly hopped top-fermented beers (concentrated in the central part of the region) and those in the Central European style, mostly done by older breweries.

Southern Italy is the land of Belgian-style beer, due in part to the significant use of spices and fruit, in particular citrus, which characterize the aromas of the beers.

The northwest is dominated by Belgian-style top-fermented beers and, compared to other areas, has a large number made with spontaneous or mixed fermentation.

What is the reason for this division? In my opinion, it’s simple. The differences in style are the result of the influence of the very first entrepreneurial beer producers in each region, whose personal brewing styles have left a strong imprint on the local beer culture.

How To Judge a Wine List : Some Insider Secrets

Wine

I don’t want to go into aesthetics or the physical format of wine lists (which today spans from the classic leather-bound book to the ultra-modern iPad), nor the monstrosity of spelling mistakes I often see printed. Rather I hope to touch on a few simple questions you can ask when you peruse a wine list – whether it be in a Michelin-starred establishment or your local Italian trattoria – not only to choose what to drink, but also to critically evaluate the quality of a restaurant’s wine list.

Question #1: Who put together the wine list? Was it the owners (or sommelier)? Or the distributors or sales representatives in the area? If you’re familiar with the catalogues of the main local distributors, often the answer is immediate: The wine list and the catalogue will be almost identical. But if you’re not well versed on this matter (and I realize this is slightly useless information in the life of a mere mortal) there is another way to find out: Choose two or three or the more unusual wines on the list and ask the restaurateur to tell you a bit about them. If he or she starts to mumble and fiddle, or worse, begins to blandly recite the catalogue descriptions, you know that the list has been put together by someone else. If on the other hand, he or she spends a few precious minutes excitedly talking about the wines and their producers, you can bet that the wine selecting is being done in-house.

Question #2. If you ask the restaurateur, “How much wine do you sell in a year?” you might be met with a shrug of the shoulders. But knowing this is fundamental to forecasting. And you can gather if it’s not being done well when you catch a glimpse of unsold merchandise: wines lingering on the list not because they’ve been aging in the cellar, but because nobody ever bought them.

And let’s say it loud and clear, the length of the wine list is not necessarily synonymous with its quality. Between a wine list with 200 wines where 150 were bought at the local supermarket and one with 20-30 wines chosen with care, there is no doubt which one is superior.

Question #3: The restaurant’s identity. Considering the cuisine served, why are these wines on the list? Is there a list full of tannic reds but the menu offers mostly seafood? Is there a cellar packed with whites but the kitchen is serving game and grilled meats?

Harmony between the cuisine and wine is fundamental in judging a wine list, and the restaurant in general. If a restaurant proposes an elaborate menu, it can’t have a dull wine list with the same wines as the local supermarket. And vice-versa. Likewise, if it does traditional regional Italian cuisine, it’s a bit out of place to then offer French wines. In my opinion, the wine list should be in line with the personality and expectations of the restaurant. From a Michelin-starred restaurant I expect one thing, from my local trattoria, another.

What Is Slow Wine? Here’s What You Need to Know

slow wine

In culinary are moving towards slowly developed food, allowing you to enrich your food with the beautiful tasting outcome. No matter how good fast food might taste, it will not taste as good as the slow-cooked food which tastes time to cook. The same goes for the wine as well. Slow wine is a movement that everyone is adopting as it allows you to cook food better. This is a trend which has made home cooking restaurant quality. The trend is longsighted and can give serious treatment to sustainable and healthy growing philosophies.

slow food

There is a wine writing partnership which works with the relationship slow food. Slow food, although has been going down due to the aspects which comes with fast food. The slow food was seeing a resurgence in 2001—the slow food ideas which can allow one to have the adventure with the food. There are many wines and winery which have differentiate themselves from Vini which is explored from the potential readers to know. They began to have adjectives which filled descriptions of the wine’s aroma, which can allow one to get the right insider notes which is made of wine.

Slow wines are the ones which can make anyone get the right kind of taste—built into the first ideas which is of the importance of lands themselves which includes more than 2000 wines which can visit by slow food reviews. It is very important for us to help ensure that wineries adapt to these procedures which produce their wines to be better tasting. There are many wine yards which allows one to get the glimpse of the larger world where the variety, state of soil is important to help ensure that they have access to the best grapes.

Slow wines were often overlooked and poorly rated as it was subjected to tasting and ignored. There are people who came into bringing the right changes into the life of the people. There were many who stored wine which, when coupled with a decent product, will allow selling the stuff. The slow wine approach is still something which needs to be treated with respect. Wineries are treated with numeric values which tells the stories of its genesis. With the growing stance while being environmentally conscious people are appreciating the cherry tones and are getting the right structured phrasing.

There are many guides and labels which can be useful when growing them. You need to understand the brief notes on the fertilisers, plant protection, weed control, certifications, etc. This allows the winemaker to develop the taste which has the body and can be described as fresh, cordial and have the flair to bring the right notes into the food.