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Archive for November, 2008

Wine Wisdoms #7: Why the Wire on Rioja?

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008 at 1:30:12 PM
by Josh F., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Rioja BottleEarly in the 20th century as some of Rioja’s producers had made great improvements and offered wines far superior to others, unscrupulous merchants started to paste labels from the top wines onto undistinguished bottles. To prevent this, the wineries started putting wire mesh around their bottles. Today it is a tradition that still holds for many wineries.

Find great Rioja buys at

Search “Rioja” in Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Online Buying Guide for Thousands of Reviews

Exciting Entries Pile in for The Blitzen Caption Contest

Monday, November 24th, 2008 at 6:44:21 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

BlitzenSince we launched our Blitzen Caption Contest just a week ago, we’ve been receiving hundreds of witty entries every day. It’s hard to keep up with our enthusiastic customers, all pining to win a Free 16-bottle Silent Wine Refrigerator or a $50 gift certificate. Please remember to enter on the contest page, and not in the comments here, to be sure that your submission is received. Twitter members, follow BlitzenWine on Twitter, he’s posting the latest clever captions!

Without further ado, here are some more recent entries:

Please refrein from posting this on Facebook—Sabrina B.

drinking and walking on roofs … bad idea– Donald K.

i made it rein last night- Anita S.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good wine– Vickie W.

Now I lay me me down to sleep, To dream of winning the fridge for my wine to keep.– Debbie C

On the 3rd day of Xmas…3 French Wines, 2 Turtle Dove Martinis, & a Pear Brandy with an almond brie—Britta U.

Eat, drink, and be….horizontal.—Darren D.

I will imbibe with no wine before its time!—Darryl S.

Through boozin’, just snoozin’—Judy F.

That last sip sleighed me—Ed J.

That’s not “visions of sugar plums” dancing in my head!– Marion O.

A little cabernet, then a nap in the sleigh!– Amy R.

Yes, I’m still bottle fed!– Marcia G.

Fruity finish with notes of licorice, berry and venison.– Bruce  W.

40 billion houses in one night….not having to do it again until next year…priceless!—Jane G.

Finally, some competition for Rudolph. Let’s see who Santa asks to guide the sleigh TONIGHT!– Stephen T.

You try standing with a cork in your butt!—Kirk S.

On Comet…On Cupid…On Donder…YAWN Blitzen—Susan B.

Wine Wisdoms #6: Beaujolais Basics

Friday, November 21st, 2008 at 4:12:06 PM
by Josh F., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Beaujolais Nouveau

Beaujolais, though technically considered part of Burgundy, produces more wine than the rest of the entire Burgundy region. Almost all of that wine is red from the Gamay grape. Aside from the individual Village “Cru” Beaujolais which can be aged 3-5 years, Beaujolais-Village is the highest quality wine produced there and is made to be drunk within 2-3 years. And of course every November Beaujolais Nouveau is produced from the current vintage crop.

Discover and learn about the best Beaujolais of 2008 at Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Enter the Blitzen Caption Contest, Win a FREE Wine Refrigerator!

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 at 6:41:50 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

The Blitzen Bottle Stopper, our most popular gift from the 2007 holiday season is back, and he has brought 2 friends! These whimsical bottle stoppers are all blitzed out, after having too much fun with wine at their holiday party. Two of the Blitzens have captions, but we’re missing one.

Blitzen Contest

To capture Blitzen in all his essence, we’re asking you, our customers, to tell us what Blitzen On His Back is dreaming about! Between now and December 19th, we’re offering a Free Wine Refrigerator or $50 Gift Certificates to the top entries, selected by our panel of judges. We plan to announce the winner on December 23rd via e-mail.

The contest has already fired up, with over 200 entries so far. Here are some recent submissions, to get the juices flowing!

‘When should I lay down that bottle of wine? *yawn* Right about now sounds good to me’  –Janice S.

Frankly my deer, I don’t give a dram—Jonathan K.

Fine wine now I recline!—Gary P.

I’m spending Christmas right here—Christopher H.

Is that a corkscrew or are you just happy to see me?
—Loryn R.

I wonder if I keep drinking will my nose turn red and then I can be the hero and guide the sled.—Robert M.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good nap!—Nicole S.

Odd…I don’t remember being able to fly upside down—Randall B.

The reindeer were nestled snug in their beds, while visions of Merlot grapes danced in their heads—Ruth L.

Give us your best caption idea, here!

Wine Wisdoms #5: The Pivotal Judgment of Paris 1976

Monday, November 17th, 2008 at 12:11:41 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Judgment of Paris BookThe Judgment of Paris was a pivotal moment in the history of California wines. In May 1976, a British wine merchant arranged a blind tasting of French and California wines (Cabernet vs. Classified Bordeaux and Chardonnay vs. top White Burgundies) to be judged by France’s foremost wine industry experts. The results launched California wines onto the world stage as Stag’s Leap Cask 23 was chosen the top red over, Mouton-Rothschild, Haut Brion, Montrose and others and Chateau Montelena Chardonnay was the number one white ahead of Batard-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles, Beaune Clos des Mouches and others. The Judgment of Paris was also the focus of the feature film “Bottle  Shock,” which released this Fall.

Read more about California wines at Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s West Coast editor Steve Heimoff’s blog, UnReserved

Wine Wisdoms #4: Oxygen, Your Friend and Enemy

Friday, November 14th, 2008 at 3:51:35 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies


In the world of wine, oxygen is both your friend and your enemy. Wines are decanted or aerated so that friendly oxygen can slip into your wine in small doses. The oxygen, in effect, allows your wine to breathe and release newly developed aromas and flavors.

Oxygen is your enemy when you let an open bottle of wine sit on the counter and heavy doses of oxygen attack the wine, stripping it of its essences. Everything in moderation.

Find oxygen-related tools like decanters, aerators and preservation tools at 

Wine Wisdoms #3: What is a Meritage?

Thursday, November 13th, 2008 at 3:39:46 PM
by Josh F., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Opus OneThe term “Meritage” is a combining of the words Medoc and Heritage. It refers to American (mostly California) wines that are a blend of Bordeaux grape varieties, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, for red wine. To use the term on a wine label, wineries must license it from the Meritage Association and adhere to guidelines such as: it must be produced in quantities not exceeding 25,000 cases in a vintage and it must be one of the two most expensive wines that a winery produces. Before the term was coined many wineries created their own proprietary names for their meritage style wines and many of those names still remain. Some of the more famous names are; Dominus, Insignia, Opus One, Cask 23, Cain 5, and Rubicon.

Find top Meritage wines at

Wine Wisdoms #2: How to Cook with Wine

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008 at 12:22:13 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Cooking with WineCook with quality wine. It seems logical that one would use a cheap wine for a recipe- what a waste, right? Not so. Of course you don’t want to use a first growth Bordeaux to make a reduction, but it is never a good idea to use a cheap wine when you cook either. If you don’t want to drink it, why would you want your food to be slowly simmered in it? Go with a decent, mid-range wine. Typically dryer, less aromatic wines are better for cooking. Chardonnay is always a safe bet for white wine because it’s the least aromatic grape and is typically dry. If your recipe calls for red wine, Cabernet is a good choice. When your meal is ready, serve it with a similar wine to what you used in the dish otherwise you risk a clash of flavors. Keep it simple.

For more information on Wine and Food pairing, consult our newly released Wine Enthusiast Wine & Food Pairings Cookbook.

Wine Cellar Design Stories: Problem Solving with Style

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 at 1:27:16 PM
by John T., Wine Enthusiast Companies

The prospect of starting a new wine cellar design is always an exciting one. Each customer has their own individual needs and taste, and it’s my job to exceed their expectation. Sometimes we need to do a bit of problem solving, like in my project for Mr. Lippert.

Mold Cleaning

Before I could begin on a wine cellar design for Mr. Lippert we had to address a problem: his old cellar had mold.  See, Mr. Lippert already had a wine cellar in the room but the previous installer didn’t protect the walls. This caused moisture to build up in the walls, creating a mold problem. What good would a beautiful custom wine cellar be if the room was not built out properly to be a wine cellar?  We had to remedy the problem and prep the walls, before doing anything else. This is done by taking the existing walls down, placing vapor barrier (6- mil polyethylene plastic) in between the studs, rigid foam insulation, and covering the interior walls with a moisture-resistant drywall.  With the mold issue resolved, we were ready for the fun part!

Wine Wisdoms #1: Burgundy Vs. Bordeaux Blending

Monday, November 10th, 2008 at 4:41:25 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Bordeaux and BurgundyUnlike Burgundy where grape varieties are never blended (100% Pinot Noir or 100% Chardonnay), Bordeaux wines are almost always blends. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot are blended in Red Bordeaux, and Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion are blended in White Bordeaux.

Find Bordeaux and Burgundy Glassware at

Find Top Rated Bordeaux and Burgundy at