Winston's Wisdoms - A Blog
Where Our Passion for Wine & Accessories Is Shared
Subscribe to Updates:
RSS  Subscribe via RSS Feed

Archive for August, 2009

Wine Wisdoms #43: The Stelvin Closure

Friday, August 28th, 2009 at 2:43:48 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Stelvin/Screw Cap

Stelvin is just a fancy name for a screw cap. It’s a particular brand of screw cap, made of metal, that has become almost universal. The brand name is used generically, much like “Kleenex” or “Xerox”. Screw caps have become a popular cork alternative as of late, as wineries seek to prevent the damages of cork taint. Much of the reason for using cork (aside from the romance) is to allow wine to breathe over time as it ages. Thus, wines that aren’t mean to age are fine under the Stelvin closure.

Wine Wisdoms #42: Cork and Tainted Love

Thursday, August 27th, 2009 at 11:59:12 AM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Cork has been used as a wine bottle closure for centuries.Corks and Screwcaps Many people would say they love the romance of pulling the cork from a bottle of wine, and no other closure will suffice. However, cork comes with a problem that has caused many wineries to move to alternative solutions like synthetic corks or screw caps.

A certain type of mold called Trichloroanisole (TCA) can attack the cork and spoil the wine. This is known as “cork taint.” It’s not common (1-3% of wine is infected) but it happens enough to cause wineries and consumers a lot of grief. Imagine paying $60 for a special bottle and opening it, only to find that it smells like a dank basement or wet newspaper! And imagine the frustration of the winemaker, that his/her wine could potentially reach your lips in this spoiled state.

Wine Wisdoms #41: The Lure of En Primeur

Thursday, August 20th, 2009 at 12:53:53 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

En Primeur

En Primeur is a term used to refer to wine futures, usually referring to high-end Bordeaux. Before the wine is bottled, critics and buyers taste a sample from barrel and their perception of its quality determines the future value. Interested consumers are then allowed to purchase the wine “en primeur.” The benefit is that you can purchase the wine before the price increases. Sometimes the purpose is to turn a profit and sometimes it’s for personal consumption. Someone may purchase a wine future and not receive the wine for many years. Futures are especially popular in great vintages, like 2005 Bordeaux.

How Not to Stock your Wine Cellar: A Collection of Lessons Learned in 20 Short Years

Monday, August 17th, 2009 at 12:08:49 PM
by Joe C., Wine Enthusiast Companies

As featured in the September 2009 issue of Wine Enthusiast MagazineJoe Czerwinski

Collecting wine doesn’t sound difficult, but I’ve made plenty of boneheaded decisions over the past 20-plus years. Just when I think I’ve started to figure it out, I realize my cellar is so far from where I want it to be that I want to give up and send it all off to auction. Here are some of the seemingly contradictory things I’ve learned along the way.
Good storage conditions are vital. When I first started collecting wine, I lived in a garden apartment with basement storage. Then I lived in a first-floor apartment and kept my wine in an interior closet or my parents’ basement. I have only a few bottles left from those early days, but when I open one up, it is invariably disappointing. In retrospect, I wasted several hundred dollars on Bordeaux, not to mention all of the costs I’ve incurred holding it since then. If you can’t provide proper storage, don’t buy the wine.

Wine Wisdoms #40: The Rhone Rangers

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 4:29:45 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Rhone Rangers

“Rhône Ranger” is a term used to describe pioneer winemakers in California in the 1980s who introduced grape varieties from France’s Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Viognier and more) to the soils of the region. These grapes flourished, making some of the early “Rhône Rangers” famous for the idea. It now commands a large following with even a Rhône Rangers association of which dozens of California wineries are members.

Wine Wisdoms #39: The Smell of Garrigue

Thursday, August 6th, 2009 at 1:32:55 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies


Garrigue is a tasting term used to describe herbal, earthy and/or lavender-like aromas that are often found in wines from the Mediterranean basin (including the Rhone Valley and Provence). The term originates from a type of perfumed, seaside scrub-brush composed of kermes oak, herbs and flowers such as lavender, thyme, sage and rosemary. Certain circles consider it to be the best example of terroir, in that the well-made wines from this region have an undeniable, unique earthiness that can only be ascribed to the climate and soil of the region where the grapes are grown.

As featured in the July issue of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, for more great wine information visit Wine Enthusiast Magazine Online