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Prosecco

Italy’s Prosecco comes from the Veneto region of Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadine DOC. In 2009 the DOC zone was changed to DOCG status.

The popularity of this affordable sparkling wine in the last few decades caused an over-growth and over-production of wine in a wide variety of styles and prices. This legislation was enforced to protect the yields, production and quality, as well as to protect the Prosecco name.

The Grapes

“Glera” is the white grape varietal that has been mostly referred to as “Prosecco”. This white grape called Glera has been growing in the Veneto region in the hills north of Treviso near Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.

With this new legislation the wines produced beginning with the 2009 vintage and going forward will be labeled as DOCG Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prossecco Superiore.

Those producing Prosecco outside of the registered DOC and DOCG zones must use the grape name “Glera” on their labels instead of Prosecco.

 

Style and Taste

Traditionally Prosecco was a very light and fizzy wine with just a touch of sweetness. Today its styles are well-made, refreshing sparkling wines that are mostly dry and have a fruity and lemony flavor. It is a very light sparkler, that is affordable and fun to drink.

In Italy Prosecco is always ready to be poured when guests arrive. It is served as a welcome drink, an apĂŠritif, and also with meals.

Prosecco has no similarity to Champagne. Champagne is yeasty and a serious bubbly while Prosecco is fresh, fruity and fun. Some Champagnes are meant to age while Prosecco should be consumed very young.

Bellini Trivia

The Bellini was invented sometime in the 1930’s at Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy in summertime when white peaches were in abundance. One man was hired each summer just to cut and pit the small and fragile Italian white peaches and then by hand he would squeeze them to extract the juice.

Harry would then pour the peach juice into a glass and then add ice cold Prosecco. Today Bellinis are made with any sparkling wine available and bottled peach juice.

Spumante vs. Frizzante

In Italy the sparkling wines are made in two styles – Spumante and Frizzante. Spumante wines are full sparkling wine that are crisp and dry. Frizzante wines are lightly sparkling wines.

In the past wines there was the sparkling wine labeled as Asti Spumanti which was a light and sweet sparkling wine. Today these wines are more often labeled “Asti” without the word Spumanti on the label. The “Asti” wines are made in a semi-sweet to sweet style.

Another fizzy wine is the Italian dessert wine called Moscato d’Asti. It also has a light fizziness, it’s lower in alcohol and it is sweeter than “Asti”. This is the wine to serve with sweet desserts.

Toasting

Champagne Toasts and Toasting Tips for every occasion.

Toasting a friend or a special couple is an important part of celebrating a special occasion. Of course, we don’t always have to be serving Champagne to toast an auspicious event. Sparkling wine, or any other beverage will be perfect to make a toast that will be memorable and wishes for good luck.

You or the selected leader of the toast may be intimidated with speaking before a large group. Well, don’t worry, our best tip for this is Be Prepared!.

O.K., so it’s nothing you haven’t heard before, but it will make a world of difference if you have your little speech written down. That little card with your speech on it will prevent you from being “speechless” when you’re standing in front of the crowd before you.

Your short speech should be relevant to the occasion. Don’t be afraid to add some light comments that are appropriate to the event to spice up the celebration.

After you have completed your message be sure to ask the guests to gently clink their glasses. This practice is a customary part of champagne toasts. The action is believed to be capable of warding off evil spirits.

Generally, there are two points during a celebratory meal when a toast is offered. Both of the toasts should be given by the host or hostess.

The first toast is to welcome the guests before the meal begins: “I’d like to welcome all of you today. Bon appetit!”

A toast to the guest of honor is given after the dessert course when the champagne is served, or the wine glasses have been refilled. Below are a some formal toasts you can use and then add your favorite anecdotes appropriate to the occasion.

To get you started with your preparations for your toast here is a collection of toasts for weddings, showers, anniversaries, birthdays, or any other special occasion you may have, and a selection of international “Cheers!”.

Champagne Toasts — Or — A Toast for Luck

A jolly good smoke, a nicely turned joke,
A handful of trumps when you play;
A drop of old wine, champagne that’s fine,
And a run of good luck from today.
Here’s to champagne, the drink divine,
That makes us forget our troubles;
It’s made of a dollar’s worth of wine
And three dollars worth of bubbles.

May the blessings of this day
That I would ask for you,
Now fill you with Love and Peace
That lasts the whole year through.

Wedding and Anniversary Toasts

Here’s to loving, to romance, to us,
May we travel together through time.
We alone count as none, but together we’re one,
For our partnership puts love to rhyme.

Here’s to you both–
a beautiful pair,
on the birthday of your love affair.

Let anniversaries come and let anniversaries go
but may your happiness continue on forever.

May you both live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.

May your troubles be less and your blessing be more.
And nothing but happiness come through your door.

Birthday Toasts

Although another year has past
She’s/He’s no older than the last!
Another candle on you cake?
Well, that’s no cause to pout
Be glad that you have strength enough
To blow the damn thing out!

Happy birthday to you
and many to be,
With friends that are true
As you are to me!

Happiness being a dessert so sweet
May life give you more than you can ever eat.

A Toast To Friends

A health to you,
A wealth to you,
And the best that life can give to you.

Who is a friend but someone to toast,
Someone to gibe, someone to roast.
My friends are the best friends
Loyal, willing and able.
Now let’s get to drinking!
Glasses off the table!

May fortune still be kind to you,
And happiness be true to you,
And life be long and good to you,
Is the toast of all your friends to you.

Friendship is the wine of life.
Let’s drink of it and to it.

Let’s set aside some quiet time
And share it with a friend.
For Friendships bring a special joy
And pleasure without end.

Here are a few international “Cheers” for closing your toast!

Dutch: Prost! (health)
English: Cheers!
French: Santé! (health)
German: Prost! (cheers)
Hebrew: Le’chaim! (to life)
Irish: Sláinte! (to your health)
Italian: A la salute! Salute! Cin cin! (health)
Russian: Vashe zdorovie! (to health).
Spanish: Salud! (health)

Wine for Beginners

Wine

Wine is made with grapes, but not typical table grapes you’ll find at the grocery. Wine grapes (the latin name is Vitis vinifera) are small, sweet, have thick skins, and contain seeds. There are over 1,300 different wine grape varieties, but just a few of them are planted all over the world. Here’s a beautiful video explaining the basics of wine.

Whitney is a real wine connoisseur who is showing us some of the basics of serving and drinking wine. Watch the video below :

 

White Wine Pairing

Entertaining is simple and easy. With some basic white wine pairing and very little effort, you can put together a platter of small bites that are perfect for your wine tasting gathering.

If you love to cook but don’t like the long list of ingredients in many recwhite-wine-grapesipes, these fast and easy recipes are sure to make your wine tasting evening fun. Feel free to use your own favorite ingredients when making dips.

 

Some of our white wine pairing suggestions are for Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. Or, you can choose your own favorite wine if one of these is not your preferred choice.

Remember “It’s all a matter of taste!”

Easy Appetizer Recipes

Fruit and Dip

  • Thread fresh fruits such as pineapple chunks, apple wedges, pear slices, and orange sections onto wooden skewers.
  • Serve with curry dip made of equal parts of mayonnaise and sour cream with curry powder to taste.

Easy Recipes for the Buffet Table

  • Spread water crackers with soft cream cheese with chives and onions. Top with thinly sliced smoked salmon and chopped fresh dill.
  • Spread water crackers with Guacamole and top with a slice of tomato.
  • Top assorted crackers with sliced Monterey jack cheese with jalapeno peppers. If desired, broil 30-60 seconds or until cheese melts. Top with salsa and plate for serving.

Pairing Tips

These simple appetizers are easy to make and enjoy with your favorite white wine. If you are not sure which wine to choose you can always select a sparkling wine. Choose a dry sparkling wine and also a semi-dry sparkling wine.

You will have a wine to please most every palate. Choose a Spanish cava, a California sparkling wine or an Italian prosecco.

Health and Red Wine

How much do we know about the health effects of red wine. Of late, there has been a lot of buzz about our health and wine.

red_wine_glass_3-wallpaper-1366x768

You may have seen headlines that tout “Drink wine and live longer.” Do you believe everything you read? I hope not. This headline is probably publicity for the red wine council (although I’m not sure who benefits from this publicity).

Resveratrol

You may have also read articles that focus on the benefits of resveratrol and it’s effects on our health and wine. Yes, that you can believe when you read it. The resveratrol in red wine comes from the skin of the grapes, and also from the seeds. Because red wine is fermented with grape skins longer than white wine (many white wines do not come in contact with the skins), it is the red wine which contains resveratrol.

 

There have been tests done on resveratrol that identified a group of polyphenols, known as procyanidins. Procyanidin is believed to help keep heart tissue healthy.

It is believed that the polyphenols offer the greatest protection to human blood-vessel cells. Studies show that resveratrol appears to be well-absorbed by humans.

However, the small amounts we ingest from grape skins and juices that is absorbed into our bodies is rapidly metabolized and eliminated.

Case Studies on Health and Wine

Most of the case study articles refer to a specific study that will note the results are inconclusive. Or how about the article for studies that make reference to amounts, or numbers that are a just a “wee bit out of the ordinary.”

Here’s an excerpt from an article:

    “…Previous studies have reported on resveratrol’s beneficial effects, but the amounts typically used in the studies equaled the amount of resveratrol found in hundreds of bottles of red wine. Some scientists questioned the new findings and maintained that supplements with high doses of resveratrol potentially provide better results.”

I’m not sure that consuming the amount of wine as used in this study is the right thing to do. At this point, I’m thinking just one glass of wine with dinner is all I really want. Who needs hundreds of bottles?

Drinking May Not Be For Everyone

It is important to take into consideration that not everyone should drink wine, or, for that matter, any alcohol. Those who take prescription drugs may have adverse effects if they drink alcohol and take medication. Be sure to consult a physician before drinking any alcoholic beverages.

It would be wise to check on elderly family members as well. They may not realize that mixing their medication with alcohol can cause bad reactions that can be harmful.

Many Foods Contain Resveratrol

We do not necessarily have to drink red wine for it’s health benefits. It is now known that resveratrol is found in more than just red wine.

Blueberries, cranberries, peanuts, red and purple grape juices are a few of the foods with resveratrol and are easy to add to your daily food intake.

You may also be pleased to know that procyanidins are also found in darkchocolate and dark teas.

Very simply, we can add fresh red grapes to our diet and drink red or purple grape juice instead of red wine. You can add blueberries and cranberries in your cereal or green salad every day, and snack on one ounce of peanuts (unsalted please). You will have a healthier menu everyday, and it will be delicious.

One thing to keep in mind is that the amounts of resveratrol found in these foods can vary greatly. It is safe to incorporate them into your meals every day choosing to eat a bit more or less of any of these foods on any day as you please.

The benefits of resveratrol can be attained through dietary supplements as well. Check with your physician before taking any dietary supplements.

Long Island Wine Country

Long Island’s North Fork is where the first successful vines were planted by Alex and Louisa Hargrave on their potato farm in Cutchogue in 1973.

Early on they fought against droughts, diseases and hurricanes. But they persevered and their pioneering spirit has inspired others to follow their lead and produce world class wines.

Today there are more than 40 ‘world class’ wineries in Long Island wine country.

summer-2011-077Visitors to Long Island wine country will be pleasantly surprised that the region has maintained it’s rural character yet can boast that its changes from acres of potato farms to the beautiful vineyards and tasting rooms now has a prominent “dot” on the map.

The world class wines, beautiful inns and the wide range of activities are waiting for you to take advantage of all there is to offer.

North Fork Climate

The North Fork area is a narrow section of Long Island that is bordered by the Long Island Sound, Peconic Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean and provides the area with a lengthy period of freeze-free temperatures.

The growing season is up to 3 weeks longer than the South Fork area.

South Fork Climate

The South Fork wine region is in an area known as the “Hamptons.” It is a summer playground for many celebrities and glamorous parties. The deep, well drained loam-rich soil on the South Fork needs less irrigation than the vineyards on the North Fork.

The three major wineries on the South Fork are Duck Walk Vineyard, Channing Daughters Winery, and Wölffer Estate.

Wine Tastings

Many of the Long Island wineries are family owned and operated. They are involved in the business from planting vines, to managing the vineyard and making and producing the wines.

Many wineries have tours often given by the one of the winery’s family members. During the tour questions are always welcome and you will get an insiders view as to what goes on behind the scenes.

After your tour of the winery, you can stop into the tasting room and try the local wines. There are 29 tasting rooms on the North Fork and 3 tasting rooms on the South Fork.

Directions

If you are traveling by car from New York City, take the Long Island Expressway (LIE) east and follow the directions below for the North and South Fork Wine Trails.

North Fork Wine Trail

  1. Continue on the LIE to exit #71.
  2. At the end of the off-ramp turn right in a south-easterly direction along Rt. 24 to Rt. 105.
  3. At Rt. 105 turn left in a northerly direction to Rt. 25 (Main Rd.).
  4. Turn right and travel east on Rt. 25. For vineyards on Rt. 48 (Sound Ave./North Rd.) continue north on Rt. 105 to the end. Green “Wine Trail” road signs will guide you to the wineries.

South Fork Wine Trail

  1. Continue on the LIE to exit #71.
  2. At the end of the off-ramp turn right in a south-easterly direction along Rt. 24 to Rt. 27. Proceed east on Rt. 27 into the Towns of Water Mill and Bridgehampton, following the winery signs.

Click here to download a map and additional directions.