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Douglas Wiens
 
December 6, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

By the Numbers: Who’s Drinking the Most Wine These Days?

Millennials and women are the new wave in wine drinkers

Anyone connected with the wine industry can rest assured that wine is not going anywhere. In fact, sales have risen in the last few years, to the tune of $32 billion spent annually.

A study published by the Wine Market Council, a non-profit association of grape producers, importers, wholesalers, retailers and other wine-related businesses, recently looked at wine drinking habits. The findings make it clear that wine is not only still popular, but gaining strength. The study revealed a couple of interesting new trends …

There are basically two words to remember when it comes to wine drinking trends: Millennials and Women.

Trend #1: Millennials and wine

First, look at the numbers regarding wine consumption by generation:

Millennials (age 21 – 38) = 42%

Baby Boomers (age 51 – 69) = 30%

Gen-X (39 – 50) = 20%

Silent Generation (70+) = 8%

Millennials now drink more wine than any other generation, and look at this:

  • Millennials drank 159.6 million cases of wine in 2015, an average of 2 cases apiece
  • 30% of those who consume wine several times per week (aka high-frequency drinkers) were Millennials
  • Between 2005 and 2010, there was a surge in high frequency drinkers from 7.9% to 13.9%, driven by the Millennials

Part of the growth has to do with the fact that the youngest Millennials are now finally over the legal drinking age of 21. That means the entire generation is free to indulge when they want.

It’s not just volume when it comes to Millennial wine habits

Millennial drinking habits and trends are different from other groups as well. Millennials have more eclectic and varied tastes than any other generation before, eschewing bottles from traditional wine-producing regions like California. “At least 30% of high-frequency, wine-drinking millennials said they had bought wine from domestic wineries like Washington and Oregon, and overseas countries like Chile, Argentina, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and South Africa over the last three months.”

Millennials also seem to have more expensive taste, as 17% have paid over $20 for a bottle of wine.

Trend #2: Women like wine … a lot

Take a look at your Facebook or Instagram feed and notice of all the memes having to do with wine. You might also notice that many of them are posted or shared by women. That’s because women drink more wine than men, often by a wide margin.

  • Women accounted for 57% of wine volume in 2015, compared to 43% of men
  • Highly involved female wine drinkers are mostly Millennials, are more often urban educated professionals, and are more ethnically diverse than the typical female wine drinker

If you want to drill down further, younger millennial women are the top trend in wine consumption. In fact, two-thirds of high-frequency wine drinkers under age 30 are women, according to a 2015 study.

The buying habits of women seem to be driven by a few interesting trends as well:

  • Women are more likely to buy wine labeled as “organic” or “sustainably-produced”
  • 51% of women age 21-24 and 38% of total women say this is important.
  • Women are also drawn to labels
  • Female wine drinkers rated “traditional, classic, and sophisticated” labels more intriguing than other types of labels
  • Women are more likely to buy a wine they’ve never tried before based on the label or a recommendation rather than buy a wine they’ve only read about

Based on the new findings, it’s clear that wine is here to stay and that millennials – especially millennial women – are the driving force in its rising popularity.

Regardless of trends, Orange Coast Winery sees wine lovers in every generation, gender, and just about every other demographic. Simply put, the love of a great wine is universal. To find the perfect wine for your next dinner party or event, visit Orange Coast Winery (online or in-person) and review our selection of fine wines for every price range and palate.

Time Posted: Dec 6, 2017 at 8:20 AM
Douglas Wiens
 
November 29, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

Wine Storage Tips for Those of us Who Don’t Have a Cellar

It’s less complicated than you think: Wine cellars are for long-term storage and aging.

Let’s get something important out of the way first. If you buy a bottle of wine today and plan to drink it in the next month or so, you don’t really need to worry all that much about storage. In that case, your concern is more about how to protect it and prepare it for drinking. 

Wine cellars are for long-term storage, and their objective is to help the wine age. With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about how to store wine—either to drink in the near future, or to store and age it, if you don’t have wine cellar. 

The ideal conditions

Wine cellars are perfect for storing wine because they can offer the optimal conditions for wine to age. If you plan to drink wine soon after purchase, you don’t have to worry about humidity, and you need to be less worried about temperature and light. 

If you have a wine cellar, though, these conditions should be:

  • An ambient temperature of 55 degrees
  • A variation in temperature of no more than 3 degrees
  • Darkness
  • 70% humidity

Let’s take a look at each of the ideal conditions so we can understand why they’re important for long-term storage, or aging—keeping in mind that this probably is the only reason why you would want to put wine in a wine cellar. 

Heat

Kudos if you have a wine refrigerator. It’s keeping your wine between the temperature of 40 and 65 degrees—which is the range of wine serving temperatures. Long-term wine storage for the purpose of aging requires the wine to be maintained instead at about 55 degrees. Why?

Oxidation is the enemy of all wine. However, some oxidation is a part of the aging process. The 55-degree temperature is that perfect balance that prevents complete oxidation, which will kill wine. What does a dead wine taste like? It’ll be flat. The oxygen will have robbed it of the volatile chemicals that create a wine’s aroma. It’ll also change color. White wines will darken and take on an amber color, and red wines will take on a brownish hue.

Excessive heat increases the rate of wine oxidation. A wine stored at 73 degrees ages twice as fast as wine stored at 55 degrees. While you might think this would be a good way to add some mellowness to a sharp cabernet sauvignon, at about 70 degrees, the components of wine begin to react to heat to create unpleasant tastes and aromas. It’s possible to actually cook a wine at temperatures above 80 degrees. 

A degree or two of temperature fluctuation might not seem like anything to worry about, but it turns out to be a big deal for long-term wine storage. Even a couple of degrees is enough to expand the wine’s volume and put pressure on the cork. When it cools the differential pulls air into the bottle. That’s an invitation for unwanted excess oxidation. 

Light

Wine is put in colored glass bottles to protect it from ultraviolet light. This offers some protection, but your wine will need more for long-term storage and aging. 

White wines are most susceptible to damage from light. The term is called “lightstruck,” and it causes wine to take on taste most often described as like wet cardboard. 

Red wines are less susceptible to being lightstruck because they contain polyphenols—also known as tannins—that protect it. It isn’t just excessive sunlight that’s the enemy of wine. Fluorescent light is just as bad. 

Humidity

This is all about protecting the cork in your bottle of wine, so there’s nothing to worry about if it has a twist-off metal cap. The objective is to keep a certain amount of moisture in the cork.

Don’t be fooled into thinking the solution is to lay the bottle on its side. The only thing this accomplishes is to keep the cork moist on the inside of the bottle—and that’s only half the battle. 

A wine cellar allows you to maintain an even and constant humidity to prevent the top of the cork from drying out. It will shrink and crack of this happens. A constant humidity of about 70% helps the cork to maintain an effective seal. 

A higher humidity may bring on the occurrence of mold on the cork and the label. The only thing this impacts is the appearance. Bottom line: it’s better to have a humidity level of 70% or higher. 

If not in the cellar…

Where to store your wine? Places to avoid include your kitchen, a storage shed, and your garage. Wait, back up. The kitchen is a bad place to store wine? 

For long-term storage and aging, yes. It can be one of the hottest places in your house, subject to huge temperature fluctuations. Kitchens also tend to be well-lit, and we like them to have lots of windows to let in the sunlight. 

Your garage or a storage shed will expose wine bottles to extreme temperature fluctuations. The cork can also allow car exhaust fumes and vapors from things you keep in storage sheds to work their way into your wine. 

Do you have a basement? That’s your substitution wine cellar. Choose a subterranean wall—not all basement walls are completely underground. Look for wine racks made of redwood. It’ll be maintenance free for you. 

Remember this important point. A wine refrigerator is not what you could call a miniature wine cellar that fits in your kitchen. While it’s great for short-term storage, its purpose is to keep your wine at the proper serving temperature.

For more information about Orange Coast Winery, our selection of wines, or to join one of our wine clubs, give us a call at 949-645-0400 or send us an email at ocwoffice@gmail.com.

Time Posted: Nov 29, 2017 at 10:20 AM
Douglas Wiens
 
November 22, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

Is it Blasphemous to Order White Wine to go with my Steak?


Pairing food with wine can’t be simplified by matching colors

Yes, people take wine seriously—which is why it’s possible to attach the word blasphemy to those who do not speak the truth about this glorious liquid. Often, though, blasphemy turns out to be only an accusation made by the uninformed. Ask Galileo, who in 1633 was accused of blasphemy and found guilty of heresy for daring to declare that our planet revolved around the sun. 

Galileo spent the rest of his life under house arrest for this. Don’t worry. A similar fate does not await you if you declare that only white wines go with fish or reds with meat. There are uninformed people out there who may accuse you of blasphemy. Now, you can help them see the light. 

The problem with one size fits all

There’s validity to the idea of the white/white red/red rule, but you shouldn’t apply it in all cases. Not all red meat is the same. You likely wouldn’t confuse salmon with flounder. The same is true with wine.

So, while it’s generally a wise idea to pair white wine with fish, it’s also important to look past the color. A Gewürztraminer tastes completely different than a Sauvignon Blanc—yet both are white wines. 

This takes us to the idea that wines and food have the responsibility to pay complementary respect in flavor, which sometimes has little to do with color. Your Dover sole filet would be overwhelmed by our Sangiovese. The flip-side to that would be the consequences of pairing our Pinot Grigio with a strong and oily filet of salmon.

And then there’s the consideration of how your meat or fish is prepared. Perhaps you’ll prepare calamari Fra Diavolo-style. A delicate white wine would be lost in the mouthful of spices.

Some specificity for the generality

Hard and fast doesn’t work well with the complications brought on by pairing a main ingredient—in this case, either meat or fish—with myriad cooking styles, and then applying the white/white red/red rule.

The color rule is a good place to start, but then take it to the next round of elimination by keeping these things in mind:

  • Oven-baked fish, as well as oil-rich filets like salmon, can be paired with a medium red wine. Think Pinot Noir. Careful with the stronger reds, though. Fish may taste mild when it’s unadorned—but its iodized undertones can clash with a red wine’s tannins. You’ll get a mouthful of metallic or bitter sensations.
  • Red meats—especially with marbled fat—will soften these sharp tannins. It’s why most people opt to pair wines such as our Malbec with a Porterhouse steak or a dinosaur-size Prime rib.
  • Back to considering the preparation method over the main ingredient: Pass on a red wine if your dish features a cream-based sauce. The fats and milk solids will coat your tongue, allowing only a portion of the spectrum of flavors contained in red wines to make it to your taste buds. That limited spectrum may not be to your liking. Go for something oak-aged, like a creamy Chardonnay.

Galileo was on the bad side of the Catholic Church for more than 300 years for daring to voice his opinion about our Earth and the sun. Ultimately, the church admitted that there was a preponderance of evidence to their contrary belief.

You may have some pushback when you decide to order a bottle of our Viognier to go with your steak au poivre. It’s doubtful you’ll spend the rest of our life under house arrest, though. In fact, you may actually gain standing by educating your naysayers about the limiting consequences of the white/white red/red rule.

For more information about Orange Coast Winery, our selection of wines, or to join one of our wine clubs, give us a call at 949-645-0400 or send us an email at ocwoffice@gmail.com.

Time Posted: Nov 22, 2017 at 6:28 AM
Douglas Wiens
 
November 15, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

The Best Ways to Store an Open Bottle of Wine

Ensure your wine tastes great longer with these tips

Forgive us if you took one look at the title of this post and laughed out loud; we understand that for a lot of folks, once a bottle of wine is opened, there is little chance there will be any left. But on the rare occasion that you and your guests have had your fill and you realize there’s wine leftover, you definitely don’t want to waste it.

First of all, why does wine go stale?

The culprit is oxidation. At first, oxygen is often good for wine. This is why people are encouraged to swirl it in their glasses or ‘let it breathe’ once it is opened; oxygen releases flavors and aromas. However, when wine gets too much oxygen for too long, it degrades. It becomes bitter and eventually it will turn into vinegar. You only really have two or three days to enjoy a bottle once it’s opened.

How to keep your wine as fresh as possible

Put that cork back in

This one may seem obvious, but the quicker you get that cork in, the sooner you can slow down the oxidation process. Make sure it is in nice and tight.

Stick it in the fridge

A common mistake people make with open wine is leaving it out. Once you put the cork back in, you can put the bottle in the refrigerator. The cold temperatures will further help limit the impact of oxidation.

Pour it into a smaller container

The two previous measures can preserve wine, but all of that extra air in the bottle contains oxygen, and we know what oxygen does to open wine. This is why if you have an empty half-bottle sitting around, pour it in. An even better option is a mason jar with its airtight lid. 

Try this fancy device

If you constantly find yourself with open bottles of wine, it may be time to invest in a Coravin. This contraption uses a needle to pierce the cork and then sends argon gas into the bottle. You can pour however much you like and then take out the needle. At that point the cork seals naturally, so you will not have to worry about that pesky oxygen getting in.

No matter if it’s your favorite bottle of inexpensive wine or perhaps something you’ve splurged on, you do not want to squander any of it. The above tips will help you enjoy it longer. And if you’re looking to try something new, come join us at Orange Coast Winery. We have a great selection of wines you’re sure to want to take home. And whether you finish a bottle in one sitting or not is up to you. 

Time Posted: Nov 15, 2017 at 9:07 AM
Douglas Wiens
 
November 8, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

Should You Take a Wine Seriously if it Doesn’t Have a Cork?

The difference between a screw cap and a cork? About 10 seconds.

The waiter brings the bottle of wine you selected to the table and shows it to you. What’s this? It’s got a screw cap on it. Which means that it somehow managed to get mislabeled. There’s no way a quality wine would be bereft of a cork, right? Not so fast.

The venerable cork, long a signature characteristic of fine wines, have become … well, no longer a signature characteristic of fine wines. Here’s the story behind why cork is starting to take a back seat to screw tops.

When it’s meant to be drunk young

Some winemaking areas, such as Australia and New Zealand, have switched to using screw caps for nearly all their wines—regardless of quality. The rest of the world has taken a more science-based approach. Winemakers have begun to use screw caps for their white wines, as well as red wines that are meant to be drunk young. Here’s why.

The metal screw cap may look less appealing, but it’s far more efficient at preventing oxygen from entering the wine bottle. That’s important if you want to keep a bottled wine crisp and well-preserved—which are characteristics that are strongly attributed to whites.

Breathable isn’t always preferable

Cork—whether it’s the real deal or synthetic—is not an impermeable substance. It’ll allow a slow exchange of oxygen with the wine. That’s great for more complex wines. These would include most red wines, as well as certain whites such as chardonnay.

The oxygen exchange permitted by the cork allows bigger and fuller wines to continue to develop inside the bottle. That small amount of air exchange helps smooth out tannins that otherwise might take the smooth finish off the glass of cabernet sauvignon when it’s poured into your glass. You need those tannins for the velvety feeling that reds impart in your mouth, but their oxidization is what makes them more drinkable.

Serving wine on time

So, it turns out that the screw top is not necessarily an indication of quality. In fact, it just might be a sign that the winemaker has taken steps to ensure that your bottle of wine will taste exactly as it should. That metal screw cap still has a bit of a stigma going on, though. Mainly that’s because of how we’ve come to associate the pleasure of drinking a fine wine with its uncorking.

That’s all well and good if you’ve got a wine screw and you know how to use it. Screw tops banish the possibility of broken corks, or small pieces of them floating on our freshly poured glass of wine. That’s a bit of a texture violation, for sure.

Truthfully, the only sacrifice a metal screw cap introduces to the wine drinking experience is that of ceremony. Metal and cork (the real stuff) are both renewable substances, so neither has an advantage there. It is a bit difficult, though, for your server—or you—to unscrew with flourish a bottle of excellent wine. There’s no squeaking of cork against glass, rewarded finally by the satisfying “pop!” of its release from the bottle.

If speed is of the essence, an accomplished server of sommelier can uncork your bottle of wine in about 10 seconds. It’ll take you longer than that if you don’t do this for a living—or at least on a regular basis. The screw cap is your better choice if introducing the wine to your taste buds is more important than the ceremony of uncorking.

And, depending on the type of wine you’re about to enjoy after the cap is unscrewed, you may actually enjoy it more.

For more information about Orange Coast Winery, our selection of wines, or to join one of our wine clubs, give us a call at 949-645-0400 or send us an email at ocwoffice@gmail.com.

Time Posted: Nov 8, 2017 at 7:11 AM
Douglas Wiens
 
October 25, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

Sweet with No Sugar

What does “fruit forward” mean in the world of wine?

If you have ever heard people talking about wine – perhaps on TV or even just at the next table in a restaurant – it might have seemed like they were almost speaking in a different language. With words like “tannins” and “varietal” being bandied about, you may have thought it was time to go home and find that old SAT vocab book.

While there is a lot of jargon associated with wine, the truth is you don’t need to know about all of the nitty-gritty details to enjoy it or to enhance your tasting abilities. However, it is always good to familiarize yourself with the basics. One term that’s worth knowing is “fruit forward.”

What it is and what it isn’t

First let’s start with what fruit forward isn’t. While it may sound like it, it doesn’t involve the sugar content or sweetness of a wine; it has to do with smell and flavor. When a wine is called fruit forward, it has a dominant taste of fruit. All wine has an element of fruit in it – it is made of grapes, after all – but in many cases, those fruit flavors are intertwined with its other components. A fruit forward wine has more of an emphasis on the grape as opposed to its terroir (uh-oh, there’s another one of those wine words; it just means where it was grown) or how it was made.

If it’s made from grapes, how are there other fruits in it?

That’s a great question with an interesting answer. During the fermentation process when grapes turn into wine, chemical compounds are created. These compounds are identical to the ones found in other foods, including various kinds of fruit. Because there are so many compounds that are affected by an assortment of things, such as differences in grapes and the type of barrel a wine is stored in, this can create a virtual smorgasbord of fruity flavors.

Both a positive and a negative

While it can be a great way to describe a wine, fruit forward can also be seen as a negative quality. For some people, a fruity wine is one-dimensional or simple. However, that doesn’t mean that over time, a fruit forward wine won’t reveal its nuances. And besides, if it tastes good, what’s the difference?

Orange Coast has the fruit forward wine that will excite your taste buds

If you’re suddenly in the mood for some fruity wine, we’re ready to pour you a glass. When you sample our wine, there are many different fruits you’ll be able to smell and taste, including strawberries, cherries, pears, and even pineapples. Our tasting room is open seven days a week, and we’d love to see you tonight.

Time Posted: Oct 25, 2017 at 6:58 AM
Douglas Wiens
 
October 18, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

The Chemistry of Wine's Three Major Categories

Simplifying the science of good taste

Light. Sparkling. Fortified. The three major types of wine branch off into a rich variety of styles and flavors. There's a certainly a science to it, but the organic nature of wine-making means it isn't an exact one. Ongoing developments in wine research have revealed that despite the differences between categories, all wine types share a common molecular make up.

From trace elements in the soil and the delicate balance of the climate right up to the tonal influence of the glass, the science behind wine is a fascinating subject. To understand the chemical aspect of wine, it has to be broken down to its roots.

The basic composition of all wine

The grapes themselves are made largely of water (typically 70-80% of their make up) with their remaining chemical volume comprised of carbohydrates, glucose, fructose, and acids. As a result, a huge 98% of that flavorful bottle of wine is actually only water. All the scents, tastes and textures are to be found in the remaining 2%. We can split the chemistry of the wine-making process into five segments: the harvest, the crush, the press, the fermentation, and the purification. Every individual stage plays an important role.

Harvesting

During harvesting, it's the singular terroir of the grape that first influences the wine's chemistry. Terroir has a multiple meaning as it refers to the soil, climate, and topography in which the grapes are grown as well as to the flavor those factors may impart. For example, the sugars present in fruit develop more quickly at higher temperatures and more slowly at lower ones. Since it is the sugar which is broken down by yeast into alcohol, the greater the sugar content means the stronger the wine.

Crushing

The grape flesh contains tartaric acid which maintains a wine's chemical stability and has a strong influence on color and taste, followed by malic acid, which produces a flat taste in low quantities and a sharp bite conversely. The grape's skin also releases flavanols: if you've ever heard wine described as having a cocoa/chocolatey taste, it's because flavanols are present in both.

Pressing

Once the grape has been pulped and fermented over a period of days (or in the case of white wine, before fermentation), the removal of the juice is next. The tartaric and malic acids released during this process prevent excessive bacterial growth. The pressed juice adds polyphenols (tannin) to the wine. Wines such as the Cabernet Sauvignon are made dry this way, with dryness increasing the more tannin is present. Tannin content can also be influenced later in the process by barrel storage.

Fermentation and purification

Here is where the yeast goes to work converting the glucose and fructose into ethanol. Carried out beneath a blanket of carbon dioxide, the fermentation and purification process alters the malic acid to lactic acid, mellowing the flavor of the wine. The wine is repeatedly racked to siphon off excess carbon dioxide and introduce oxygen.

Bottled chemistry

When it's been corked, a bottle of red wine can now contain between 800 and 1,000 different chemical compounds. A sparkling glass of champagne uses its 20 million bubbles to send out a broad spectrum of aromas the instant they break on the surface. The eight chemicals in this diagram are only an indication of the many further chemicals involved.

Glass, but not least

The subtle origins and interplay of these compounds has received dedicated and intense scientific focus in an effort to unravel the rich tapestry of a wine's flavor and aromatic composition. Going beyond the standard swirl across the tongue, chemists and researchers have devoted years (and such advanced techniques as liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry) to split a vintage into molecular fractions.

It's heady stuff, but the research has borne fruit by proving that the characteristics of every type of wine boil down to differing concentrations of the same 60 or so molecules. From there, the shape of the wine glass itself can have a direct influence on aroma and flavor.

Some final facts

We can't forget the final act of wine chemistry: how it alters our own. Did you know that alcohol is actually one of the four major fuel groups of the human body? Along with protein, fat and carbohydrates, alcohol is converted into acetate by the liver. Acetate is second only to carbs when the body seeks a source of energy to burn.

There are other benefits to the occasional glass. From strengthening bone marrow through a seeming boost to estrogen levels to reducing Helicobacter pylori which can play havoc with our stomachs, wine can have some very positive chemistry. Needless to say: everything in moderation!

Winemakers pride themselves on the individuality of their vintages. With many chemical factors dictating production and science becoming ever more aware of the mechanisms behind it all, the likelihood of vintners having greater control over their product isn't far away. The future of wine looks very exciting...and may be as high tech as it is high class.

At Orange Coast Winery, we believe in a blend of science and art. With precision and passion, we select the finest grapes from the Temecula Valley and the Lodi area of Northern California. You can email us at ocwevents@gmail.com for private or corporate events, at ocwoffice@gmail.com for Admin or Wine Club information, or call 949-645-0400 to get in touch.

Time Posted: Oct 18, 2017 at 7:02 AM
Douglas Wiens
 
October 11, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

3 Incredible Orange Coast Food Pairings with Our Wine

White wine with your steak? Red wine with your seafood? Yes, please!

Mankind as we know it will not cease to exist if you decide you’d like a bottle of white wine to go with your steak. While it’s true that you’ll generally see red wines paired with red meats, you don’t have to go that route if you don’t want to.

There are many white wines that will pair well with steak—and sometimes, you’re just not in the mood for the bold flavors of a red wine. Here’s what you should keep in mind when pairing wine with food, as well as a few suggestions involving our own wines.

Chateaubriand and …?

It doesn’t matter whether it’s red or white: you’ll need something that’s got enough acidity to cut through the beautifully marbled fat of a luscious cut of meat like chateaubriand. Our suggestion would be a bottle of our 2013 ES Cabernet Sauvignon LIB.

Yes, it’s predictably red—and fabulously so. Each sip rewards you with a mouthful of rosemary and eucalyptus herbal aromas that take your bite of beef to the next level of flavor enhancement. The savage nature of this grape has been slightly tamed by a few years of aging, yet it’s still bold enough to work well with the creamy mushroom sauces often served with chateaubriand.

What would we suggest if you wanted to stray into white wine territory? Look for something bright, with a good deal of minerality. Again, it’s to help with all that marbled fat that makes this cut of beef so fabulous. Pop the cork on a bottle of champagne. The bubbles will lift the fatty richness of a bite of chateaubriand off your palate.

A Mediterranean Plate of Olives, Cheese, and …?

Keep your palate in a globetrotting mode and choose an unexpected pairing like our 2015 Viognier. Your first challenge will be to pronounce it. The French grape variety flows off the tongue as “vee-own-yay.” People often mistake it for chardonnay, as both wines are full-bodied and share a creamy texture.

Your nose will distinguish the difference. It’ll report yellow apples and lemons if it’s a chardonnay. If there’s viognier in your glass, your nose will send you signals for tangerine and roses. There’s no other way to describe this next characteristic. A viognier starts with a softness that delivers an oily feeling at your mid-palate.

For this reason, it’s perfectly paired with any dish that has paprika, turmeric, or saffron. It’s right at home with olives, or anything that includes butter. You’ll want this over a chardonnay because the latter’s creamy or waxy contribution to your palate may interfere with some cheeses.

A Grilled Fillet of Halibut, Tuna, or Salmon, and …?

We’ve already stuck our respective noses up at the concept of sticking with a red wine for red meat. We’re going to keep on in that direction by suggesting our 2014 Malbec. You’ve probably started hearing about this red wine, which is now being grown in many places other than its native Argentina.

Your first taste of a Malbec may make you say, “Ah, a merlot.” They share that earthy and woody character. And like merlot, Malbec often was only used as a blending grape. Many cabernet sauvignons will use it to achieve a mellowness and balance.

But give that sip of Malbec a moment to develop. You begin to taste a rustic characteristic that the simpler merlot just can’t establish. Your nose will flash sensations of earth and perhaps even chocolate. If you pair Malbec with red meat, the enzymes will soften the tannins of the wine and let this fruitiness shine through. However, a grilled, thick-fleshed fish fillet leaves the mild tannins in place. You will love the results.

There are more wines on our list. We’ve got suggestions on what to pair for all of them. The rest of those suggestions will cost you a visit to the winery. Your reward is a taste of a superb family of wines.

For more information about Orange Coast Winery, our selection of wines, or to join one of our wine clubs, give us a call at 949-645-0400 or send us an email at ocwoffice@gmail.com.

Time Posted: Oct 11, 2017 at 7:05 AM
Douglas Wiens
 
October 4, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

Complexity, Intensity, and Balance in That Glass of Wine

The three hallmarks of a great wine

Judging the quality of wine is often subjective. Every individual has a preference and one person’s “favorite” could make another turn up his or her nose. However, there are three general areas that can be used to determine the quality of any bottle of wine: complexity, intensity, and balance.

1. Complexity

Complexity refers to the different notes and flavor compositions that can be detected. A great wine will be multidimensional. According to sommelier Jorn Kleinhans, “That's where you get descriptors of flavor profile like plum, cherry, vanilla, or tobacco. The more of those flavors you can taste, the more complex the wine, and the more complex, the higher quality.”

There are several nuances that can lead to greater complexity. Start with the vineyard and the notion of terroir. According to thekitchn.com, “Older vines as well as vines grown on poor soils tend to produce less grapes, but more concentrated, flavorful ones. This adds complexity.” Winemaking techniques can also affect the complexity. An approach that is more non-industrial will generally produce more complex wine. Barrel fermentation and the blending of different grapes are also ways to add complexity.

2. Intensity

Intensity has more to do with the ability to identify and distinguish the flavors present. It also relates to a wine’s appearance and aroma. The key is to have a very complex taste that still allows all the flavors and notes to be clear. In terms of appearance, the more concentrated and opaque the color, the higher the intensity should be. You will often see wines described as “pale, medium or dark” and this is an indication of intensity. The darker the color, the more intense the wine should taste.

How can you judge the intensity of a wine? Here is a tip from Wine Spectrum. Tilt the glass slightly (this works best against a white background - a napkin or tablecloth work nicely). Now, look straight down at the wine from above, the richer/ darker the color, the more intense the wine.

3. Balance

Just like in life, we want a good balance in a wine. According to another article on thekitchn.com, “Balance is extremely important in any wine and one of its most sought after characteristics. A wine is balanced when all the different components are working in harmony - a balanced wine is one where no one component protrudes or awkwardly sticks out.”

There are 5 key components that need to be in balance:

  1. Sweetness: A sweet wine needs a good balance of acidity or it will taste syrupy.
  2. Acidity: Too little and the wine will taste heavy or flat. Too much and it will be austere and tart.
  3. Tannin: Tannin is an element that makes a wine taste dry. It adds bitterness, astringency and complexity. However, there needs to be sufficient fruit concentration so that as the tannins resolve (as the wine ages), there is still enough fruit flavor present. Too much tannin and the wine will be sharp and harsh to the taste.
  4. Alcohol: Too high and there will be a burning sensation on the finish. Too little and the wine will taste hollow.
  5. Fruit: Wines with insufficient fruit will have a weak, thin flavor.

Now that you know the three main ingredients that go into a quality wine, start judging for yourself. To find the perfect wine for your next dinner party or event, visit Orange Coast Winery and review our selection of fine wines for every price range and palate.

Time Posted: Oct 4, 2017 at 8:37 AM
Douglas Wiens
 
September 27, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

4 Reasons to Visit Orange Coast (Other than Our Wine)

You’ll come for the wine, but you’ll want to come back for so much more

It may not be too much of a revelation to say that most folks visit a winery for the wine. And while that is a perfectly fine reason to visit a winery, in many cases it’s the only reason. The wine may be great, but if there’s nothing else going on but other people silently sipping, that’s just boring.

Our goal with Orange Coast was to create a place where there was always something happening. The wine may have the starring role, but there are several supporting players that contribute to our fun and festive environment.

Live music

Orange Coast is quickly becoming a hot spot for some of the best musicians in the area. In addition to live music every Wednesday, we also host a number of special shows throughout the year. We recently held a benefit for the Alzheimer’s Association featuring an evening of acoustic music from the great James Intveld.

Are you ready for some Malbec?!

Football and beer may be sort of synonymous with each other, but we’re trying to change that. Monday evening, we open up our Member’s Room for Monday Night Football. As you watch the action on the gridiron, you’ll have a chance to sample some amazing wine and tasty tidbits that will make you never want to go back to beer and pretzels.

The perfect date night

Whether it’s a first date or the first time in forever that you’ve been able to break away from the kids, we can provide a great atmosphere. We’ll get you set up in a cozy corner, bring you a couple of glasses of wine (or a bottle, perhaps), some food if you like, and then you can spend the rest of the evening staring into each other’s eyes. (or at your phones, whatever floats your boat.)

A great chance to meet people

You can stop in to Orange Coast pretty much every day and find fellow wine-lovers with their noses buried in their glasses. But if you are looking for a way in to get to know some of these folks to make a new acquaintance or perhaps for networking purposes, our wine clubs are perfect. We have two different clubs that not only give you a discount on all wine and food, you’ll also get exclusive access to our Member’s Room and invitations to our private events.

Have we got you anxious to experience Orange Coast for yourself? We’re open seven days a week and we’d love to see you! And if you’re looking for more information about us, our events, or anything else, you can call us at 949-645-0400 or send us an email to ocwoffice@gmail.com. 

Time Posted: Sep 27, 2017 at 10:59 AM