Weekly wine, food,
& travel features!
 














 


TumTum Tree Foundation donates $375,000 to childrens charities

The TumTum Tree Foundation, a Birmingham-based non-profit organization supporting Alabama’s children’s charities, held its 27th Annual Charity Wine Auction Weekend Nov. 3-5, 2016.

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March Wine Dinners

March Wine Dinners at GianMarco's!

Steele Wines Dinner: March 12

Vision Cellars Wine Dinner, March 16

 

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Unexpected Match

Tired of pizza and beer?

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Pair a New Mexico sparkling rosé with a Flammkuchen at The Wine Loft. Flammkuchen (pronounced flam-KOOK-en) comes from South Germany and Alsace, France. Flammkuchen were originally used by bakers to test the temperature of their ovens.

 

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Cool Cocktails

Chill on Bottega’s patio with handcrafted martinis.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Bottega Restaurant and Bottega Café each boast their own private, hedge-lined patio. Massive iron gates serve as entry to both. And in the spring yellow Lady Banks roses burst with color and aroma—draping the water fountain on the restaurant side. But no matter the season, when weather permits Bottega’s patio is the place to be.

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Lesser Known White Wines for Autumn

Autumn is time for cooler weather, shorter days, football, Christmas shopping, holiday meals, and Bizkaiko Txakolina. Huh?

By Foster Smith

I have enjoyed several winesin past weeks that are unique, delicious and still somewhat under the radar. These wines will be delightful with the changing seasons and coming feasts. In lieu of the traditional holiday food pairing advice I will submit instead some lesser seen wines.

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Pairing Problems

Have you tried pairing food and wines by considering all of the components in the dish? If so, you have likely discovered that even still the classic rules still apply. You must also consider the food preparation, the sweetness, acidity, and bitterness of the dish.

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Wine Shopping

Which wine shop is for you?

- Foster Smith, CSW

In today’s growing U.S. wine market consumers are offered a greater than ever selection of retail outlets. In the Birmingham metro area the increase in local proprietor owned wine shops have more than doubled in ten years and the entry of new national chain and club stores into the market has added even more choice. So where is the best place to buy your wine? 

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Modern Day Wine Accessories

Enjoying wine is a tradition that is almost as old as time.

For countless years people have been making, drinking, and loving wine. From modern wine presses to innovative wine racks, there have been numerous advancements in the field of wine preparation and storing over the years. Methods of pressing, transporting, and storing wine have evolved over time to help make the process more efficient and enjoyable. As the process has evolved, so to have the accessories that accompany a fine glass of wine. Wine tools have made many advancements over the years to help this age old tradition of wine drinking grow with the ages.

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IWFS 75th Anniversary & Truffle Dinner

The Birmingham Branch of the International Wine and Food Society recently held its 2008 Truffle Wine Dinner, at Bottega Restaurant, on the 75th anniversary of the IWFS.   

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Wine Cellars

In determining your cellar needs, it pays to overestimate the quantity of wine you will collect in coming years. Its is surprising how fast the cellar can fill. From large to small, enjoy our video library of cellar tours of Birmingham's private collectors.

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Riesling

Riesling (REEZ-ling, REES-ling) is a highly aromatic wine with aromas of peach, apricot and flavors of peach, rhubarb, green apple lime, mineral and flowers. It is low to medium in alcohol and high in acidity. Key regions include Germany, Austria, Alsace, Australia, New Zealand, California, Oregon, Washington and New York.

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Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc is a white wine grape from the Loire valley of France. It is high in acidity means, so it lends itself to the making dry whites, sparkling wines, balanced dessert wines and Brandy.

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Sipping Semillon


This lesser known grape satisfies a collector’s sweet tooth. If you have a sweet tooth and a fat wallet, try the most expensive dessert wine in the world, Chateau d’Yquem (shah-toh dee-kehm).

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Seize Sauvignon Blanc

Most wine drinkers evolve their palates by discovering new wines. And Chardonnay drinkers find Sauvignon Blanc a refreshing alternative to Chardonnay.

 

 

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Silver Screen Chardonnay



Learn 20 Favorite Grapes in this 20-week series. And start with the world's most famous white grape, Chardonnay.

 

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How To Build A Wine Cellar

A wine cellar can be designed and built with or without professional help. But unless you are in the construction business you will likely need help with the build out...

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Decanting Wine

Wine decanters are for everyone-not just wine snobs!

By Jan Walsh

History:
Prior to modern winery filtration and bottling processes, wines were typically bottled from the wine barrel without any filtering to remove debris. So decanting wines was essential in order to remove this debris. Today's fining process results in clarified, stabilized wine.

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Uncorking Corked Wine

Is this wine corked?

By Jan Walsh

Someone recently told me that she liked "corked wines" and didn't understand why screw caps were coming back. Obviously by "corked wines," she meant wines sealed with cork-rather than wines contaminated by a trichloranisole TCA, for which the term is more commonly used.

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Sparkling Wines

Although it is a common practice to call any wine that has bubbles "Champagne," this is incorrect. All sparkling wines are not Champagne. Yet all Champagnes are sparkling wines. Only a sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France is Champagne, although many sparkling wines made in other regions of the world are just as fine as Champagne.

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Holiday Pairing Pointers

Some pairings are simply classics. Other dishes are so complex that wine pairing becomes a chemistry experiment. Fortunately for all of us, many styles of wine pair well with many styles of food. So if one chooses dishes that fit into wine friendly parameters or selects food friendly wines, pairing can be a cinch!

  • Contrast fatty foods with acidic or tannic wines.
  • Pair sweet wines with salty dishes for a nice contrast. But beware of much salt.
  • Pair a dessert wine sweeter than the dessert.....

 

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Wines To Save

Most people mistakenly think that all wine gets better with age. But 97% of wines made today cannot be aged. If kept for any extended period of time, these wines will just get…old. Very few are, as the French say, "vins de grade," (wines to save). And even they will get old eventually-or spoil, if not stored properly.

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Chambré (Room Temperature)

The only thing worse than a red wine served cold is a white wine served at room temperature.

By Jan Walsh

Chambré means "room temperature" in French, and sometimes refers to the proper serving temperature of a wine. But the temperature inside French castles was a bit cooler than today's homes. And even today, summertime temperatures may be cooler inside than those in wintertime. So rather than saying, Chambré-not that I can pronounce it anyway-let's just say that reds should be warmer than whites but not at today's room temperature.

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Reading Between The Wines

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A Dash of Wine

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Making Sense of Champagne

 

 

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Wine Tasting Tips

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Shapes for Grapes

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