Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fighting Breast Cancer with Wine

No this isn't a science journal, and no I don't have some crackpot cure for cancer using homemade wine!

What I can tell you is that with great thanks going out to my parents, Tom & Marilyn Baziak and all of their friends we raised $867 for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer last Saturday.

We have had a annual wine tasting to raise money for the American Cancer Society since 2007 and we always have a great time. Cabot Cheese graciously sponsored us with 3 kinds of cheese, a new wine & cheese pairing guide and some give-aways. We had some drawings, Margot won the pig Snuggy, and a lot of talk about what we were up to with our wines.

We served the following tasty selections:

2008 Chilean Chardonnay
2008 White Blend #1 & #2
2009 Strawberry #2
2008 Cabernet Blend
2009 VT Dandelion
2009 Black Currant
2008 Cabernet Franc Ice Wine

The Dandelion wine was the unique wine of the day. Most people hadn't had it before so were surprised at the pleasant taste that does remind you of flowers after some consideration. It has a lot of lemon as well, which isn't bad either. The Strawberry and the Cab Blend were the big hits and we went home with only one bottle of the eight we brought between them. The Chardonnay has matured well and ended up being a nice addition as our hosts have traveled the world tasting many varieties along the way.

So in the end we are fighting cancer with wine and we can clearly say it is making a real difference!



Local Beer Update

I have had a few new local beers recently and wanted to share.

Some of our recent tastes were at the Wicked Wine & Beer Fest held at Mel's Funway in Litchfield. Several of the well known regional or national brewers were there, and Long Trail and Shipyard both had tasty seasonal brews. The Long Trail Imperial Porter was new for me and was one of the best all day! There were lots of Obtoberfest selections, including one from Bud that was nothing interesting at all.

Kona Brewing from HI was an interesting surprise and their Drifter will a special hops grown just for them was the most unique pale style I tried.

Local brewers Manchester Brewing, Martha's Exchange, and Pennichuck Brewing were also present. Manchester Brewing had their Naught Nancy and an Oatmeal Stout that were both top notch. Since the fest I have also had their Imperial Blonde. I liked it, but found that in the imperial styles I like the whites best, and then the real dark ones.

I also had a chance to pick up the Tripel White from White Birch Brewing in Hooksett. This beer is amazing. It had plenty of citrus, a pronounced flavor and a nice creamy texture. The bottles were hand labeled with numbered labels which should give you some idea of the time spent crafting these brews.



Thursday, September 24, 2009

Local Fruit Wines

Strawberries, peaches, pears and plums.

We have made or are in the process of making wine from all of those fruits grown by farms in town. Much love and thanks go out to Sunncrest, Elwood and Macks for the wonderful products we have acquired so far this year. The wines are better than ever! If you haven't visit any of their farm stands or U-Pick locations you should and often.

I wrote an earlier blog on the strawberry wine and will only follow that up with feedback that it is the best in 4 tries.

The peach wine has a beautiful orange/gold color and a subtle nose of peaches. We have some blending plans for this wine which I will write more about in time.

The pear wine is still fermenting and so far is looking good, but more time and clearing is required before its future self starts to shine through.

The local plum crop this was beaten by weather and as such the quantity we got will be blended with Riesling juice to make a full batch. More on that one later as well.

We also have hard cider on deck, but have not yet decided on who to source it from.



Thursday, September 10, 2009

Strawberry Wine

I have become known for my Strawberry wine, one could be known for worse things I imagine, which has become a driver for me to improve future batches.

Early this year we made a batch from frozen berries as we have in past years. The color was similar, although a bit more red, still a light shade and very transparent. The aroma and flavor were also similar, howevera slight bitter aftertaste has been noticed in this batch. While not much of an improvement, no loss either.

During strawberry season here in Southern NH we picked 38 lbs of berries and used about 34 for a batch of wine. About 4 lbs were used in a syrup for flavoring after the wine was stabilized. For this batch the color is much deeper, darker and reminds you of what you see when you look at a ripe berry. The aroma and flavor are much enhanced and the bitterness is not present as far as I can tell. The wine is smooth and medium-dry so it should appeal to a broad audience, unlike our past berry batches that tended to be on the sweet side.

I'll be popping bottles of this at upcoming parties so nobody should be fearful they will lose out. I also added some sulphite at bottling to help with preservation and longevity so if you don't see us soon you also should have no fear.

Having been docked in competition for aroma and color with my strawberry wines, I expect this batch will fair much better.



Monday, September 7, 2009

No Reservations, No Complaints

Margot and I have been watching the marathon of Anthony Bourdain's show No Reservations today. While I have seen the show before I never sat down to really watch the show. While the marathon offers visits to a long list of destinations one in particular caught our attention due to a curious drink that was mentioned.

Red wine and cola?

I did a quick web search and found that it is called Calimixo in several countries, including Spain.

On the show it was demonstrated at 7 parts red wine and 3 parts cola. We found a bit more cola enhanced the drinkability, but having traveled to other countries to find their Coke products to be a bit sweeter we aren't surprised.

When I first saw it I wasn't sure what to think, but knowing I had at least one bottle of red wine to spare I was sure it was worth a try.

With a near 50/50 blend the drink is smooth and flavorful almost like a low sugar root beer. Make no mistake, it goes down easy and it has plenty of alcohol so it stacks up quick!

The Rust Belt (Baltimore, etc) episode is on now so I need to go and turn my attention back to the TV.