‘Tis the season and all that, but if you’re like me and you’re struggling to get into the Christmas spirit (but you also desperately don’t want to be a grinch) then I may have just the solution for you. You see, while I love and have always loved the Festive season, I must admit that this being a grown-up gig has taken some of the magic out of the whole thing. Work, deadlines, last minute crises. And let’s not talk about the anxiety of figuring out leave and holiday arrangements. Bah! Humbug! Hardly things that make me want to wrap myself in tinsel and sing Fa-la-la-la-laaaa. So how do we combat The Grinch at this truly lovely time of year? What could we do to dust off the anxiety and “meh-ness” of 2014 and get ready to have some summer fun in the gorgeous winelands? Lucky for you all, I have a secret. It’s called #SecretStellies and it might just put you in the summer festive season mood.
The Incogvino SuperFANS are all about the wine, and not just the tasting and the drinking. Being an inquisitive bunch, the following question popped up on our mailing list this week. “Egg protein? Milk protein? Is this normal?” with reference to a wine label with the aforementioned listed on it. This brought up the topic of fining agents and the question of not only what, but how, these processing aids are used in the making of wine. The science of fining agents can be quite complicated (some Chemistry 101: the molecules of fining agents have either positive or negative charges which affect the way they interact with the compounds in wine, which also have positive or negative charges. Science!) but the basics can be simple to understand. Here’s a quick clarification about fining agents in wine.
South African wine farms are diverse with many offering not just wine, but experiences, pairings and world-class gastronomic experiences. Diversity aside, there is a golden thread that runs through and binds many of our most well-known estates: history. Since the humble beginnings of our country as a halfway station between Europe and India, wine has been an established part of that history. Groot Constantia, Vergelegen, Blaauwklippen, Muratie, Alto (to name a few) were all established within the first century of the Dutch setting foot in the Cape. In 1791, Nederburg was bought by Philippus Bernardus Wolvaardt for 5600 guilders and the estate took its place in SA wine history. And this historical (and oenological) gem is hiding in plain sight.
We all know wine is subjective, driven by opinion and taste and balanced out by knowledge and experience. So also, it seems, is the topic of wine glasses. Which glass shape is the best for which wine type or style? Do expensive, exquisite crystal glasses improve the experience above supermarket cheapies? Is there an actual effect or is it all about perception? There are as many opinions on this matter as there are shapes and types of glasses. Where do we even begin?