How to Hold a Wine Glass

Mon, 10/31/2022 - 18:29 -- johnk

When I first started to drink wine, I tried to do it the as I had seen people in the movies or on television. You know with hand clasped around the glass’s bowl. Perhaps the television and movie screen aren’t the best resource for learning the ropes. Because yes, there is a proper way to hold a wine glass—and it matters. So, let us fine-tune our skills, enhance our wine experience. Here is everything you need to know to hold your next glass of wine like a pro.

How You Hold a Wine Glass - Does it Really Matter?

There are so many different wine glasses to choose from. Decorative, elegant, and so many different types to select from in size, shape, and of course price.

Did you know that there is a wine glass for just about every kind of wine?

Some basic wine glasses are for full-bodied red wine, light-bodied red wine, Rose or a spicy red wine, sparkling wine, light-bodied white wine, and fortified wines.

We will share more on the different types of wine glass in a future article; "Why are there so many different types of wine glasses?"

Before learning how to properly hold your wine glass, and if it matters, let's look at the "why's" of holding your glass of wine. How you handle your glass helps you get the most out of your wine experience for three main reasons:

It Preserves the Wine’s Temperature

Here are some things to consider in holding your wine glass. Your hands—especially your palms—give off heat. Therefore, holding a wine glass with too much skin contact can alter the wine’s temperature, which is critical for bringing out a wine’s intended flavor profile and characteristics.

Cuda Ridge Wines – Interview with Winemaker Larry Dino of Cuda Ridge Wines

Mon, 09/05/2022 - 16:30 -- johnk


I met winemaker Larry Dino of Cuda Ridge Wines back in April of 2022, although I had tasted some of his wines earlier it was at a meet the winemaker event portion of the 3rd annual Cabernet Franc Celebration & Competition that I got to meet the winemaker himself. I was privilege to be one of several judges for a second time. The event is an interesting one in that there were two sets of judges, those that are winemakers or truly professionals in the wine industry, and there was the people’s choice table made of a few wine enthusiasts. While the two judging groups were not in exact agreement with all the decision on which wines were to receive which rating or awards, it was amazing how many of the 70+ bottles of Cabernet Franc wines that were in the competition that we all agreed upon.

I was pleased that Larry agreed to meet with me during the week before all the harvesting work began so he could host California Corks for this interview on one of Livermore Wine Country winemakers. How this husband-and-wife team went from the love of visiting Napa and Sonoma wineries to home winemakers, from home winemakers to opening their own winery. 

Wine Tasting - Indian Peak Vineyards - Take 5 Red Blend

Thu, 09/23/2021 - 14:55 -- johnk

California Wine Tasting a mountain red blend from Indian Peak Vineyards. I have made several trips to Indian Peak. I had family that lived in the area just West of Lassen Park in Shingletown, CA. Shingletown is just a short windy drive to Maton, CA. This small mountain community is home to a few mountain wineries and Indian Peak is one of them. 

Indian Peak Vineyards 2014 Take Five is a blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 9% Malbec, and 4% Cabernet Franc. Fred and Donna Boots only produced 397 cases. At the time I am drafting this post I fear for the wineries in Maton. I have a freind that works at Lassen Volcanic Park and just recently I heard that the Dixie Fire was extremely close to the Park Headquarters that he works out of and the the Park is closed. It wasn't that long ago my wife and I went up Shingletown to stay at a BnB for our anniversary, only to pull out due to smoke and the red skies due to the fire. We gathered important documents and such at my mothers home with radio and TV on that night in the event the fire jumped the ridge and the highway. While we didn't have to evacuate, not that far as "the crow files" the wildfire burned. Fred was among the wine growers that were dealing with smoke taint. I hope that they and the other wineries fair better this time around. I think I will shoot an email, or a message off to Fred and Donna as I am thinking about them.

Well, on a happier note, let's get the Zip Sips wine review started. This 2014 has been laying down for some years and has survived a couple of moves with other wines that were laying down as well. This Tehama County Red Wine is a delightful Bourdaux style blend. 

California Wine Tasting - Rock Wall - Tannat 2015

Wed, 09/15/2021 - 10:00 -- johnk

Let's enjoy a little California Wine Tasting with a bottle of Rock Wall Wine Company's 2015 Tannat. First a little bit about the winemaker Shauna Rosenblum who for Rock Wall Wine Company. She learned to make wine from her epic father Kent Rosenblum. Shauna literally grew up in the cellar and spent her childhood in wineries and vineyards where she worked and learned all the facets of the winemaking business. Shauna has a Master’s degree in Sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute. As an undergraduate, at California College of Arts and Crafts she became very interested in chemistry through the ceramics glaze making process.  She realized there were similarities in the ceramics and winemaking processes as far as chemistry and blending. This realization lead to an epiphany that winemaking was art! I have driven by Rock Wall a couple of times in the past while in the area, unfortunately, each time my timing was off so I still haven't met Shauna in person though  I have learned a little bit about her throuh one of her wines Rock Wall 2015 Tannatand afew exchanges on Social Media. I hope to meet Shauna in the months to come.


Vino Vargas Si! - Petite Sirah 2018 - Paso Robles

Sat, 09/11/2021 - 15:15 -- johnk

Vino Vargas “Si !” 2018 Petite Sirah

California wine tasting with Vino Vargas - Winemaker Pedro Vargas

I have known Pedro and Vicky Vargas for some years. I have tasted some of their wines at events and they supported a sort of a wine club project I did a few years ago. I wasn’t until the summer of 2021 that I finally drove up their long drive to their winery and tasting room. Long over-due I know but I did finally make my visit to this family winery located in San Miguel, just a few miles north of Paso Robles.

This 2018 Petite Sirah is one of a coupe of bottles I brought back home with me. I enjoyed a good number of Pedro’s wines, but the truth be told, I have been purchasing, and or receiving wines faster that I can drink or review them. So, I selected two that I knew I wanted to do wine reviews for. The two reds I selected were Pedro’s “Matador” a 2019 Malbec and this his 2018 Petite Sirah named "Si!" or yes! 

California Wine Tasting - Markus Wine Co - French Colombard

Thu, 08/05/2021 - 19:21 -- johnk

California wine tasting is so enjoyable and getting to know the people behind the wines can be a lot of fun. While talking with Jon Björk at Markus Wine Co I noticed that he had listed a French Colombard. Back while Jon and I were talking wines I had in mind the warm weather that would soon be on its way. Well, warm was a bit of a miscalculations as it has been a hot July 2021 all over California and the Western United States. Enough of that, back to the French Colombard that Jon sent my way. Jon marked on the unlabeled bottle that this wine is a 2020 French Colombard, and that Labeling was scheduled for some time in April. Well, I am glad I got this bottle because recently I learned that all the French Colombard produced had been purchased for another bottling. So, this makes this bottle just a little bit rare and I thought I would share it with you in this review.

This Colombard From Markus Wine Co has a nice acid balance along with sufficient residual sugar. Be sure to give it a good chill first on a day like today, forecast is for the triple-digits. Now that you wine has a good chill on it you can see how the aromas change as it warms in the glass.
A little bit on wines produced with Colombard grapes
Most information on Colombard tells us that the grape grows the best on sandy, dry soils and even clay loams.  Colombard is a high yielding variety. In the San Joaquin valley of California, Colombard is cultivated midseason with harvest beginning usually in mid to late August. Where does Colombard grow?

California Wine Tasting with Quady Wines – Starboard Batch 88

Wed, 07/21/2021 - 13:00 -- johnk

California Wine Tasting with Quady Wines – Starboard Batch 88 

Why does Quady Wines call their “port” Starboard? Port is a geographic term for fortified wines that come from the Douro River Valley in Portugal. Starboard, the nautical term for right, (as opposed to port – left) is a unique to the home of Quady Wines, the San Joaquin Valley, California, on the other side of the world from Portugal. 

Quady Wines Starboard Batch 88 is a blended easy drinking port-style wine with ripe fruit and nutty elements that place it somewhere between a ruby and a tawny. Quady Wines has produced a warm, smooth and rich port-style wine with a chocolate raisin and dried fig personality. Delightfully warming by itself, Batch 88 also pairs well with cheeses or nuts, or do both. Try Blue Cheese, Stilton, Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Sharp Cheddars, & Parmesan for additional for addition cheese pairing. Do you like figs? Think Figs, Walnuts and Almonds. 

Quady Wines uses the same grape varieties and similar methods that you would find in Douro Portugal, but the climate in the San Joaquin Valley is warmer and the soils are different. Instead of 140 proof fortifying brandy, Quady uses a neutral grape spirit of 190 proof. Also, Quady uses 60-gallon barrels instead of the 140-gallon pipes used in Portugal. As a result, Starboard matures earlier and has a riper more voluptuous flavor. - 20% Alcohol

Gifts for Women

California Wine Tasting - Engelmann Cellars, Fresno, CA

Wed, 07/14/2021 - 12:00 -- johnk

California Wine Tasting at Engelmann Cellars, June 2021. 

The Experience -

While I had the opportunity to taste couple more that listed here during my last visit here are some quick notes on 3 of the wines. Kylie the wine club manager was pouring on this hot Saturday afternoon. While I tend to lean a lot towards the red wines, a couple of white blends were very welcome in the heat of the afternoon.  The first was Summer Quartet, a dry white blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, White Cab and Dry Muscat. Next was RS, another white blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, White Cabernet, and Sweet Muscat. Both wines were enjoyable and welcome considering how warm it was that day and the fact that tastings were all taking place outside. Summer Quartet, a dry white-blend that would pair well with fish and summer salads. RS being a sweet white would be great for a glass before or after a meal.


California Wine Tasting - Markus Wine Co – 2018 domo, Carignane Blend

Wed, 07/07/2021 - 12:00 -- johnk

California Wine Tasting - Markus Wine Co – 2018 domo, Carignane Blend

This wine has some fruit from vines that were planted in 1900 and the Carignane makes up 67% of the blend. That being said, the focus of this wine is the Spenker Ranch Carignane along with Borra Vineyards Gill Creek Ranch Merlot at 17% and 16 % Zinfandel grapes from the River Song Vineyard. 

As you look at this wine in the glass you will see your fingers through a delightful ruby red hue. This Markus Wine Co blend provides lots of sour cherry and red plum in and does so in a very pleasing dry style. Despite this wine’s light color in the glass is a surprisingly full-bodied experience with just enough tannins to support the combination of cedar and cigar box with a lengthy finish on the palate. 

It is said by some wine makers that Carignane is the wine that winemakers reach for when they want to have a glass of wine that presents pure enjoyment, because of the grape naturally retains good balance of acidity even with the fruit is fully ripe. This acidity of the Carignane along with the Merlot and Zinfandel make for a very food friendly wine that provides a wide range of uncomplicated food pairing. The winemaker makes a couple of suggestions of pairing with any roasted bird, such as duck in plum sauce. What else might I suggest helping you appreciate this wine? If you enjoy a Pinot Noir that is fully structured with a lot of character, this wine will grow on you. Try it and you will see. Markus and the winery team consider Lodi, CA home.

Tasting California Wines - Old 44 Cellars, 2018 Aglianico

Fri, 07/02/2021 - 18:32 -- johnk

Old 44 Cellars 2018 Aglianico Estate Grown – Estate Grown – 80% Aglianico – 20% Grenache

Don’t you just love it when you find a delightful gem of a wine that is kind of hidden away? I visited with the Nick winemaker at Old 44 Cellars at a wine event that took place in Redding, CA just before the Pandemic broke out. I enjoyed the visit and his invite to come visit him. Well, we did an outdoor private tasting together not that long ago, about a year and a half from our first meeting. One of the wines, actually several bottles, that I brought home with me was Nick’s estate Aglianico blend. This is a wine is a blend of Estate Aglianico and Grenache that provides a delightful glass of wine to those that have obtained it.

Grenache in this blend provides some white pepper aroma followed with red fruit flavors. Grenache is known for its flavors of strawberry and raspberry with spicy notes. Some Grenache wines can develop complex flavors of blackcurrants, black olives, coffee, leather and tar. The grape produces wines that are medium to full-bodied. Tannin and acidity are low and makes it a great fit as a blend. Although Grenache is a high-quality grape, often you will find it blended with other varieties, such as Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault. This is because it is very complimentary within a blend, as it adds body and fruitiness without adding tannin or acidity, which are both naturally low in Grenache.


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