Tag Archives: wine

Parker Out: Top Bordeaux Wine Nose Retires

Renowned American wine guru Robert Parker (yes the Parker so many of us rely on when picking vintages – Ed), whose ratings could make or break Bordeaux vintages for the past 38 years, turned his power over to a successor over the weekend, his magazine told AFP.

While it is the end of an era, especially for those who grew up with his 100-point rating scale, the news is not a surprise. The 68-year-old oenologist has been retiring in stages, in 2014 leaving his British successor Neal Martin to rate “en primeurs” (futures) while continuing to evaluate top Bordeaux vintages.

It is this prestigious baton that passed to Martin May 1, while Parker holds on to his role scoring northern California wines, such as those of the Napa and Sonoma valleys.

Parker’s extraordinary nose has earned plaudits from the likes of former French president Jacques Chirac, who said he was “the most followed and influential critic for French wines in the entire world.”

Parker will also stay on as president of Wine Advocate, even though he sold the market-moving magazine to a Singapore consortium in 2012.

His parting Bordeaux evaluation will be the top score on his vaunted 100-point scale that he awarded recently to a Pape Clement 2009, a Graves “grand cru” created by the millionaire philanthropist Bernard Magrez.

He leaves the Bordeaux perch with a reputation for having unwittingly caused the region to standardize its wines to conform with his preference for predominantly wood flavors, strong tannins and high alcohol content.

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Italian Wines on the Rise

As he swirls a glass of yellowy green wine made from the trendy pecorino grape, Fabio Centini purrs with enthusiasm.

“I hadn’t even heard of this grape 15 years ago,” the Italian-born chef-restaurateur from Calgary, Canada tells AFP between slurps at a tasting of top pecorinos from the Offida area of the Marche region.

“But it is exactly what my customers want. People are looking for new varietals, new experiences.”

Centini is one of 55,000 industry professionals from 141 countries gathered in Verona this week for VinItaly, a giant showcase for the best the country has to offer the world’s wine lovers.

The 50th edition is the biggest yet and crammed aisles speak volumes about the buoyant state of a sector that employs 1.25 million people and produces more wine than any other country.

Led by a boom in sales of prosecco, which has surpassed champagne to become the world’s favorite bubbly, exports of all forms of Italian wine hit a record 5.4 billion euros ($6.2 billion) last year, up more than five percent on 2014.

The trend looks like continuing. A Mediobanca survey found 92 percent of producers anticipating higher sales in 2016, underpinned by investment which grew 18 percent overall last year and by 37 percent in the surging sparkling sector.

Strength in Diversity

It is all a far cry from the days when Italian wine was synonymous internationally with straw-wrapped bottles of chianti of variable quality and sometimes questionable provenance.

“They have taken out a bit of the monkey business,” says Centini, a VinItaly regular since 1990. “There was a time when you didn’t always know what was in the bottle.”

Although recent growth has been led by sparkling wine and strong sales of easy-drinking pinot grigio and other competitively priced varietals, there has also been an awakening of interest in Italy’s indigenous red grapes.

These include aglianico, negroamaro, nero d’avola and primitivo (which shares its DNA with zinfandel) from the south and Sicily, and montepulciano from the central region of Abruzzo, where producers have been quietly picking up international awards in recent years.

The sheer variety can be baffling for consumers and a shortage of strong producer brands is seen as a weakness on global markets.

But Italian wine expert Andrea Grignaffini says diversity is becoming a strength.

“Often the same grape gets made in a different style in different parts of the country, even in the same zone. It is complicated even for us Italians to understand.

“But that’s Italy. And the industry is moving so fast now, fashions change. When the moment of one wine passes, it is good to have others to take their place.”

Change is also afoot at the top end of Italian wines with producers in Tuscany and Piedmont battling to catch up with the Asia-driven gains of France’s Bordeaux and Burgundy.

International critics have recognised a major leap forward in terms of the quality and consistency of the best brunellos, chianti classicos, barolos and barbarescos since the 1980s.

“Better than France”

But Stephanie Cuadra, of leading Tuscan estate Querciabella, said Italy’s fine wine champions also had to be able to transmit “a sense of origin, a sense of place,” in the way that Burgundy, where tiny parcels of land are classified on the basis of minute variations of soil and micro-climates, has done very successfully.

“In terms of fine wine, we are an obvious alternative to France and as palates mature in emerging markets they become more curious, it is a natural evolution,” Cuadra said.

Moves towards officially recognising sub-zones in Italy’s leading wine areas have got bogged down by local battles over re-classifying areas in a way that will inevitably produce winners and losers.

While insisting that Italy’s wines are better than their French rivals, even Prime Minister Matteo Renzi acknowledges that the French have done a better job of selling their wines on global markets.

French wine retails at prices that are 120 percent higher on average than Italy’s output and total Gallic export earnings are some 60 percent higher.

“In the last 20 years, Italy has let too many opportunities slip by in this sector,” Renzi said during a visit to VinItaly on Monday.

The flipside is that there is still plenty of room for growth, particularly in Asia, which accounted for only 3.4 percent of Italian exports last year. Italian producers are noticeably underperforming in China, which increased imports by 60 percent overall in 2015 but by only 15 percent from Italy.

That was one reason why Renzi’s guest at VinItaly was Jack Ma. The Alibaba boss told his audience that the Internet could provide a digital bridge linking Italy’s 300,000 producers with what is potentially the biggest wine market in the world.

“China will be home to half a billion upper-to-middle-class consumers in the next 10 years,” Ma said. “You must reach out to them where they are.”

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French Wines Find Favor in China Again

For a wine-grower, precision and luck are elements of the utmost importance to ensure that the best harvest is reaped for a full-bodied and hearty glass of wine. Right now, French wines face the twin perils and opportunities of climate change and China, both of which offer strong challenges. Bordeaux was one such region flanked on both sides by various new developments, both good and bad, from both science and the marketplace.

China Profits

After reaping a meagre harvest in 2013, Bordeaux wines faced depressed sales in 2013 and 2014 to China because of a frugality drive that made officials wary of opening high-end bottles of wine.

But Saint-Emilion wine merchant Philippe Casteja said last month that the Chinese market was stabilizing. Exports were up 3.0 percent to 1.83 billion euros ($2.05 billion), according to the Comite Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB). After two years of dropping, sales jumped 37%.

Overall turnover was 3.8 billion euros last year, up 1.0% over 2014 with 640 million bottles sold.

“The Chinese speak of a ‘new normal’ – and now instead of proposing exceptional wines we are targeting a consumer market.” Casteja noted, speaking of the Bordeaux region in general.

Climate Pressures

Yet, with the release of a new and somewhat alarming study by Nature Climate Change, Bordeaux’s current short-term sales may be the least of their worries.

Grapes are extremely temperature sensitive fruits. Exceptional vintages are generally produced when an early harvest develops from a rise in heat due to things like hot summers or a late-season drought. “For much of France, local climates have been relatively stable for hundreds or thousands of years,” said Elizabeth Wolkovich, an assistant professor of evolutionary biology at Harvard University and co-author of the study. Looking back through records dating all the way to 1600, it was found that harvest dates have moved up by two full weeks since 1980 compared with the average for the preceding 400 years.

Droughts helped heighten temperatures just enough to bring in the harvest a few weeks early, said lead author Benjamin Cook, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York City and lead author of the study. These were uncommon circumstances in the past. “Now, it’s become so warm thanks to climate change, grape growers don’t need drought to get these very warm temperatures,” Cook added.

In the short term, the resulting growth in temperature has caused some beneficial effects through certain stand-out years. For Bordeaux, 1990, 2005 and 2010 have all been described as once-a-century vintages, while in Burgundy 2005 and 2009 are said to hold exceptional promise.

Yet, in the long term, the result may be unsustainable. In 2003, the same year where a deadly heat wave hit Europe leading to thousands of deaths, grapes were picked a full month ahead of their time but did not produce particularly exceptional wines. “If we keep warming, the globe will reach a tipping point,” said Wolkovich, pointing to what happened in 2003.

“That may be a good indicator of where we are headed,” she added. “If we keep pushing the heat up, vineyards can’t maintain that forever.”

The result could be an identity crisis for French wines. While other wine producing regions like California and Australia can head for a new ‘terroir’ better suited to these grapes, France has an elaborate structure of rules and special areas dictating which grape varieties are to be grown in what proportion. French wines such as Champagne, Sauternes, Margaux or Saint-Emilion are grown only in such authorised areas. For many wine-makers, changing these rules is tantamount to changing the core aspects of the wine. Among the grapes that may no longer be well-adapted in the future includes signature grape varietals — Pinot Noir in Burgundy, and Merlot in Bordeaux.

The ability to adapt to such revelations gained from information sources, whether about the market or the climate, will be the key decider in which wine producers can ride the market with the best possible produce and the best possible profits.

This report was compiled by in-house writers, in combination with a wire report and image from the AFP. Find out if any of these winning wines are on Epicurio now. Download the app on iTunes or Google Play now.


Napa Valley Legend Peter Mondavi Mourned

Any Windows user knows the green of California, though they may not be aware of it. The famous background picture ‘Bliss’ depicts those regions from 1996. Go to the same location now and you’ll see rows of grapevines jutting out on wooden sticks bearing the precious purple crop. The death of Peter Mondavi on Saturday at age 101, can mark an end to one generation of winegrowers and the birth of another, as his children take over the family business – the more than a century old Charles Krug Winery. We pay our respects to the Mondavi Brothers, Peter and Robert (who died back in 2008), and their contributions to the wine industry in Napa Valley.

Taking a trip into the valley, you’ll come across the sign reading “Welcome to this world famous wine growing region” with the little addition at the side “…and the wine is bottled poetry”. Charles Krug, an immigrant from Prussia, established his winery way back in 1861 where it became a cornerstone in the Napa wine industry. Further on, Cesare Mondavi, the father of the Mondavi Brothers, bought over the winery in 1943 for $75,000 and the industry was pushed further with the pioneering spirit of his two sons. The family had been a fruit packing business before, and as boys, both had jobs nailing grape crates shut.

In 1965, the two brothers feuded over the direction of the Krug Winery. Robert Mondavi had larger and more ambitious designs. He went on to create his own winery and spearheaded the industry’s further growth as an innovator. Peter was more conservative and stuck with taking care of the family business, especially after his mother died in 1976. This feud ended in 2005 when the brothers got together to make a barrel of wine for the annual Auction Napa Valley.

More interested in the technical side of things, though never buying into the revolutionary vision of his famous brother, Peter developed a technique of cold-fermentation that was helpful in the production of crisp, fruity wines. He also began importing French oak barrels for aging wines.

Peter Mondavi admitted that he thought his chief accomplishment was keeping the Charles Krug Winery in the family. Today the business is run by his sons – Marc and Peter Jr.

This story was written in-house, with background and an image supplied by the AFP.

New from CES: Single Serving Wine Machine

Wine is typically consumed by the bottle because it is meant to be shared. A tech startup at Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year has other ideas about this. The French firm is looking to change the way people drink wine, one glass at a time. The device being shown by 10-Vins at the CES borrows the idea from the fast-growing single-dose coffee machines such as Nestle’s Nespresso and US-based Keurig.

The D-Vine machine delivers a single glass of wine with the correct aeration and temperature using capsules compatible with the device. This reminds us of the champagne vending machine we covered some time back.

“In just one minute, the wine is delivered in the glass at the right temperature,” said co-founder Thibaut Jarrousse, who designed the device along with two fellow engineers.

“If you are going to drink wine, you should drink it well.”

Each 10-centiliter (3.5-ounce) capsule is aerated to give it the same properties as if it had spent three hours in a carafe, Jarrousse noted. The machine can gently cool or warm the wine as needed. The company based in the city of Nantes, has been selling several varieties of Burgundy and Bordeaux wines in France. For its US launch, it will offer American vintages.

Technology like this always turns our heads, for sheer audacity if nothing else. Of course, it does offer some functional benefits, aside from the aeration and temperature control.

The single-dose wine enables a host to serve several different varieties to different guests without opening multiple bottles. Each capsule retails for between two and 16 euros ($2.20 to $17.60) and the machine itself costs 499 euros ($550).

“The wine world is in a rut,” said oenologist Beatrice Domine, who is collaborating with the group. “The idea here is to bring people to quality wine in a fun way.”

Smart wine carafe reduces decanting time

Technology is applying it disruptive powers to decanting wine. Meet the iSommelier (no relation to Apple), possibly the new must-have piece of kit for wine lovers. Of course, the new generation carafe operates with a smartphone app. Its decantation process, which only takes a few minutes, will aerate your wine, soften its tannins and enhance its aromas.

Over the past two years, the world of wine has fully entered the 21st century by coming up with well-designed technological devices for amateurs and professionals alike. In France, wine fans invented what quickly became known as the “Nespresso for Wine”, the “D-Vine,” a machine which serves your favorite tipple by the glass. And Coravin, an American invention, has been talked about around the world because of its system of serving wine without pulling the cork (using a surgical needle).

In mid-November, producers and traders made their way to the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair. This is where iFavine, a French-based company which specializes in innovative wine equipment, chose to launch its latest invention: a smart decanter.

What is iSommelier?

Some wines can require several hours to soften their tannins and bring out their aromas. This can be a problem for both amateurs and professionals. The new technology incorporated into the iSommelier reinvents the aeration process, making it much shorter. The carafe has a tube in the middle through which concentrated and purified oxygen flows. The device’s extraction system removes all the impurities that come from the air (moisture, dust and odors).

In this way, the iSommelier takes just a few minutes to oxygenate the wine, bringing it to “a stage of maturity that would otherwise require years of cellaring”, iFavine says.

The carafe connects to your phone via the iFavine app which can be downloaded from Google Play or the AppStore.

The iSommelier is available in France, China, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and the US at a cost of 1,499 euros. It will soon be sold online in a range of colors at the brand’s online store (www.ifavine.com).

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lonely planet Wine trails

Plan 52 Perfect Weekends in Wine Country

lonely planet Wine trails

Travel guide Lonely Planet has released a new guidebook for wine lovers that curates the best wineries and gastronomic experiences in established regions like Napa and Tuscany, as well as lesser-known areas like Georgia, Lebanon, Morocco and Slovenia.

“Lonely Planet’s Wine Trails” is aimed at travelers interested in a quick wine-soaked getaway, with weekend-long itineraries curated for 52 winegrowing regions around the world.

The guide is the first launch in the brand’s Perfect Weekends series.

Itineraries may include a Prosecco sunset toast in Italy or a heady Shiraz at a barbecue in Australia. Countries featured include the usual wine-rich regions including the US, Canada, France and Italy, as well as countries such as Morocco, Slovenia, Slovakia and Lebanon.

Lonely Planet’s “Wine Trails: 52 Perfect Weekends in Wine” retails for $24.99 and will be released October 20.

Download the Epicurio app on iTunes or Google Play now, to learn more about wines and purchase your very own bottle, today.

Richebourg Grand Cru

World’s priciest wine is rare Burgundy at $15,195 a bottle

Richebourg Grand Cru

France’s famous Burgundy region has a double reason to celebrate, with a rare vintage from the area emerging as the world’s most expensive wine just after the region was named a UN world heritage site.

Richebourg Grand Cru sells at a whopping $15,195 (14,254 euro) a bottle, according to the Wine-Searcher website list of the 50 dearest vintages.

The website’s table of the priciest wines includes 40 Burgundies, with just five non-French wines making the cut: one Californian and four from Germany.

The news comes just after Burgundy’s vineyards were crowned in July with the world heritage distinction by the United Nation’s cultural body.

UNESCO recognized the uniqueness of the vineyards of the Cote de Nuits and the Cote de Beaune which produce some of the finest red wines in the world made from pinot noir and chardonnay grapes.

The Richebourg Grand Cru was a Cote de Nuits created by Henri Jayer, a winemaker widely considered a visionary in the business, who died in 2006 aged 84.

Jayer was opposed to using chemicals in the winemaking process and believed in small-scale production, turning out only about 3,500 bottles per year.

In fact it is another Henri Jayer wine, his Cros-Parantoux Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru, which comes from a tiny 1.01 hectare (2.5 acre) parcel, that grabs third place on the list at $8,832 a bottle, according to Wine-Searcher, which updated its table earlier this month.

The website, founded in London in 1999, releases periodic updates to its 50 most expensive wines list, which is based on prices from nearly 55,000 wine merchants and producers around the world.

The analysis that produced the most recent update concerned more than seven million wines of all vintages, taking an average price per bottle.

Romanee-Conti, Burgundy’s most famous fine wine, came in second on the list at $13,314 and the vineyard has a total of six bottles on the table.

Other “grand crus” from Burgundy, such as Vosne-Romanee and Montrachet are also among the most expensive.

France’s Bordeaux wine region, for all its prestige, has only two wines on the list, both Pomerols: the Petrus and a Le Pin.

Two German winemakers, Egon Mueller and Joh. Jos. Pruem, each have two wines on the list, including Mueller’s Scharzhofberger Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese demi-sec selling for $6,630 a bottle in fourth place.

The only other non-French wine is Californian Stanley Kroenke’s Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon coming in at 14th place with a $2,884 price tag.

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Dwyane Wade

Basketball star Dwyane Wade launches wine label

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade has become the latest basketball star to parlay his fame into the wine business with his own label, aptly called Wade.

During a fan tour across China, the Miami Heat star made the announcement by posting photos of his new wine label on Instagram.

Dwyane Wade wine label

Though details are scarce, an early Instagram preview reveals bottles of red wine — appropriate considering the fact that China is the world’s largest consumer of red wine.

Chinese consumers tipped back 155 million nine-liter cases in 2013, equal to 1.87 billion bottles, of red wine in 2013, surpassing France and Italy.

Gik Blue Wine

Spain’s first BLUE wine goes on sale

Gik Blue Wine

A group of young, 20-something Spaniards have created blue wine. Just because they can.

The producers of Gik openly admit they have no background in wine. They don’t grandstand about their centuries-old family history of winemaking on their website in soaring prose.

No, these guys are just a bunch of dudes (and one ‘dudine’) who created blue wine “for fun.”

Meet Gik, an absurdly, cobalt-blue wine made from a blend of red and white grapes, then dyed blue with the addition of anthocyanin — a natural compound found in the skin of grapes — and indigo pigments.

And while they suggest that they chose the color blue purely for shock value, the young entrepreneurs also put some thought into the strategy, pointing out that in psychology, the color blue represents innovation, movement, fluidity and change.

Clearly, the wine is targeted towards younger, adventurous Millennial drinkers who are more open to embracing new ideas; drinkers who carry no wine baggage and preconceptions.

For example, in their tasting notes — which take consumers through the various phases of the drinking experience, starting with color — the first phase is noted simply as “Indigo blue. WTF.”

Other terms and adjectives used to describe the wine include ripe fruit, sweet attack, marked and soft acidity.

Likewise, the producers have created playlists on SoundCloud which they say pair well with a night of sipping blue wine.

For avid oenophiles, the creators challenge drinkers “to forget everything you know about wine” and unlearn years of wine training.

The wine contains 11.5 percent alcohol and is meant to be served chilled. Food pairing suggestions include sushi, nachos with guacamole, Tzatziki sauce, pasta carbonara and smoked salmon.

Bottles retail for €10 ($11 USD).

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Carina Lau

Carina Lau launches online wine, champagne brand

Carina Lau

Hong Kong movie star Carina Lau (刘嘉玲) on Wednesday launched her own online wine and champagne brand at the world’s biggest wine and spirits fair Vinexpo in southern France.

Going on sale in China on the Alibaba website under the name of the Chinese-born actress are six top-end Bordeaux and four other wines from the region as well as two Moutard champagnes and a sparkling wine.

“It’s an important day for me and my company Carina international e-commerce limited,” said the actress who married movie star Tony Leung in 2008. “My first products are red wine and champagne but it will be introducing many more other products under my brand.”

280,000 bottles of the top-end Bordeaux wines will be offered in a pre-sale launch with the four vintages from the Haut-Medoc, Margaux and Saint Emilion available later following the official launch of sales in Shanghai.

Carina Lau, 49, already has cosmetics, fashion and jewellery brands and owns 17 nightclubs.

Since about 2008, wealthy Chinese investors have snapped up more than 20 chateaux in the Bordeaux region.

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Macon Villages 2014

Marks & Spencer Chardonnay named best in the world

Macon Villages 2014

On Sunday, winners of the Decanter World Wine Awards were announced at Vinexpo in Bordeaux, the world’s biggest wine trade fair.

And one of the biggest winners from the prestigious wine competition, was a bottle of 2014 Marks & Spencer Macon-Villages white, that took the award for best chardonnay in the world under £15 ($23 USD) in a blind tasting carried out by a panel of 240 international wine experts.

“A really lively wine with an expressive, pure, mineral nose which also exhibits a saline slant beside the white fruits,” reads the Decanter wine description.

“To taste it’s zesty, youthful, floral and upfront, with fleshy, persistent fruit on a finely balanced, distinguished palate where those crunchy flavours linger impressively.”

Wine experts tasted, sampled and spit 15,929 wines from 48 countries before whittling down the pool of entries to 35 international winners.

Overall, France led the leaderboard winning eight International Trophies.

In the wine equivalent of the best actor award — best Red Bordeaux varietal over £15 ($23 USD) — Spain’s Miguel Torres took the International Trophy for its Reserva Real 2010, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

Decanter World Wine Awards

The wine cements Spain’s growing reputation as a premiere wine growing country and “the most exciting thing happening in European wine right now,” said Sarah Jane Evans, a Master of Wine and regional chair for Spain and sherry at the Decanter World Wine Awards.

International trophies are the highest awards at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Already gold medal winners, the wines are then pooled against each other in blind tasting sessions that were conducted by a select team of experts in London.

Other surprising wins at this year’s edition shone a spotlight on unexpected wine-producing nations including Slovenia, Japan and Thailand.

The awards recognized Japanese Koshu wine, white wine grape variety grown primarily in Yamanashi Prefecture, as a wine to contend with: the Grace, Koshu Private Reserve was awarded the regional trophy for Best White for the Middle East, Far East and Asia over £15.

Thailand’s Monsoon Valley, Colombard 2014 took the award in the same category, for white wine under £15.

Another big story out of this year’s Decanter awards is the rise of sherry, which boasts the biggest medal haul: 94 percent of wines entered were awarded a medal.

Vinexpo runs June 14 to 18 in Bordeaux. For the full results visit decanter.com.

Entre Cielos Wine Hotel

Argentina’s wineries turn to high-end wines to survive

Entre Cielos Wine Hotel

World number five wine producer Argentina is turning to high-end products to save plummeting exports of its cheaper brands.

Boutique winery Huarpe, in Argentina’s famous Mendoza wine region, started in 2003, right after the country’s last economic crisis.

For a decade, the bodega grew rapidly along with the rest of the industry, due to high demand abroad for its quality and low-priced bottles.

But drastic changes in the past three years – like rising costs — have forced wine producers to focus their marketing strategy on high-end wines.

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glass of wine

Hangover-free wine getting a lot of buzz

glass of wine

All the wine, none of the hangover. That’s the promise coming out of the US, after scientists developed a new form of yeast that could be used to boost the health benefits of wine and reduce the toxic byproducts that can cause morning-after malaise.


Using a “genome knife,” a method that allows for extremely precise genetic mutations, scientists modified a species of yeast — Saccharomyces cerevisiae — commonly used in the wine and beer industries.

The modified yeast, scientists say, could be used to increase the amount of resveratrol found in wine — a powerful antioxidant.

Likewise, the new yeast could be used to enhance the secondary fermentation process, known as malolactic fermentation which converts tart, malic acid found in grape must, into a softer-tasting lactic acid.

Improper malolactic fermentation generates the toxic byproducts that cause hangovers.

In fact, according to University of Illinois scientist Yong-Su Jin, engineered yeast could boost the amount of resveratrol in wine by 10 times.

Resveratrol-producing pathways could also be introduced to other fermented foods such as beer, kefir, cheese, kimchi and pickles so that they too, boast the health properties of the antioxidant.

And the science works both ways, as wine could also be fortified with bioactive compounds from other foods like ginseng.

The findings appear in a recent issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Find out if any of these winning wines are on Epicurio now. Download the app on iTunes or Google Play now.

glass of wine

One glass of wine makes you sexier

glass of wine

Drinking just one glass of wine makes you appear more attractive than when you’re sober, according to British researchers who caution that drinking more makes the effect go away.

In the study, a group made up of 20 men and 20 women were asked to rate the attractiveness of people in a series of photos.


The models in the photos were depicted after drinking either 250 ml of wine or 500 ml of wine.

Regardless of the case, all models had also been photographed sober.

Study participants rated the models as being more attractive after drinking one glass of wine — 250 ml — than they were in their sober photos.

Yet the models who had drank more than one glass didn’t bring in the same high rankings, at least not when compared to their sober photos.

To explain their results, the research team presumes the increased allure comes from increased blood flow that brings on facial flushing.

Light drinking could also boost the spirits in a manner that becomes visible in subtle smiles and increased relaxation.

The study was published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism.

Find out if any of these winning wines are on Epicurio now. Download the app on iTunes or Google Play now.

Chinese drinking wine

What wine goes best with Chinese food?

Chinese drinking wine

In honor of the Chinese New Year this Thursday, foodies around the world are planning Asian-themed dinner party menus for the weekend.

But what is the best type of wine to serve with Peking duck, spring rolls or steamed dumplings?


Finding the perfect wines to serve with Asian cuisine is often a difficult task, especially in the case of spicy dishes, which have a tendency to overpower the delicate flavors of a fine vintage.

So if you plan to ring in the Year of the Goat with a handful of hot chilies, lager may be your best bet in the beverage department.

Luckily for wine lovers, not all dishes from the Far East are heavy on the capsicum. For these subtler recipes, rosé wines tend to provide a one-size-fits-all solution, but there are alternatives as well.

Caramel pork and other sweet and savory dishes

To complement the sweet and savory combinations often found in Asian cuisines, nothing beats a sweet or semi-sweet white wine.

That said, wines such as Sauternes with a particularly high sugar concentration are best avoided. Opt instead for a sweet white wine with a hint of acidity, such as those from the Jurançon region, the Coteaux du Layon or the late harvested wines of Alsace.

Spring rolls and other fried dishes

It’s hard to turn down these crispy treats, fattening though they may be. To cut through the grease, serve a red wine with fruity notes. Those from the Beaujolais or the Loire region fit the bill.

Steamed dumplings

Depending on the filling (chicken, vegetables, shrimp), dumplings may go down nicely with a variety of different wines.

At any rate, if you plan on dipping in hot sauce, avoid red wines that are high in tannins, which tend to accentuate spiciness. Here again, a lighter red wine such as a Beaujolais is an excellent choice.

Peking duck

It’s no surprise that this is one of the most popular Chinese dishes in France, since it pairs so nicely with the tannic red wines the French are so fond of. The delicate flavors of the duck meat and the crispy, fatty skin are best complemented by red wines with spiced notes, such as those from Provence or Le Corbières in the Languedoc-Roussillon region.

Find out if any of these winning wines are on Epicurio now. Download the app on iTunes or Google Play now.

Next Glass wine app

A Smart Wine Sommelier for Your iPhone

It’s the latest wine app to try and render the sommelier obsolete. After telling the app your wine and beer preferences, Next Glass claims to be able to deliver personalized recommendations based on your taste profile.

Here’s how it works: After rating wines and beers you’ve already tried, the app collates the data and comes up with your own personal taste profile.

At the liquor store, users scan the wine or beer label with their smartphone and receive a personalized score shown as a percentage meant to predict the likelihood that they’ll enjoy that particular brand.


In addition to the score, the app also delivers information like calorie and sugar content as well as alcohol level.

Users can also befriend spouses, relatives and friends on the app and see their personal preferences — a handy tool when shopping for gifts or a bottle of wine for dinner parties.

Currently, developers say the app has about 23,000 wines and beer brands in their inventory and a 96 percent accuracy rate.

Wine on a ship

Cruises explore Mediterranean wines

Wine on a ship

This fall,  will operate three new cruises spotlighting the wines of the Mediterranean.

While sailing around Southern Europe, passengers of the “On the Wine Routes” cruises will be invited to hone their palettes and expand their expertise when it comes to fine wine. Each cruise will include tasting sessions and seminars led by Masters of Wine, or “leading experts on the art, science and business of wine,” according to the cruise operator.

Held on the MSC Splendida, the eight-day and seven-night cruises will depart from Marseille, France (November 1, November 8) and from Genoa, Italy (November 2, November 9 and December 13).


MSC Splendida in Valletta

The November cruises will drop anchor in Naples and Messina, Italy; Tunis, Tunisia; Barcelona, Spain and Marseille. The Italian stops for the December cruise will be in Civitavecchia, near Rome, and Palermo, Sicily.

On each trip, travelers will have the opportunity to visit a winery or cellar in France, Spain or Italy depending on their cruise’s ports of call.

Reservations are now open, and cruise packages are available from €459 per passenger. The price includes room and board, an excursion to a winery or cellar and a beverage package with high-quality wines served with meals.


Crowdfunding comes to the wine industry


Through a new platform dubbed Fundovino, the crowdfunding principle has now made its way to the winemaking industry.

Just as foodies seek out CSA (community-supported agriculture) programs to support local farmers, many wine enthusiasts are on the lookout for ways to get involved with the producers of their favorite beverages.

But for those who aren’t crazy about the idea of “sponsoring a vine” (a recent trend) or driving out to a vineyard every weekend to lend a hand, the new crowdfunding website provides plenty of alternatives.

Fundovino invites oenophiles around the world to contribute to winemaking projects that interest them, usually in exchange for special rewards.


Among the handful of winemakers already seeking funding through the platform is a producer in the Rhône Valley’s Cornas region aiming to preserve and reintroduce the endangered Dureza grape variety.

In addition to such lofty and idealistic projects, there are also campaigns to fund essential purchases that will allow wineries to stay in business.

However, Fundovino.com does not allow supporters to acquire shares in the wineries seeking financial support. The contract between donors and winemakers is purely a moral one, and donors are rewarded “in kind,” usually through a few bottles of wine or an exclusive tasting session at the winery.


Download the Epicurio app on iTunes or Google Play now, to learn more about wines and purchase your very own bottle, today.

How to find the perfect rosé wines

, sometimes known as blush wines, are often the ideal accompaniment for a summer barbecue.

But between those produced in California, France, Australia and Corisca, there are countless rosés, and it can be difficult to make the right choice.

rosé wine

Here are six tips to keep in mind when browsing the rosé section at your local wine shop.

1) Observe the color

The ‘robe’ of a rosé can help you find the flavor you’re looking for. And unlike whites and reds, rosés almost always come in a clear bottle.

A lighter, almost clear color indicates citrus and exotic fruits notes, while a darker robe indicates notes of strawberry, blackcurrant and red fruits.

2) Identify the grape varieties

While not the most important factor when choosing a rosé, the types of grapes used can nonetheless provide some indication of tasting qualities.

While Merlot and Cabernet lend notes of red fruits, Grenache and Cinsault are characterized by more citrusy notes and tend to provide more full-bodied rosés. However, that these are generalizations and do not always hold true.

3) Remember that color is no indication of sugar content

A number of oenophiles have a penchant for either dryer or sweeter wines. And while intuition may suggest that a slightly darker wine would contain more sugar, this is a misconception. A clearer rosé is not necessarily dryer. In France, the designation of “sec” (dry) on the label may be used only on wines that contain less than 4 grams of sugar per liter.

And although labelling requirements are often different in other countries, some producers designate whether their rosés are dry or sweet.

vin rosé

4) For French wines look for “AOC” or “IGP” on the label

This tip applies only to French wines, where the notion of “terroir” or place is seen as perhaps the most important factor in determining a wine’s quality.

The terms “Appellation d’Origine Protégée” (AOP) or “Indication Géographique Protégée” (IGP) both prove that the wine was produced within a given territory.

In the hierarchy of wine label distinctions, AOP is the more prestigious, as it also certifies that the wine was produced according to a rigorous set of standards. Both of these distinctions may be taken as a guarantee of quality.

5) Keep certain years in mind

The year any wine was produced offers insight into its tasting qualities, and rosés are no exception. Wines from the previous year (2013, in this case) are likely to be described as fresh, lively and aromatic.

For a more full-bodied rosé, with notes of dried fruits and nuts, look to wines produced in 2012 and 2011. Finally, more mature rosés are aged between 5 and 8 years. Produced in barrels, these wines present a hint of vanilla.