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Aerate on the Go

There’s nothing like sipping your favorite glass of vino, tasting its natural bouquets and releasing the flavors of the grape after aerating. But who has time to aerate when you’re on the go? The Pocket Wine Aerator by eparé creates tiny air bubbles, oxidizing the wine and freeing its tertiary aroma—all in 15 seconds and for $19.95. It also fits in your purse and pocket. Visit for your aerator.

Butter in a Can

Looking for that perfect buttery Chardonnay to share with friends, but don’t want to risk breaking the bottle? Or, the bank? JaM Cellars, makers of Butter Chardonnay, took their fastest-growing domestic Chardonnay and released it—in a can. According to a 2017 Nielson report, it’s also one of the top 30 Chardonnays in the country. For $19.99, the canned 2016 release offers an affordable, quality wine. “ButterCans are a natural extension of the brand that’s designed to be easy to enjoy, fun and has a flavor profile that hits the mark every time,” says Michele Truchard, co-founder of JaM Cellars. Check your local grocery store for your 4-pack today.

Perfect Pairings vs. Terrible Pairings

In a perfect pairing, two ingredients combined create a better tasting and more balanced flavor than they would on their own. In a terrible pairing, a combination of ingredients results in a flavor imbalance that either hangs on your palate, or in extreme examples, makes you sick. There are logical reasons why certain foods make wine taste bad. Once you know why that is, it’s easy to think differently about pairing wine with food. Here’s how to pair wine with six unmatchable foods.

Blue Cheese: What?! Really! Yes, it’s true. Most cheeses pair easily with most wines, but blue cheeses and other blue-veined cheeses are difficult. This is most likely because blue cheese has a high presence of a particularly odiferous aroma compound known as alkan-2-ones, which is also found in sphagnum swamp moss. Nummy. Ultimately, the stinky perfume of blue cheese overpowers most dry wines. You need an equally powerful sweet wine to counter balance blue cheese. One of the best pairings with blue cheese is Port wine. In this pairing, the earthy flavor of the cheese is cancelled out by the acidity of the wine and the creaminess of the cheese locks together with the sweetness of the wine creating a perfect pairing. Another great choice is a bold, high-alcohol Zinfandel or Shiraz.

Sushi: Okay, you love sushi Tuesdays, but the combination of raw fish, seaweed and sesame, make for difficult pairings. In the case of fish, a study in Japan was conducted to determine why fish and red wine don’t match. The results of the test indicated that the tiny amounts of iron in red wine would latch on to the fish oils and stick to the taster’s palate, causing a fishy metallic aftertaste. Best wines for sushi? Try a bone-dry white wine such as Muscadet or Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley in France, or an Extra Brut or Brut Nature Champagne.

Soy Sauce:
The flavor of soy sauce comes from fermented soybeans, wheat and salt. The aromatics of soy are reminiscent of wheat berries and the flavor has a bold, salty-sour umami flavor. The challenge with this pairing is the fermented sour taste of soy with a not-so-sour wine. It makes the wine taste flabby. Fortunately, there are some unique benefits to the saltiness of soy sauce that can reduce the bitter taste of tannin in some wine. There are two ways you can go when pairing wine with soy sauce—complementary or congruent. A complementary way is to create a salty-sweet pairing by matching a sparkling Moscato or Brachetto d’Acqui. These wines act like a plum sauce or mirin would and create a teriyaki-like flavor. A congruent method for pairing is to add more umami. Umami wines include Carignan-based wines from Languedoc-Roussillon such as Faugères; Southern Rhône red blends made with Grenache and Carignan or Grenache from Sardegna. A congruent pairing makes the wine taste more fruit forward.

Brussels Sprouts:
Love those crunchy, lightly-fried Brussels sprouts? Well, they’re hard to pair with wine because the vegetable’s organosulfur compounds mimic the taste of a wine fault. There are a few wines that transcend this problem: a dry Madeira such as Sercial Madeira; biodynamic white and “orange” wines such as Savenneires; or a French Muscadet because of its lager-like taste transcends the typical white wine flavors.

Asparagus: The same problem with sulfur compounds happens with Brussels sprouts as well. However, asparagus has an additional green herbaceous quality. Usually with green vegetables you can pair them with a zesty white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc, but this time it won’t work. A surprising pairing that does work is a slightly chilled dry Sherry such as Fino, Oloroso or Manzanilla Sherry, which adds a subtle nutty flavor. Try this with a cream of asparagus soup.

Chocolate: Tasting chocolate adds a few sensations to your palate such as textured chocolate tannin, fattiness and sweetness. But when you finish this taste with a dry red wine, it scrapes the fattiness and sweetness from your palate leaving harsh tannins and a sour note of wine. Wines that pair best with chocolate: a late bottled vintage port; Brachetto d’Acqui, a low alcohol sparkling red from Italy; and Bual Maderia

Wine Scents

Notes of floral bouquets, stone fruits and French oak are usually expected in a glass of California wine. But how about wearing it as a fragrance? Notes of Wine Collection by Kelly & Jones introduces their new concept in fragrance. With scents like Notes of Riesling, Notes of Chardonnay, and Notes of Cabernet, you can wear your favorite wine aromas outside the tasting room. Visit for more information.



In this Issue

New Adventures in Wine Country

As each new generation of tourists arrived, they sought out wineries that offered something different from a standard tasting at the bar. Along the way, cave tours and blending seminars were offered...

Beyond The Bottle

Fine wine comes with certain expectations, and finding it in a bottle with a natural cork and an attractive label is likely to be close to the top of the list. Bottled wine undoubtedly has a certain...

Small Wonders

The modest entrance of Passalacqua winery in the heart of Dry Creek Valley offers sweeping vineyard views and an inviting patio lounge seating area underneath the shade of coastal redwood trees, sur...

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