Episode 8 – Getting To Know Gin
How Did Gin Become A Common Drink?
A lot of the initial spread of Gin was caused by soldiers in the 30 years war. Much of the 30 years war was fought in Holland. During that time, the british noticed the Dutch soldiers drinking a distilled spirit. This spirit had a calming effect on the Dutch soldiers, and was adopted by the British, they eventually referred to this spirit (Gin) as Dutch courage.
The British quickly adapted their own style of Gin following the 30 years war, creating the “London Dry Gin.” Soon after, england went through the “Gin Craze.” At one time in the early 18th century, there was over 7000 shops selling Gin in London alone.
Episode 7 – An Inside Look At Giribaldi Winery
About the Winery
Giribaldi Winery Started in the year 1920 as a small farm. The entire Garibaldi family is involved with the day to day operation of the winery. The Giribaldi family can trace their ancestry to Giuseppe Garibaldi, a very famous an influential Italian revolutionary in the 1800s. Garibaldi was a central figure in the Italian Unification, otherwise known as Risorgimento
About the Winemaker
Matteo Giribaldi is the 4th generation winemaker for the winery. The winery is located in Piedmont, prestigious wine country in northwestern Italy. Matteo explains that he is first and foremost a farmer. It is the grape that makes the wine, therefore wine is made in the vineyard. This is the same for wine grown anywhere in the world.
Barolo and Barbaresco
Both the Barolo and Barbaresco wines produced in Piedmont are made with the grape Nebbiolo. The real difference between the two is the soil in which the Nebbiolo grapes are grown. Irrigation is not allowed in Barolo country because the vines have very deep roots. One single vine of about 50 years old can have roots that go down up to 300 feet.
2010 and 2011 are considered excellent vintages for Barolo and Barbaresco. In terms of Climate, 2010 was an ideal year for growing the Nebbiolo grape. 2015 was also considered a great vintage, and is one to watch for in the next 4 years.
Episode 6 – A History of English and Irish Beer
Due to the danger of drinking water in the middle ages, beer was one of the most common drinks of the day, and it was enjoyed by all social classes. Beer was one of the best ways to stay hydrated without worrying about getting botulism.
Early Styles of UK Beers:
Before the use and understanding of hops, beers in the British Isles were more like herbal tea, with alcohol. The brewing process involved the use of botanicals as a way to bitter the beer, instead of the hops we use today. These beers did not last as long as those made with hops, and they also fairly low ABV.
The preservative nature of hops:
In the middle ages, it was very common for every village/town to have their own brewery, lessening the need for preservatives in the beer. This meant that the preservative nature of hops did not become important until great Britain started engaging in colonialism and spreading the British flag around the globe.
IPAs and Bitters
The most famous style of beer to come out of the UK is the IPA, it is the most commonly consumed craft beer category in the world. Chris notes that while it is an acquired taste, most people in the Glenwood Springs area have already acquired that taste.
Similar to IPA, these are very rich, hop-forward beers. You could consider bitters pre-cursors to some famous american beers, such as Amber Ales.
Ales v. Lagers
There are many styles of beer in existence, but when you bring them down to their most simple categorizations, they can be separated into Lagers and Ales. Lagers use a specific form of yeast that is bottom fermenting. Lagers ferment at much colder temperatures than ales, meaning they are more commonly brewed in colder climates, since they can be brewed all year round. Ales use top fermenting yeast, which you could say makes them less crisp, more rustic, with a fruity character. Ales ferment at warmer temperatures, close to room temperature.
Porters and Stouts
The classic London-style porter has its roots in the class system. Think of a hypothetical situation where a brewer burns the malt, and instead of throwing away the batch, packages it anyways and serves it to the “Porters” aka those working in steerage or on the docks. What was originally an insult to the lower classes turned out to be a much-loved style of beer.
When the Irish laborers who were working in England brought porters back to Ireland, they made the beer their own. The queen dictated that brewers must use malted barley to make their beers, as the process of malting required a tax from the British government. Arthur Guinness wanted to avoid paying these taxes, and so he started brewing with un-malted grains. Thus the rise of the Dry Irish Stout.
Episode 5 – A History of Irish Whiskey
4 Things That Caused the Decline of Irish Whiskey
1 – World War 1 disrupts shipping of Irish Whiskeys (1914-1918)
2 – The United States begin Prohibition (1920)
3 – Ireland gains independence from England, in turn, England no longer allows Irish Whiskey into the country (1921)
4 – The Great Depression sends shockwaves throughout the Industrialized World, forcing more distilleries to close (1929-1939)
DID YOU KNOW?
Irish Whiskey is the FASTEST growing spirit category in the world.
The word whiskey means “water of life.”
The first use of distillation was brought to Europe by Irish Monks.
Due to a higher sugar content, longer aging process, and lower alcohol by volume, Irish Whiskey is much easier to drink than Scotch, American, and Canadian whiskies.
Jameson makes over 70% of the Irish Whiskey consumed in the United States. This goes back to a marketing campaign where they started going into bars and telling bartenders “We don’t want this to be a mixology whiskey, we want this to be a shooting whiskey.”
Episode 4 – Food and Wine Pairings
Kevin Brady starts by referencing some advice he received from bestselling author and creator of Windows On The World Wine School, Kevin Zraly. Zraly says that you should try to pair the weight of the wine with the weight of the meal.
It is also recommended that you go for complimentary flavors with your food and wine. Foods that contain high levels of acidity go well with wines that contain high levels of acidity. The acid in both with neutralize one another or cancel each other out.
Complimenting dishes with certain wines can also be applied to dessert, where you want to have a wine that is sweeter than the dessert. For example, you could pair dark chocolate with a wine like Brachetto d’Acqui, a cheery Italian sparkling red wine. Saltier foods like cheese and nuts, or oysters go well with champagnes and sherries.
Delicate dishes should go with delicate wines. For whites wines you might consider Pinot Grigio or Arneis from Italy, Vino Verde form Portugal or Spain, or Riesling.
Very Spicy Dishes
When eating spicy foods, you want to go towards sweeter wines, as dry wines and wines with high alcohol content can actually raise the heat of the dish you are eating.
Dishes that are especially aromatic should go with aromatic wines. You don’t want to have a lightweight, non expressive wine with a very aromatic dish.
Geography is an easy way to determine what wines might go will with certain foods. Most wines made around the world were made based on the foods that those people were eating. the food came first, and then the wine. This simple concept can be a useful tool when pairing food and wine.
Episode 3 – Wine Labels and Grapes
This episode teaches how to read a wine label.
Every wine label must have a brand name or winery name on the label, this is mandatory. This is most commonly followed by the wine variety.
Chardonnay is a prolific grape variety that grows well in both cold and warm climates. It is the number one consumed variety of white wine in the United States, followed closely by Pinot Grigio.
Can different vintages have noticeably different tastes?
Wine grapes are very susceptible to temperature and climate. For example, rainfall at the wrong time can cause the vines to suck up too much water and dilute the grapes. Ultimately weather has the most prominent affect on the quality of each vintage.
Back Label and ABV
Read the back of the label if you really want more in-depth information about the wine. Wines under 14% ABV are allowed to have a 1.5% plus or minus labelling. Wines over 14% ABV are only allowed a 1% plus or minus labelling. Specific numbers like 14.6 are more likely to be accurate ABV than round numbers like 14.0 or 14.5.
Organic Wine Labels
If a wine is labeled organic that means that no sulfites have been added to the wine, there are still however sulfites in organic wines that occur naturally. Many winemakers are starting to move towards sustainable and organic grape farming.
Reserve, Limited, Special Labels
These words try to indicate something special about the wine. There is no federal standard for these terms. Reserves often mean they spent more time in oak or had very specific grape selections. These wines are usually higher quality, however the word reserve on wines under $15 usually does not really mean anything.
Episode 2 – Wine and the Senses
The best way to educate yourself about wine is of course through the tasting process. During a wine tasting, you use sight, smell, taste, and feel to create an overall perception of the wine.
Smell is one of the strongest senses and taste is actually one of the weakest. The smells you are able to pick out from different wines will depend on what you grew up smelling. Kevin talks about how his mother cooked a lot of Lebanese food using fresh ingredients. This gave him a keen sense for smells like rosemary and thyme, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
If you spend a lot of time in the woods or outdoors you may pick up smells such as the forest floor (pine), garden (roses). If you ride horseback or spend time around animals you might pick up barnyard or leather smells. What you grow up with determines what you are sensitized to. The sense of smell is connected directly to the lymbic system which has a lot to do with your emotions. This is why certain smells can trigger strong emotional responses.
Don’t be shy! When you smell wine, swirl the glass, and smell it 3 times. The first two times you should smell, and the third time you should smell the wine as you taste it. A little edicate that should be obvious, don’t bring anything smelly along with you to a wine tasting! A great tool for understanding the smelling of wine is the Aroma Wheel. These wheels depict all of the different smells you can get out of wine. If you have a cold, don’t bother tasting wine. Studies now show that 50-80% of what you taste comes from your sense of smell.
Look at it!
Sight can tell you a lot about the wine. Use a white sheet of paper to hold against the wine, this will help you tell the true color of the wine. White wine colors can range from a pale yellow-green, to golden, and then even to brown. These colors can give you an indication of the grape variety, and approximate age. For red wines, the colors start at purple and move towards red, and then eventually to brown as the wine gets older.
Episode 1 – A History Of Wine
One of the earliest recorded dates of grape cultivation is 6000BC in what is now Iran and Turkey. Many of the eygptian burial sites have also been found with large amounts of wine
Rome was an important place for wine as the Romans made significant advancements in wine storage. They recognized that storing wine on the northern side of their buildings would allow it to last longer. They also adopted some barrel and glass making techniques from other areas. The initial way that wine spread from the middle east through the rest of Europe was through Roman conquest. As their armies moved through the land, they brought vines from different countries along with them. Many of the grape varieties growing in Europe today actually originated in the middle east.
Today, if you go southern Italy you will see people growing grape vines on the sides of their houses. This tradition dates back to the roman period, as most people living in Italy would grow their own grapes and make their own wine.
Monasteries continued to cultivate wines and grapes throughout the Dark Ages. Monks are actually responsible for the creation of the first sparkling wine in 1531.
Before the invention of the cork, wine was consumed in much larger amounts. This was due to the fact that nobles would open barrels of wine during parties, and they would have to finish the barrel before the wine went bad. The cork revolutionzed win for this reason, and its’ invention is credited to Dom Perignon. After the inventions of the bottle and the cork, wine became commercialized and traveled even farther throughout the world.