Think about baking crusty, French baguettes, bread perfection created with just four ingredients: flour, yeast, water, salt. There are many recipes for French bread that provide measurements of each ingredient. But turning out a crusty, chewy, tangy loaf is all about technique. Every batch of flour is different. Atmospheric conditions at various locales will impact many variables such as how the flour hydrates and how well the yeast rises. The baker’s hand is essential in formation of gluten, the very structure of the bread. Bread making requires an experienced set of senses, particularly touch. No recipe can produce epic French bread, it requires experience to make adjustments to the proportions based on feel
Producing epic Latkes is an exact analog. Technique is essential and the recipe is only a guideline to be adjusted by feel and experience. If you are willing and patient you will be rewarded with a divine experience that will be celebrated by those you prepare them for.
Meteor Vineyard is my first job in the wine industry. After moving to Napa from Cleveland, Ohio a couple of years ago I quickly realized that I wanted to be into the wine industry.
In an effort to increase my level of wine knowledge (I love to drink wine however, my knowledge of the process was minimal at best) I signed up for the WSET level 1 course through the Napa Wine Academy. The class was held on a Saturday in October at the beautiful St. Supery Winery.
It was a small group of 7, consisting of people from all walks of life, with different jobs, and different levels of knowledge. We all came together to expand our knowledge together with our enthusiastic instructor Catherine.
The class covered basic wine knowledge from the main styles of wine, characteristics of grape varieties, how to taste and serve wines (and many things in between!)
We were able to learn about wine varieties and different wine growing regions while trying wines from different areas of the world. We were able to work on understanding the art that is food pairings and discuss amongst the group. The class was hands on, fun, interesting and exciting.
Not only did I emerge with a better knowledge and understanding of wine, I learned even more from discussions with the instructor and my peers. The experience was amazing, something I would sign up for again; who knows, maybe level 2 is in my future!
Many of you have probably heard of the most recent wine gadget, the Coravin. This device, invented by a medical device entrepreneur, was created as a way to access wine in the bottle without removing the cork. The Coravin pierces the enclosure with a slender hollow needle and injects Argon gas that replaces the wine that is forced out.
What this allows you to do in essence is remove wine from the bottle and be able to revisit this wine days, weeks or months down the line without suffering the usual effects of an open bottle.
Not only does the device come with a digital readout for exact pour measure to allow the bottle’s wine volume to be used to its full potential, it permits a restaurant to pour older, more rare vintages by the glass without the wine going bad (and you don’t have to worry about empty bottles at the end of the night!)
Mauro Cirilli, Wine Director at Press Club San Francisco, has been involved with the Coravin project for three years. Press Club was selected to utilize the Coravin prototype to give feedback on how it could be improved before launching the device into the market.
Thanks to the device Cirilli was able to put together the largest list in the world of magnum bottles available by the glass, one of these wines being our 2008 Meteor Vineyard Perseid.
“Coravin will change the way people enjoy wines and will improve sales and lower costs for wineries and distributors,” Cirilli said.
Cirilli reiterates the point that the Coravin is meant mostly for the high-end wines, “the ones that we never thought to get just a glass and then put the bottle back in the cellar,” he said.
According to Cirilli, the device will allow restaurants, wine bars and retailers to enrich their lists with new selections, while bringing in extra attention to a larger variety of wines and extra money to the establishments. Wineries and distributors will be able to avoid bottle waste while saving thousands of dollars.
Cirilli says, “Both patrons and business will earn something extra. Coravin gives us unlimited access (cork permitted!)”
Desmond Echavarrie, MS, Senior Wine Advisor at Soutirage, said he recently used the Coravin to test several bottles of 20-year-old Napa Cabernet for an event on Alcatraz Island. “Given the choice of three library vintages from the same winery that we had to purchase 3 cases of, it was a small sampling via Coravin that sealed the deal,” Echavarrie said.
All in all the Coravin sounds like a winner to me; ability to try various library wines by the glass, while saving money, can’t beat that!