All posts by Great One

What Is A Decanter? What Purpose Do They Serve?

When enjoying a good wine, we oftentimes opt for the easiest method of serving: from bottle to glass. In following these means, however, it is possible for sediments to also enter the drinking vessel. Sediments, it should be noted, are not harmful, but can result in unpleasant tastes that detract from enjoyment. Furthermore, in moving the wine straight from the bottle to the glass, we eliminate an opportunity for its contents to properly aerate, which ultimately deprives us of many flavors and aromas. 

So, how do we resolve these challenges? A rather simple solution can be found in a decanter.

Decanters are vessels often made of glass, can be found in a variety of shapes, and have easy-to-pour spouts. While most wines can be decanted, “strong red wines particularly need to be decanted because their tannins are more intense” (Masterclass). According to Masterclass, the varietals that most benefit from decanting are Malbec, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, and Burgundy. Older, full bodied red wines are also excellent for decanting because they contain the most sediment. In order to properly decant a wine, patience is paramount, but can be successfully achieved by following these steps:

  1. 1. Prior to decanting, make sure your bottle has been standing vertically for at least one day. This will ensure that the sediment has settled at the bottom of the bottle.
  2. 2. Open your bottle of wine.
  3. 3. Carefully aim the neck of the bottle toward the decanter while making sure that the bottom of the bottle does not exceed an angle of 45 degrees. This will stop the wine from rushing towards the lip and stirring up the sediment at the bottom.
  4. 4. Steadily pour the wine into the decanter, all the while keeping an eye out for any sediments nearing the opening. If you see any sediment approaching, stop pouring and set the bottle down in the upright position. Continue to carefully pour. 
  5. 5. You are finished pouring when there is approximately one ounce let in the bottle. This liquid will contain all of the unpleasant sediment you wish to leave out.

As previously mentioned, decanters are primarily used for filtering out sediments prior to drinking the wine, but they are also excellent for aeration. Through the process of pouring the wine from the bottle into the vessel, oxygen is introduced to the liquid. Decanters are specifically designed to increase the wine’s surface area, which in turn allows for greater oxidization. This softens the tannins, allows the wine to breathe and develop its flavors, and accelerates its “[coming] to life” (Smithsonian). 

While decanters are proven to mitigate the threat of unwanted sediments, there is a debate over whether these vessels actually improve the taste of wine. Of course, this is entirely up to personal preference, and the only opinion that matters is your own. What we recommend, here at King Frosch, is for you to choose your favorite wine and try it both undecanted and decanted. Who knows, maybe you’re favorite will end up tasting even better than you thought possible!

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/is-decanting-wine-worth-doing-103432638/

The History Of Bottle Closures: Screw Caps

There is a common misconception that wines that are sealed with corks are of higher quality than those crafted with screw caps. There is something romantic about levying a cork and hearing it pop when it leaves the mouth of the bottle. A millennia old practice, it invokes visions of class, elegance, and ceremony. It’s an experience lost on us when we simply unscrew a cap, an act that is just as easy as opening a bottle of water. 

Compared to the natural cork, which has roots traceable all the way to Antiquity, screw caps are a relatively new practice. First introduced in the 1950s, they were developed to combat the quality-related struggles of the traditional cork. In using aluminum with a polyethylene or tin coating, the screw cap is able to create an extremely tight seal, which prevents unwanted oxidization. The omission of a cork also removes the potential for cork taint and makes the bottle more resistant to extreme temperatures, since the screw cap will not expand or contract with the climate. Screw caps, according to a study conducted by Hogue Cellars, are the best method for preserving the bouquet, fruitiness, and character of the wine. Furthermore, the bottles with screw caps can be stored in any position, unlike the corked bottles, which need to be laid horizontally with a slight tilt forward so that the cork is always in contact with the liquid. If corked bottles are improperly stored, the cork can become weak, leading to air seepage and ultimately, bad wine. This situation is completely avoidable with screw cap bottles, which offers a better experience for both crafters and consumers alike. 

Despite the pros associated with screw caps, the Old World (France, Germany, etc.) and countries known for their wine snobbery (the United States) are resistant to making a widespread change by ditching the cork (perhaps due to the aforementioned stigma.) Only about 30% of wines in the US are closed with a screw cap, a shockingly low number compared to New Zealand’s 90%.

Still, as time progresses, the perks of using a screw cap are infiltrating the wine making industry. The ability to maintain a higher amount of control over the product is attractive to wine crafters, and an increased, quality lifespan following their purchase is a large incentive for consumers. 

Here at King Frosch, we like to embrace technology that allows us to continually provide you with the best wines we are able to offer. Though we love the romance of the cork, our market research and subsequent feedback indicated that there is a desire for the ease of opening a bottle without tools. We listened, and switched approximately 50% of our wines to bottles with screw tops.

So, the next time you pass judgement on a wine based on the means of its closure, remember: even a century’s old industry is able to change for the better!

How Should I Store My Wine?

There is nothing better than finding a wine that you love- especially one that you can picture yourself enjoying for the foreseeable future. There is nothing worse, however, than opening a bottle of vino you’ve been looking forward to and realizing the colors are muddied, the aromas are foul, and the taste is sharp and sour, like vinegar. The wine you were treasuring is now spoiled for good!

From the moment your new bottles of wine cross your threshold, how you store them plays a critical role in preserving their colors, aromas, flavors, and even lifespan. Follow these three easy steps for storage in order to preserve the wine’s integrity and extend the length of their drinkability. 

1. Store corked bottles horizontally. 

Bottles of wine are sealed via one of the following seven methods: 

1. Agglomerate corks 

2. Champagne corks 

3. Regular corks 

4. Synthetic corks 

5. Screw caps 

6. Vino-Lok (glass or plastic)

7. Zork

Numbers 4-7 are terrific because they never dry out, change shape, or loosen their seal. As a result, if your bottles are sealed by-way-of numbers 4-7, it does not matter whether they are stored standing vertically or lying down horizontally.

If your wine is sealed with numbers 1, 2, or 3, it is critical that you store the bottle lying down. Storing the cork horizontally allows the liquid to touch the cork, keeping it hydrated. Keeping the cork wet is imperative, as allowing it to dry out weakens the seal on the bottle and allows the introduction of oxygen, which will prematurely oxidize the wine. This will change the color, aroma, and taste profile of the wine, turning it into something which you may no longer enjoy.

2. Try to maintain consistent temperature and humidity.

According to Masterclass, maintaining an appropriate temperature is one of the most critical factors in properly storing a bottle of wine. The ideal temperature varies from wine to wine, but the recommended range stretches from no lower than 25F to no higher than 68F. Anything below and the wine will freeze, and anything above this range may destroy chemical compounds and accelerate the aging process. 

Inconsistent humidity also has the potential to negatively affect your wine. Low humidity levels (anything lower than 60 percent) may cause the cork to dry out. As previously mentioned, this can introduce unwanted oxygen into the vessel. High humidity levels (anything above 68 percent) may cause the labels to warp and peel. While this does not chemically affect the wine, peeling labels are less visually pleasing and make it more difficult to sell, if that is something you are interested in in the future. 

3. Find a storage place out of direct sunlight.

No matter the length of time you plan on storing your wine, you should always avoid placing it in direct sunlight. The sun’s UV rays excite the wine’s B2 and B5 Vitamins, which then react to naturally occurring amino acids. What results are sulfuric compounds, which absolutely stink! In a green bottle, this process can occur within 18 hours, and it only takes 3 hours for wine to damage in a clear bottle.

Please note, these tips are merely suggestions to help you prolong the lifespan of your wine. If you are looking for the most fool-proof method of storage, invest in a quality wine fridge. For additional. more detailed guidelines, we recommend contacting your wines’ crafters for their expert opinion. 

Enjoy!

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-properly-store-wine-at-home
https://www.vivino.com/wine-news/can-you-name-the-7-different-types-of-wine-corks

What Glasses Should I Serve My Wine In?

Just as there seem to be an infinite number of varietals of wine, all of which have their own distinct characteristics, there too seem to be just as many types of glasses. This week, we’re answering the question, what kind of glasses should you use when serving red, white, and sparkling wine.

(Photo: Novitech/Shutterstock)

Red Wine: Red wines are typically served in glasses that have larger bowls. These larger glasses mean the wine has a greater amount of surface area which comes into contact with the air. As a result, the wine is able to breathe, or “open up,” which facilitates flavor development. Larger glasses also encourage the drinker to smell their wine. This is important for enjoyment, as the senses taste and smell are closely linked.

White Wine: White wine is usually served in comparatively smaller glasses, which feature U-shaped bowls. Their unique shape and smaller openings decrease the wine’s surface area, which better preserves its cooler temperature for a longer amount of time. The glass’s smaller opening, according to food.com, also channels the wine’s more subtle aromas more directly to the drinker’s nose.

Sparkling Wine: Sparkling wines are best suited for flutes with narrow, thin bowls. By minimizing the wine’s surface area and exposure to oxygen, the flute helps to preserve the fizz and channel its flavors into the mouth instead of up to the nose.

Dessert Wine: Dessert wines are traditionally served in sippers or glasses characterized by their smaller, more compact shape. This helps to accentuate the aromas and flavors of the wine as well. It also reinforces the fact that these types of wines are intended to be enjoyed in smaller quantities, due to their rarity.

What about glasses with stems versus those without stems? This is primarily up to preference, though in general, though by holding the stem instead of the bowl, you can avoid transmitting your hand’s natural heat through the glass and preserve the wine’s cooler temperature.

If aeration prior to enjoyment, yet without having to wait, is something that is important to you, we also recommend looking into self-aerating glasses. Glasses with internal cells that funnel the wine into the larger bowl, or micro cuts which, during a swirl, help to agitate the wine and expose more of it to oxygen, minimize an otherwise sometimes tedious process of decanting and aeration.

At the end of the day, which glass you drink you wine in comes down to personal preference, though if you want to get the most out of your wine drinking experience we would recommend making sure that you have a larger glass to enjoy red wines, and a smaller one to enjoy white wines with.

Enjoy and let us know what you think!

Because red and white wines Lastly, if you enjoy reds and whites and want to optimize your enjoyment of both, it is recommended that you purchase two sets of glasses.

https://www.webstaurantstore.com/guide/580/types-of-wine-glasses.html
https://patch.com/us/dealtown/these-self-aerating-wine-glasses-are-our-new-obsession

What Are Wine Diamonds?

Imagine: 

You open a bottle of wine and pour yourself a glass, enjoying the occasion for a celebration. You swirl the contents of your glass appreciatively, and- there! At the bottom of the glass, something glitters. You look at the bottom of the cork and find… diamonds. Wine diamonds.

Wine diamonds are naturally occurring and in fact, harmless. They are made from potassium acid tartrate, a potassium salt commonly found in fruits—especially grapes—and can form in your wine during cold storage. 

Image from https://sorrynowine.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/cork_tartrates.jpg

As it turns out, wine diamonds signify quality wine. The longer grapes are left to mature on the vine (which is a precursor for crafting a quality wine,) the more acid builds and accumulates, forming the starter of the diamonds. 

The presence of wine diamonds is also a suggestion of the wine’s production process. Many manufactured wines go through “cold stabilization.” This is when the wine is intentionally cooled and left at a low temperature for an extended period of time, after which inclusions are removed. The appearance of wine diamonds in your bottle means your wine’s production process did not include this stage. This is a good thing, because it means it was “crafted” with less manipulation.

Why do manufacturers do this? Years of retail business and millions of bottles distributed, manufacturers and distributors received many bottles back from retail stores and had to credit (goodwill) for those bottles, consumers brought back or refused to enjoy a bottle because of the presence of wine diamonds. Many retail store clerks not knowing what it is or unable to explain are afraid of losing a customer or the customer is always right, prematurely offering exchanges or credits, which are passed on to the distributor and they to the manufacturer. A big accounting and customer service nightmare. 

We believe in transparency and education. KingFrosch fans know for years if they open a bottle and find a wine diamond, they know that this is how we roll, all natural and we are doing it right, all the time.

So, if you find wine diamonds in your next bottle, consider yourself rich in both quality and experience!

https://www.winc.com/blog/wine-diamonds
https://vintnerscellarbedford.ca/wine-diamonds
https://www.burntbridgecellars.com/wine-blog/2016/5/11/ask-the-winemaker-what-are-wine-diamonds
https://www.winc.com/blog/wine-diamonds
https://vintnerscellarbedford.ca/wine-diamonds
https://www.burntbridgecellars.com/wine-blog/2016/5/11/ask-the-winemaker-what-are-wine-diamonds

What Makes Wine Age Well?

Cheese, balsamic vinegar, and wine are examples of just a few items in a human’s diet that get better with age. 

We have to ask, though, what makes wine age well?

First, it’s important to note that because of the production process, all wine is aged to a certain extent. While certain red wines progress through the fermentation stage for years, white wines typically do not need as much time before they are bottled and sold. 

So, how can you determine which wines will age well?

One way to determine this, according to Binwise, is to pay attention to the wine’s sugar content. The higher the sugar content, the better wine will do with time. Ports and dessert wines tend to have much higher sugar levels and can age well for up to 100 years!

Higher levels of acidity can also help a wine age better and last longer. The longer a wine ages, the more it loses its acidity and “flattens,” so starting with higher levels will help it last for the long haul. 

After the wine is bottled, certain chemical reactions occur through aging and result in the formation of phenolic compounds. Tannins, the most popular for these compounds, alter the character of the wine, including mouth feel, flavor profile, color, and aroma. Wines with higher levels of tannins that are also well-balanced will smooth out over time. 

In non-fortified wines, alcohol levels can cause the wine to turn vinegary at a much faster rate. In general, the lower the alcohol level (13.5% or below) in non-fortified wines will age the best, while an ABV percentage of 17-20% in fortified wines will last the longest.

If you’re looking for varietals to age in a collection, we recommend the following from King Frosch:

Specialty Wines:

Reds:

Whites: 

We would like to note, King Frosch wines age in their bottles. While our red wines mature, our whites may change in color and flavor as time passes. As a result, we recommend our white wines be enjoyed within one to two years.

Sources:

How to Age Wine & the Best Wines to Age | Aged Wine Guide

4 Traits of Wines That Age Well

Drunk, In Love, Or Both?

Happy Valentines Day, everyone! We’ve all heard the saying “drunk in love,” and if you’ve ever experienced love or drunkenness, you might be able to draw some similarities between the two feelings. Both make you feel blissful, rather invincible, and when the effects wear off, sad or depressed. As it turns out, a study published in a 2015 edition of the Neuroscience and Behavioral Reviews explores the effects of both oxytocin (also known as the love hormone,) and alcohol on the brain. What resulted were nearly identical results!

Oxytocin is released during skin to skin contact, and is why physical contact with someone else feels good. Alcohol has similar effects, but instead of natural production by the body, it is the product of sugar, fermenting yeast, and starches. Both of these compounds cause lowered inhibitions and help people take that “leap of faith,” also known as “Dutch courage.” 

So, we hope you enjoy your Valentines Day and maybe even experience a bit of that “drunk in love feeling,” whichever way you choose to achieve it!

Shop These Related Products

Valentines Day Special

Dessert Wine Special

Exclusive King Frosch Aerator

What Is Icewine?

Icewine, or Eiswein, is a particularly special type of wine because it is produced under specific conditions. Though there are several variations to the origin story of icewine, they all claim that the first instance of this delicious dessert beverage was found in Germany. According to one story, an annual frost in the late 1700s struck early, before the winemaker could harvest his crop. Despite his fears of a lost year, he pressed the frozen grapes and fermented the juice. What resulted was a smaller, but sweeter yield.

Today, modern icewine making is slightly more scientific compared to how it was done during the 18th century. Grapes are left on the vines until the temperature reaches a range between -10 and -12 degrees Celsius. The grapes are then harvested and pressed (an operation that generally takes place overnight.) Because they are frozen, most of their yield is icey water, but a small portion, approximately 15%, is highly concentrated, sweet, juice. 

Typical flavors you can expect from icewines are rich, tropical fruits including lychee, papaya, and pineapple. We recommend serving your icewine chilled, either alone as a dessert, or drizzled over pound cake, ice cream, or fruit with whipped cream!

Shop our Icewines and Dessert Wines!

#18 Scheurebe Icewine

#19 Ortega TBA Late Select Harvest

#194 Diamond Series Chardonnay Icewine

References

Hancock. (2021). Everything you need to know about icewine. Retrieved 26 January 2021, from https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2018/10/everything-you-need-to-know-about-icewine/

Ice Wine, You’re So Fine (A Detailed Guide) | Wine Folly. (2021). Retrieved 26 January 2021, from https://winefolly.com/deep-dive/ice-wine-youre-so-fine/

The 2020 Wrap Up

Now that 2020 is behind us (and we have 2020 vision!) it’s time for a year-end wrap up.

Overall, the 2020 vintage produced a very high quality throughout Germany. The country experienced a warm and sunny spring, but a frost in mid-May, which unfortunately resulted in damage and yield loss in some regions.

The main grape harvest began at the end of August, which is approximately 8 to 10 days earlier than average. Good weather continued throughout the summer into September. According to the German Wine Institute, “the red varieties in particular benefited from the warm weather… [and] will get even better as they further ripen in the cellar.” The vintage was crowned on November 30th with a successful harvest of frozen grapes for ice wine.

In total, the harvest volume of 2020 is two percent lower than the 10-year average due to the aforementioned frost. The pricing is also rather stable without including the impacted regions.

Prost und zum Wohl!

What Is Spätburgunder? Hint: Think Pinot!

What Is Pinot Noir?

We’ve all heard of Pinot Noir, but what exactly do these fancy words mean? Pinot Noir is derived from the French terms Pinot for pine and Noir for black. It’s actually one of the oldest grape varieties in the world- its history related to winemaking dates back to the first century AD. Pinot refers to the cone-like shape of the grapes’ clusters, which grow tightly together in pinecone-like shapes. Due to it’s tight growth structure and thin skin, the Pinot Noir grape is actually rather difficult to grow as it is more susceptible to rot1. 

What Is Spätburgunder?

In Germany, they call Pinot Noir Spätburgunder (spät meaning late ripening, and burgunder referring to Burgundy). Though it was first documented in the 14th century, there is evidence that the varietal has been in Germany as early as the 4th century2. Due to Germany’s climate, the traditional Spätburgunder is typically lighter in color, body, and tannins, than its counterparts2. However, due to climate change, Germany’s summers are getting hotter and lately, Germany has been producing bigger and bolder Pinot than ever before. 

How do you pair Pinot Noir/Spätburgunder?

Pinot Noir is considered one of the most food-friendly red wines because of its higher acid profile and bright, sheer tasting flavors3. So, if you’re pondering which bottle of wine to take when visiting friends, hosting a dinner gathering, or just unsure which wine will go best with dinner, we recommend a Pinot!


Shop our Pinot Noir/Spätburgunder

#400 Spätburgunder Classic, Dry

#475 12 Month Barrel Aged

#499 Barrique Reserve:

  1.  Why is it so difficult to grow Pinot Noir grapes?. (2020). Retrieved 28 November 2020, from https://www.winespectator.com/articles/why-is-it-so-difficult-to-grow-pinot-noir-grapes-47336

2. Spätburgunder. (2020). Retrieved 28 November 2020, from     https://www.germanwines.de/knowledge/grape-varieties/red-grapes/spaetburgunder/

  1. Winetraveler, L. (2020). What Are Some of the Best Pinot Noir Food Pairings?. Retrieved 28 November 2020, from https://www.winetraveler.com/wine-pairing/best-pinot-noir-food-pairing/

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