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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!

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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!

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#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!


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#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/

What Is Gewürztraminer Wine?

Origin and History

The Gewürztraminer grape is one of 18 classic noble grapes. It is a mutation of either the traminer grape from the village of Tramin in South Tyrol, or the savagnin, the parent grape of sauvignon blanc. Sources are a bit fuzzy on this point, but what we do know is that it is one of the oldest grapes in the wine world. The grape is white with pink skins and is commonly grown in Alsace, a region on the border of France and Germany.2 Because it needs a cool climate in order to develop aromas and the vine is particularly susceptible to disease, Gewürztraminer is difficult to grow. Scientists have even attempted to cross the grape with other varietals to strengthen it, but none have been successful thus far.3

Flavors

Gewürztraminer gets its name from the term Gewürz, which in German means “herb.” The wine is famous for its traditionally high alcohol content and strong, tropical aromas including lychee, pineapple, melon, ginger, rose petals, and even smoke.

Pairings

When pairing the wine with foods, you can try a wide variety of cuisines and flavors, from sweet, to spicy, to salty because of its low acidity and sweet or off-dry taste.2 This means that these wines are perfect for just about any occasion, from brunch to your Thanksgiving dinner!

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1 Gewurztraminer Wine. (2020). Retrieved 21 November 2020, from https://www.wine-searcher.com/grape-187-gewurztraminer

2 Meyer, T. (2020). What Gewurztraminer tastes like: Wines to change your mind. Retrieved 21 November 2020, from https://www.decanter.com/wine-reviews-tastings/what-is-gewurztraminer-like-300561/

3 Suckling, J. (2020). Gewürztraminer Wine: History, Tasting Notes, and Pairings. Retrieved 21 November 2020, from https://www.masterclass.com/articles/gewurztramine-wine-history-tasting-notes-and-pairings#what-is-gewrztraminer

4 Gewürztraminer Wine Guide. (2020). Retrieved 21 November 2020, from https://winefolly.com/deep-dive/gewurztraminer-wine-guide/

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#610 Gewürztraminer, Dry

#611 Gewürztraminer, Semi Dry

#612 Gewürztraminer Semi Sweet

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Chances Are, You’re Drinking Your Wine At The Wrong Temperature

We’ve all heard the old adage that we should drink red wines at room temperature, while drinking white wines chilled. 

Why do we drink different wines at different temperatures?

Why is that? Chemistry! Red wines, especially those that are bigger and bolder, have tannins that provide nuance to flavor. If a red wine is chilled, the flavor may lose some of the lighter, more enjoyable nuances. Conversely, white wines have higher acidity, which, at warmer temperatures, can introduce unwanted tasting “noise.” By chilling the white wines, the flavor profile tightens, effectively muting some of that noise so that we may better enjoy the lighter, fruitier elements1 of the beverage. 

What are these recommended temperatures?

But what is “room temperature,” and what is “chilled”? Many wine experts share the opinion that Americans actually drink their red wine too warm, and their white wines too cold. Part of this issue stems from the fact that “room temperature” in Europe really means cellar temperature, which tends to be around 55F to 65F. Room temperature in the United States, however, is approximately 72F 2 . Furthermore, refrigerators typically chill food to 37F, but experts state that white wine should be enjoyed between 45F and 50F1.  This means that red wine is typically drunk 7 to 17 degrees warmer than intended, while white wine is drunk 8 to 13 degrees colder than what is recommended.

How do we reach the recommended temperatures?

So, how should we get wine to its intended temperature? Like many things, good planning plays an important role. If you have red wine at room temperature, just place it in the fridge about 45 minutes before you plan on enjoying it. If you have white wine at room temperature, place it in the fridge about two hours before you wish to drink it. You can also keep both red and white wine in the refrigerator, and then take the red out about half an hour before you wish to enjoy it3, and take the white out approximately 15 minutes before enjoyment. As a rule of thumb, the lighter the wine, the longer it should be in the fridge, and the heavier the wine, the shorter amount of time it needs to be chilled. 

As always, recommendations are purely guidelines. Wine is for your enjoyment, so feel free to experiment with temperatures and stick with your own personal preference!

1 The Do’s and Don’ts of Chilling Wine. (2020). Retrieved 15 November 2020, from https://www.winemag.com/2018/08/13/chill-wine/

2 Helmenstine, A. (2020). What Is Room Temperature?. Retrieved 15 November 2020, from https://sciencenotes.org/what-is-room-temperature/

Schultz, E. (2020). PSA: Your Red Wine Is Probably Way Too Warm. Retrieved 15 November 2020, from https://www.bonappetit.com/story/red-wine-temperature-cooler-than-you-think

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King Frosch Rieslings

Discover the Riesling Grape

History of the Varietal

Popular wine varietals come and go, but one which is always at the top of the charts for white wine is the Riesling. The Riesling grape varietal has been around for several hundred years. It was first planted in the 15th century and now there are over 50,000 hectares planted of Riesling around the world. In fact, it is found on every continent where grapes are grown. Learn more about the Riesling grape varietal and why it is so popular.

A Most Hardy Varietal

Why is the Riesling so popular is all growing regions? As you know, the Riesling is most closely associated with Germany. The Riesling grape hails from Germany and is a major varietal within the country. Secondly, the vines have a high tolerance for the cold weather and are drought resistant. In addition, the berries of this varietal are very light and the grapes have proven a strong resistance to botrytis. This is a fungus or mold which grows on the vine. A Riesling’s hardiness means it can grow in many regions, in many countries.

From Dry to Sweet

Riesling can range from sweet to dry, and all versions are delicious. Many people immediately connect it with sweeter versions popular in the U.S., but in Germany it is crafted at all levels. When crafted as a dry style it contains very little or no sugar, and there are even diabetic versions available. The sweetness level is a personal preference but the Riesling tastes great, clean and refreshing no matter what the level of residual sugar.

Typical Riesling Flavors

The Riesling grape is described as juicy, floral, earthy, tangy, tart, fruity and you will often smell lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, apples and the list goes on for this versatile varietal. The amount of alcohol in the drink is dependent on ripeness and sweetness levels. However, even though the Riesling often times has a strong floral aroma and fruit flavors, the high acidity levels leave behind a nice crisp taste.

Balanced Acidity and Fruit Flavor

Since the Riesling has high acidity levels, it not only makes it enjoyable to drink, it can be aged for hundreds of years. This makes it one of the few white wines that is very good quality after being aged. Most white wines are meant to be drunk soon after they are bottled.

How to Enjoy a Riesling

When serving a Riesling, first give it some time to breathe. Riesling is usually best served at a temperature of 44-50 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows for the characteristics and aromas of the wine to flourish in your mouth.

Riesling and Food Pairings

Rieslings pair well with almost every type of food. This includes spicy ethnic dishes and even sushi. There are no oaky tones or harsh flavors in Riesling. Chefs love to create meals paired with a Riesling because it is so versatile and complements many foods. In addition to being a star at the dinner table, a sweeter version can also serve as a final dessert. In short, the Riesling is perfect for any social situation. So there truly is a Riesling for everyone. The more you learn about the Riesling grape varietal, the more you will discover it is simply a matter of finding the one with the right sweetness level to fit your palate.

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