Showing posts with label California Wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label California Wine. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Is Cheap Wine Poisoning You?

You may love the price of cheap wine but cringe at a dangerous chemical that is in it. Poison was not one of the things you read about on the label. According to a lawsuit filed against 28 California wineries they "produce and market wines that contain dangerously high levels of inorganic arsenic, in some cases up to 500 percent or more than what is considered the maximum acceptable safe daily intake limit” (1).  

The lawsuit may or may not have merit depending on how the facts play out. A little extra arsenic is common in wines but stay way below dangerous levels. According to a study out of Cornell 1,300 bottles of wine tested only 83 showed up with 5X more arsenic than what would be found in water (2). The risks are relatively low and multiple tests seem to confirm this. 

The type of wine that will be most likely to have higher levels of arsenic are cheaper white and blush wines that are from areas that need lots of irrigation. Cheaper wines are general produced in less healthy soils while quality wines are focused more on maximizing value from higher quality soil. You will pay a premium for the highest quality wines.

Wine and food can be mass produced like any other product. We see this with meat , chicken, and other mega agriculture. With a cheaper price comes the necessity to mass produce. It is that mass production that will create problems as repetitive actions are taken that raise pollution levels.  Yet without that mass production products would be extremely expensive.

Unless something significant comes out of the lawsuit there isn’t much a consumer can do unless they are an avid reader on wines and know their berry backgrounds. Moving up in price to higher quality wines is one option but that wine will cost you more money. Stay tuned and continue to read websites, lists, and blogs on the quality of your wine and where it came from.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Wine Review: Smoking Loon (2012)-The Cultured Outdoorsman’s Merlot

The full-bodied Smoking Loon Merlot (2012) is strong and tart like the name implies. You will discover flavors of cherry, pomegranate and cranberry weaved throughout its design. A few reviewers argue there is a background flavor of black walnut. Made by Smoking Loon Winery this is a perfect glass for the home bbq, roasted duck, or meatloaf recipes. Open a bottle of Smoking Loon Merlot upon returning to the cabin from your next duck hunting escapade. 

The brand appeals to your birdshot touting, vest donning, flannel wearing outdoor hunting enthusiast. It was designed after Don Sebastiani’s love of cigars and his father August’s love for water fowl.  The wine appeals to hunters who love to sit on their porches and watch the sun set over the rural landscape. There are few things more enjoyable than a glass of Smoking Loon Merlot after spending a few hours tracking fowl. 

The outdoor personality is unique when compared to the general population. According to a study based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) of those who choose outdoor activities the outdoor personality is more introverted and intuitive than the general population (Cashel, et. al. 1996). They were similar to the general population in thinking-feeling and judgment-perception dimensions. 

Likewise, a study commissioned by French Wines with Style helps highlight how those who choose red wine differ from other wine drinkers.  Red wine drinkers generally make more money and are happier than status loving white wine drinkers or change oriented rose wine drinkers (Ross, 2012). More than half of red wine drinkers have a college degree, 81% are happy at work, with 65% holding greater career aspirations. A total of 76% percent of red wine drinkers considered themselves “cultured”. 

If you own a dining establishment consider whether offering Smoking Loon Red Wine fits within the personality dimensions of your outdoor and red wine drinking patrons. If your establishment serves meat dishes, caters to higher income introverted intuitive types and has an outdoor/rustic d├ęcor (i.e. steak house) this may be wine for your purchasing list. At 4-5 glasses for a shelf price of $10 per bottle your mark-up is likely to be lucrative.

Smoking Loon Wineries

Cashel, et. al. (1996). Personality preferences of outdoor participants. Report (ED413133).

Moss, B. (2012). New study claims red wine drinkers earn more. Cellarviewines. Retrieved June 9th, 2012 from

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Wine Review: OZV’s Lodi Zin-Hardy and Sweet Blackberry

OZV’s Lodi Zin is a fruity blackberry tasting zinfandel that is both full bodied and ripe for a cool California evening. It embraces a few other undercurrent flavors such as espresso, raspberry, and espresso. Lodi Zin is sweet and goes down easy and smooth without a subtle aftertaste. It is a casual drinking wine you are likely to pull out of the cellar on a regular basis. Not yet a dessert wine in the American tradition but certainly leaning in that direction. 

Old Zin Vines is produced by Oak Ridge Winery which is one of the oldest pioneering wineries in Lodi California (1).  Originally founded in 1934, it started as a cooperative of growers that expanded their offerings through hard work and determination. They are known for their unique tasting room which is built within a 50,000 gallon redwood barrel. Imagine sipping your wine right inside the vessel getting a “birds eye” view of the operation. 

Lodi is located east of San Francisco Bay between Sacramento and Stockton, California (2).  The wine is grown on the Sierra Nevada Mountains among the rocky and thins soils that work well with Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Barbera, Riesling, Savingnon Blanc (3).  Grapes were originally introduced to the region during the Gold Rush and have since flourished into a famous wine growing region. 

OZV’s Lodi Zin is an excellent casual choice for the dinner table. It pairs well with most types of food. According to the Zinfandelic website you may want to include the following combinations (4): 

Meats: Pork, beef, lamb, Italian sausage, spare ribs, brisket and venison 

Poultry: Turkey, duck, quail, pheasant, chicken

Pasta: Lasagna, cannelloni, spaghetti

Seafood: Tuna, bouillabaisse, cioppino

Cheese: Parmesan, aged cheddar, gouda, asiago, dry jack

Oak Ridge Winery
6100 E. Hwy 12, Lodi, CA 95240

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Wine Review: Rozak’s Pinot Noir

Rozak Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County can be characterized as smooth and sweet with a little acid aftertaste. It is more wet than dry. The deep ruby red color matches it high strawberry and raspberry palate. There is also a bit of green taste coming from something like pine or similar foliage. The wine is appealing to the palate and is priced for the average wine drinker making it a casual dining wine.  

The Rozak winery started with only a few hundred acres with a small percentage of the land cultivated for fruits. Eventually the farm began to produce greater volumes of grapes and wine. The owner was raised in the city and made a transition to the countryside to start his farm. No power, electricity, or even vines. Through hard work he developed something great.

Pinot Noir is made from a Burgundy grape that needs a particular climate and fickle growing style (1). Due to its difficult to grow grape variety most Pinot Noirs are pricy. Rozak offers an affordable brand that matches some of the higher priced alternatives. You may want to check out the top ten Pinot Noir Wine Picks to see what other brands are available on the market that also have high reviews. 

According to Food & Wine Pinot Noir works well with fish, roasted chicken, game birds, and stews. A heavier and meatier food appears to go well with the brand. This depends on the actual tannin levels of the wine. Higher tannin levels complement fattier foods.  For hunters this is a great wine for their seaside or land based catches. Don’t come out of the thicket unless you have a Pinot Noir by Rozak in your wine cellar.