Italy seems an arbitrary place to land after the holidays, but hey, why not? It’s certainly where we’d love to rest up and recover from the craziness of December. Some prosciutto, pasta, and a bottle of one of these wines, maybe under the Tuscan sun… who’s with me?
By Kevin Keith
While the still wines of Franciacorta have roots some centuries old (referenced by Virgil and Pliny the Elder and in print as far back as 1277), the sparkling wines of Franciacorta began in 1957, when a young winemaker named Franco Ziliano, while working for Berlucchi, first produced a wine called Pinot di Franciocorta. Ultimately, the renown that proceeded led to the proclamation of DOC status in 1967 and DOCG status in 1995.
Franciacorta is recognized for producing sparkling wines made in the Metodo Classico or classic Champagne method, using mostly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grape varieties as opposed to say Glera, as is the grape for making Prosecco. Franciacorta pretty much emulates Champagne in virtually every way. Pinot Bianco (Pinot Blanc) is the only other recognized grape permissible in the region, which boasts declared vineyards extending around 5400 acres.
We’ve a few great Franciacorta available in our stores and you should check one out next time you’re looking for Champagne or sparkling wines.
The mad dash to get out before the Christmas rush led to some prize allocations arriving right up to the night Santa would be coming down our cellar’s chimney. Check out these late arrivals:
The controversial WIne Spectator Top 100 list could (and should) be thought of this way: a year’s greatest hits. These babies came out throughout the course of the year, and at the end, it’s time to go Kasey Kasem on everyone and count ‘em down. Yes, it’s a bit arbitrary, and yes, there are always more than a few snubs, but hey, at least it ain’t the Grammy’s, right? Here were some of the experts’ faves:
Ideal for upcoming holiday meals, we’ve got some remarkable reds for just about every kind of get-together!
Wine Department: A Brief Clarification on Smoke Taint Mythos in the Wake of the Wildfires in California and Beyond
Smoke taint. You know it when you taste it. In the wake of the wildfires that burned tens of thousands of acres in the California counties of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino, as well as fires in Portugal, Spain, Oregon, Washington, and Chile this year alone, we thought it prudent to talk a little bit about smoke taint in general, and dispel some of the misperceptions relating to this potential flaw in wines.
First off, smoke taint is not just residual ash that lands on the grapes and can be washed off. Grapes exposed to excessive smoke can be at risk for compounds called volatile phenols that can be imbued into the grapes, bonding to the sugars within the grapes to form molecules known as glycosides. Once bonding takes place the volatility shuts down, only to be awakened once fermentation is initiated. This is where the problems arise.
Grapes with thicker skins are most susceptible. Grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, which in California, were (for the most part) picked before the recent wildfires there. There are still some onologists who debate this, but this is by-and-large proven to be true. This is problematic for red wines due to its requiring maceration with the skins in order to achieve color. White wines won’t be as affected as reds due to lack of skin contact. Grapes that come in contact with smoke between veraison (the onset of ripening) and harvest are most susceptible to smoke taint.
A lot of folks have shared their desires to help our friends in the fire-stricken areas out in California and beyond, and the biggest help you can provide is: buy wine. Support the regions hit hardest by buying their wines and coming back for more. Below are some great wines from the aforementioned areas, including Napa’s Signorello, which its winery burned to the ground, and Mendocino’s Frey Winery.
Champagne isn’t just for celebrations. We nerds here at Jungle Jim’s as well as wine enthusiasts the world over would argue that Champagne (and indeed all sparkling wines) are some of the best food wines you can find anywhere. Yet the Champagnes in our cellar, oh my are these wines meant for something or someone special.
With the colder air and the full force of winter on the way, big, bold reds to go with that heartier fare is just what the Doctor ordered, and what better way to fill that prescription than some hearty Cabernet Sauvignon. Take a look at these great wines:
To celebrate 10 years of our International Wine Festival, you joined us to drink some of the best wine the world has to offer, and we can't thank you enough! Our 2017 International Wine Festival was a great success, and we couldn't have done it without you. Cheers to 10 years, and here's to next year!
Check out the full event gallery on Events at the Jungle!
Pinot Noir is the go-to choice for the holidays, the chef’s fallback. We’ve put together a nice little quartet of Pinot Noirs from all over for your holiday planning.