All I want for Christmas is… a glass of wine!

It’s been several years since I completed the first level examination with the Guild of Sommeliers but a few of my friends have asked me for holiday wine recommendations so I thought I’d brush up on my wine knowledge and share a few of my favorite New World boutique wines.

Bonny Doon Vineyards: Vintner Hall of Famer, Randall Grahm, is the character behind the grape. He’s a philosopher and punster who focuses on the terroir (soil type) and nature to create amazing “Rhone-like” wines. To give you a glimpse of his personality, Grahm’s flagship wine “Le Cigar Volant” was named after the 1954 law in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC prohibiting flying saucers from traveling over the region’s vineyards. Bonny Doon Vineyards offers a variety of wine at different price ranges and the label art makes you want to hang on to the bottle long after the wine is gone.

Sequoia Grove: If you ever see a bottle of Sequoia Grove’s Merlot in a wine shop, grab it immediately. I rarely see it in retail shops but fell in love with the wine after attending a dinner with Sequoia’s President & Director of Winemaking, Michael Trujillo. Talk about passion in winemaking!Sequoia Grove Wine Label

Adobe Road Winery: Okay, so there’s been a surge in celebrities and sports stars moonlighting in winemaking but this is not one of them. Former NASCAR racer Kevin Buckler and his wife Deborah created Adobe Road located in Sonoma and their Cabernet Sauvignon comes highly recommended by my former colleague VP of Wine and Spirits, Tylor Field III.

Duckhorn Vineyards: Co-founders Dan and Margaret Duckhorn make an amazing Bordeaux style wine. They were rocking the Merlot grape before the Merlot grape was in-out-and-back-in style. Lots of steakhouses carry this wine and it’s easier to find in retail than some of my other recommendations above.

Ok – so you can probably tell that my favorite wines are typically red Bordeaux-style. I have a few posts about Chardonnay and Sparkling Wines, too! I don’t want to see any empty wine glasses this holiday season :)

Tell me what wines I should add to this list!

Wine and the Five Senses

** UPDATE: The damage from the recent earthquake that hit Napa Valley over the weekend impacted with wine cellar and vineyard damage (check out this tweet from David Duncan, CEO of Silver Oak). Growers are in the midst of a major harvest, brought on several weeks earlier than usual because of drought. But fortunately for us, winemakers say that the quake will do little to disrupt their 2014 harvest. There are likely to be an additional 30 to 70 small aftershocks with magnitude 3 to 5 within the week. I hope that everyone stays safe throughout the aftermath of #NapaQuake. **

Thought I’d share some tips on Wine and the Five Senses that I learned through the Guild of Sommeliers.

Tasting wine is about sensation and perception. Sensation is our immediate response to stimuli and perception is how our brain interprets the sensation.

SIGHT

The sense of sight is the most familiar and used and gives some important information about the wines through color and hue.

  • Pale yellow-greens: can indicate a cool growing region or unripe grapes
  • Deep golden yellows: can indicate a warm growing region or barrel age
  • Amber golds: indicate an oxidized or maderized white wine
  • Inky purples: denote a young red
  • Brick reds: denote an older, mature red
  • Rusts: indicate an oxidized red wine

Intensity of color (or lack thereof) can show a wines weight and body.

SMELL

Humans can detect 10,000 different odors. A person can be trained to identify 1,000 of these.

If a wine is excessively chilled, you will not be able to detect many aromatics.

Wine Type Temperature

  • Sparkling & Sweet Wines 45-50° F 7-10° C
  • Dry Whites and Rosés 50-60° F 10-15° C
  • Light-Bodied Reds 55-65° F 13-18° C
  • Full-Bodied Reds 62-68° F 17-20° C

Swirling the wine will increase the wine’s surface area and release more aromas.

In normal breathing, only an estimated five to ten percent of the air inhaled can be sensed. Therefore, it is necessary to sniff deeply when evaluating a wine.

TASTE

Taste can only give us information on Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter and Savory (Umami). Of these, only sweet, sour and bitter can be perceived in wine.

We are most sensitive to bitterness and least sensitive to sweetness.

What we perceive in food and wine as “Taste” is actually a combination of tasting, smelling and feeling.redwine

TOUCH

We have sensors in the mouth and nose that help us “feel” wine.

Viscosity: aka, weight, body, mouth feel. The higher the sugar, alcohol and or extraction, the more body the wine will have.

  • Light Bodied Wine = Skim Milk
  • Medium Bodied Wine = Whole Milk
  • Full Bodied Wine = Heavy Cream

Astringency: Young reds with high tannin levels are said to be astringent. This is the “dry” sensation you sometimes feel when you drink wine.

Heat: Wines that are high in alcohol will give a “hot” feeling. This is why wines that are high in alcohol do not pair well with foods that are spicy.

All Wines are going to have different representations of these components. Some may be more acidic than others, some may have no tannin at all and some may be higher or lower in alcohol

SOUND

When we raise our glasses and toast, we have engaged all five senses in our wine tasting experience. In times past it was said that the clinking of glasses warded off the next day’s hangover.

Cheers!

 

 

3 Sales Lessons from a Record-Breaking Girl Scout

Just like the cookies themselves, this story is just too hard to resist. One Girl Scout in Oklahoma has broken the world record – – selling over 18,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies and still counting!

Here’s a few lessons we can learn from this ambitious girl.

Set Goals: Even though in the four years as a cookie-selling Girl Scout, Katie Francis, had broken Troop No. 3469 year after year, she set her sights even higher by aiming for the world record. Katie worked for weeks every day after school and on weekends pitching her cookies door-to-door. After that, she would set up booths at hot spots and stores around her hometown. If an hourly sales goal wasn’t met, she and her mother would head somewhere else.

Get Creative: At times, the Girl Scout Cookies were an easy sell. Other times, Katie had to work for it. She found that offering incentives like drawings for prizes or a little song and dance brought additional customers to her booth.

Have Fun: Katie obviously loves what she’s doing. Maybe she believes these cookies are the best out there, maybe she enjoys being around other people, maybe she just likes breaking records. The reason doesn’t matter so much as the results: Having Fun!

Check out this video of Girl Scout Trooper, Katie Francis, and see for yourself.

 

I’d like to know! What stories inspire you?

 

Full story from CNN.com here.

 

H-App-y

As most of you techies may have heard, McDonalds is joining Snapchat and plans to publicly kick off the account on Tuesday with a snap from basketball star LeBron James. For McDonalds, it’s another way to engage with millennials. Makes sense to me! Will you be adding McDonalds to your list of Snapchat friends?

In other recent app news: Forbes recently wrote that Facebook’s $19 Billion acquisition of the WhatsApp mocks the budget-deficit worrywarts. It does say something that a 55-employee company who commanded $19billion from the sale. A blurb direct from the Forbes article sums it up with “Wealth is very hard work, but the hard work increasingly – and very happily – creates billionaires.” Score one for the small business entrepreneurs!

Which leads me to my question to all of you technosexuals … What’s your favorite app?

My fave: Skype

My least fave: Whisper (the most creepy social app I’ve ever encountered). What is this world coming to? :)

Apps

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