What's New?

California Wine Festival

Jun 6, 2010

The California Wine Festival is one of the States largest outdoor wine festivals. If you happen to find yourself in Santa Barbara from July 15th-17th, this event is definitely a must go-to. The beachfront festival includes 350 wines from over 100 of California’s best wineries and also features silent auctions and live music. A perfect event to enjoy the sun, sand and of course wine.

The California Wine Festival is one of the States largest outdoor wine festivals. If you happen to find yourself in Santa Barbara from July 15th-17th, this event is definitely a must go-to. The beachfront festival includes 350 wines from over 100 of California’s best wineries and also features silent auctions and live music. A perfect event to enjoy the sun, sand and of course wine.

For more information on The California Wine Festival and to purchase tickets, visit their official website: California Wine Festival.com

(Photo credit: California Wine Festival)

 

Award-Winning Winemakers Choose Winexpert Brands

May 30, 2010

 

 

At the 2010 WineMaker International Amateur competition, held April 16-18, wines made with Winexpert brands were awarded a total of 244 medals.

Each year, winemakers throughout North America put their trust in Winexpert and enter wines made with our products, and each year those wines consistently receive amazing results in this competition across all of Winexpert brands: Limited Edition, Estate, International, Original, World Vineyard, Vintners Reserve, Spéciale and Island Mist. This is a testament to their winemaking ability and also to the award-winning quality that Winexpert wine kits produce.

 

The highlights:

  • A Winexpert Selection International Australian Shiraz took home this year’s Best of Show Red.
  • Every Winexpert brand this year had more varieties win an award. In fact 97 different Winexpert products won an award this year, that’s 13 more than last year’s record of 84!
  • Wines made with Selection Spéciale won an incredible 45 medals.  Our Port, Cab Franc Icewine style, and Riesling Icewine style were once again gold medal winners for the third year in a row, as well both of the past Seasonal Release varieties, Chocolate Raspberry Port and Okanagan Peach Icewine were once again gold medal winners. 

The results above reflect that of just one competition.  Each year, wines made with Winexpert products win hundreds of medals at major amateur winemaking competitions held throughout North America.  But it’s not the medals that we’re proud of. What we value most is that you, our customer, trust that you will produce a wine of award-winning quality when you choose Winexpert brands.

Taste the success! And let Just Fine Wine help you choose your next award-winning wine kit.

 

Below is a listing of all the wines that won awards at the 2010 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition:

Winemaker Magazine Award Winners

 

2010

Award

Ultra-Premium

 

Estate - Crushendo

 

Castellina Supertuscan di Siena

Gold

Montagnac Syrah/Mourvedre

Bronze

Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Gold

South Australian Single Vineyard Shiraz

Silver

 

 

Estate - Red

 

Oregon Yamhill Pinot Noir

Gold

Lodi Ranch 11 Cabernet Sauvignon

Gold

Napa Valley Stag's Leap District Merlot

Silver

Wash Columbia Valley Cab Franc Merlot

Gold

Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir

Bronze

Italian Barolo

Bronze

 

 

Estate - White

 

OK Pinot Blanc - Small Lots

Bronze

German Mosel Valley Gewurztraminer

Bronze

New Zealand Marl. Sauvignon Blanc

Gold

Sonoma Dry Creek Valley Chardonnay

Silver

Washington Columbia Valley Riesling

Silver

Washington Yakima Valley Pinot Gris

Bronze

 

 

Premium

 

International - Red

 

Spanish Rose - Seasonal Release

Bronze

Australian Cabernet Sauvignon

Silver

Australian Cabernet Shiraz

Bronze

Australian Shiraz

Best of Show Red

Chilean Carmenere

Silver

Chilean Pinot Noir

Bronze

French Cabernet Sauvignon

Gold

Italian Amarone

Gold

Italian Montepulciano

Bronze

Italian Sangiovese

Silver

South African Pinotage

Silver

Spanish Rioja

Silver

Australian Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre

Silver

 

 

International - White

 

Australian Chardonnay

Silver

Australian Traminer-Riesling

Gold

Italian Pinot Grigio

Silver

Chilean Sauvignon Blanc

Silver

 

 

Original - Red

 

Cabernet Franc

Silver

Cabernet Sauvignon

Bronze

Chianti Style

Bronze

Luna Rossa

Silver

Pinot Noir

Bronze

Vieux Chateau du Roi

Gold

White Merlot

Silver

White Zinfandel

Gold

 

 

Original - White

 

Chardonnay/Semillon

Bronze

Gewurztraminer

Silver

Johannisberg Dry Riesling

Gold

Luna Bianca

Silver

Piesporter Style

Gold

Sauvignon Blanc

Bronze

Symphony

Bronze

Viognier

Gold

 

 

Value

 

World Vineyard - Red

 

Italian Sangiovese

Bronze

Spanish Tempranillo

Silver

 

 

World Vineyard - White

 

German Muller-Thurgau

Silver

Italian Pinot Grigio

Silver

Washington Riesling

Gold

South African Chenin Blanc

Bronze

 

 

Vintners Reserve - Red

 

Barolo

Bronze

Blush

Bronze

Cabernet Sauvignon

Bronze

Merlot

Bronze

Mezza Luna Red

Silver

Valpolicella Style

Bronze

 

 

Vintners Reserve - White

 

Chardonnay

Bronze

Mezza Luna White

Gold

Piesporter Style

Bronze

Riesling

Gold

Sauvignon Blanc

Silver

 

 

Specialty

 

Spéciale

 

Chocolate Raspberry Port -  Seasonal

Gold

Ok Peach Icewine Style -  Seasonal

Gold

Sherry

Bronze

Port

Gold

Riesling Icewine Style

Gold

Cabernet Franc Icewine Style

Gold

 

 

Island Mist

 

Black Raspberry Merlot

Silver

Blueberry Pinot Noir

Bronze

Exotic Fruits White Zinfandel

Gold

Green Apple Riesling

Gold

Kiwi-Pear Sauvignon Blanc

Gold

Mango Citrus

Silver

Peach Apricot Chardonnay

Gold

Strawberry White Merlot

Gold

Wildberry Shiraz

Gold

Pomegranate Zinfandel

Gold

 

 

Limited Edition

 

2008

 

New Zealand Gewurztraminer

Silver

South African Cabernet Sauvignon

Gold

Alsation Riesling

Silver

Italian Dolcetto

Bronze

 

 

2007

 

Australian Riesling

Silver

Chilean Carm/Cab

Gold

Sicilian Nero d'Avola Shiraz

Gold

Pacific Quartet

Gold

Italian Brunello

Gold

 

 

2006

 

South African Shiraz

Bronze

German Gewurztraminer

Gold

Spanish Tempranillo/Cabernet

Bronze

 

 

2005

 

Lake County Trio Blanca

Bronze

Sicilian Grillo

Bronze

Nebbiolo d'Alba

Bronze

 

*For more information on the 2010 Winemaker International Amateur Wine Competition, please visit www.winemakermag.com.

 

Winery Tours

May 29, 2010

Winery tours can be a terrific experience for any wine lover interested in informing themselves more so in the behind the scenes heart of it all. Winery tours are a great way to witness the stages of the art of winemaking from the very beginning and Summer is the perfect time to take up a winery tour. After all, these tours are educational, fun and a fantastic way to spend a sunny day surrounded by all of the phases that bring us the beauty of wine.

Winery tours can be a terrific experience for any wine lover interested in informing themselves more so in the behind the scenes heart of it all. Winery tours are a great way to witness the stages of the art of winemaking from the very beginning and Summer is the perfect time to take up a winery tour. After all, these tours are educational, fun and a fantastic way to spend a sunny day surrounded by all of the phases that bring us the beauty of wine.

 

Winery tours generally consist of guided tours from an expert from the winery examining the vineyard and giving a history of the winery. Your guide will explain what happens in every stage of the winemaking process at their winery and explain the region in which you are exploring. Then there is the tasting room where a number of the wines produced by the winery can be sampled. Many wineries also cater to dining by providing an on site restaurant, making it an excellent way to enjoy various food and wine pairings as well.

 

There are various tour packages available so a winery tour is something that should be planned ahead and the internet is a great resource to do your research. For example, from private to group tours, some wineries offer a quick tour that can last about 30 minutes but there are much more intensive tours including half day tours, full day and even overnight stays that take you to several local wineries providing a very in-depth feel about the regions you are enjoying. While you may witness a similar practice of the winemaking process at each winery, every winery has its own complexities therefore you will gain valuable insight at every different tour in every different region.

 

Winery tours have so many options to choose from offering an elaborate adventure or a relaxing affair. They are certainly a must-do for anyone with a passion for wine.

 

(Photo Credit: Grand Pacific Tours.com)

 

Hosting a Blind Wine Tasting Party

May 25, 2010

Hosting a wine tasting party is an excellent way to gather fellow wine enthusiast friends and exercise your palette. Wine tastings are very versatile and can range from simple and casual to an elaborate tasting. Either way hosting a wine tasting party is fun and informative and a perfect reason to gather a few friends for an evening of entertaining. Below are some tips to get you started with a blind tasting.

Hosting a wine tasting party is an excellent way to gather fellow wine enthusiast friends and exercise your palette. Wine tastings are very versatile and can range from simple and casual to an elaborate tasting. Either way hosting a wine tasting party is fun and informative and a perfect reason to gather a few friends for an evening of entertaining. Below are some tips to get you started with a blind tasting.

 

If you are throwing your first wine tasting party your best bet is with a blind tasting. This way you can familiarize yourself with what a tasting consists of without having to worry about themes and food and wine pairings, which make throwing a wine tasting a little more involved. A blind tasting basically consists of concealing the wine's identity. In other words, no one knows which wine they are tasting. The reason for a blind tasting is simply to rely on your senses without any other outside information that could potentially influence your judgement of the wine. This is a great way to learn to trust your own taste and educate yourself on your likes and dislikes.

 

An important factor in hosting a wine tasting is obviously ensuring there is enough wine for everyone and the math in this regard is rather straight forward. Plan to serve 2 ounce samples of each wine. So if you have 12 guests you will need 1 bottle per person. However, it never hurts to have a little extra, for emergency purposes. Which brings up the question of how many wines should be sampled. For a blind tasting between four and six is usually a good number.  

 

Beyond the wine itself, it's a good idea to provide a tasting sheet for each guest. This sheet will be a resource for each guest to write down their experiences with each wine including any comments they may have, ranking the wine and to generate a dialogue amongst the group. Although one guest may be more informed about wine than another, this is an excellent time to learn from each other in a discussion. 

 

To spit or not to spit, that is the question and the answer is generally yes. Although it's perfectly acceptable to sip the wine, you will want to keep a clear head during the tasting in order for your senses to be in top form. So it's important to provide a spit bucket. A small plastic cup for each guest is suitable for this purpose.

 

As for food it's best to stick to bread and water. At least until after the actual tasting. They will act as effective palette cleansers in between each tasting without interfering with the senses. It's also important to note that strong odours such as scented candles or intensely perfumed flowers should be avoided for the same reason. After the tasting is completed though, it's thoughtful to have a few appetizers to offer your guests.  

 

Finally, don't feel the need to go it alone. Before the tasting ask your guests for their input and ideas on what they would enjoy. They'll likely be happy to get involved and help and in fact you may find that each of your guests would like to bring their own bottle. That, of course, is something you will want to know ahead of time. Wine tastings should be festive and fun affairs and should never be overwhelming or intimidating. This is where a little planning goes a long way.

 

Photo Credit: WineTastingParty.com

Niagara New Vintage Wine Festival

May 24, 2010

June 12th marks the beginning of Niagara's three weekend wine and food festival. It's no wonder the New Vintage Festival is in its 15th year considering the Niagara Peninsula is one of the most well-known wine regions in Canada. This festival showcases the newest vintages that the Niagara region has to offer from 2009. Along with multiple wine tastings from Niagara's beautiful wine country, there will also be local chefs dishing up their delicious creations at six local wineries. Some of the events also include a seminar on wine and cheese pairing and a wine and seafood extravaganza. 

June 12th marks the beginning of Niagara's three weekend wine and food festival. It's no wonder the New Vintage Festival is in its 15th year considering the Niagara Peninsula is one of the most well-known wine regions in Canada. This festival showcases the newest vintages that the Niagara region has to offer from 2009. Along with multiple wine tastings from Niagara's beautiful wine country, there will also be local chefs dishing up their delicious creations at six local wineries. Some of the events also include a seminar on wine and cheese pairing and a wine and seafood extravaganza. 

For more information on Niagara's New Vintage Festival visit their official website here.

(Photo Credit: NiagaraWineFestival.com)

 

Food and Wine Classic 2010

May 17, 2010

 

 

Anyone who is passionate about food and wine is likely familiar with Food and Wine Magazine. Food and Wine Magazine is highly regarded in the industry which is why their annual Food and Wine Classic, which is held in Aspen every year, is such a coveted event...and for good reason. The Food and Wine Classic is a three day event that includes cooking demonstrations, wine seminars, wine tastings and food and wine pairings from a who's who of culinary and wine superstars. With fantastic talent like Rick Bayless, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, Mario Batalli, Marni Old, Alessia Antinori, Richard Betts and many, many more inspirational experts, this event is definitely a food and wine lover's dream. 

 

The Food and Wine Classic 2010 runs from June 18th-20th. For more information click here to go to the official website.

 

(Photo Courtesy of Jaunted.com)

 

Get Twisted and Win

May 10, 2010

Send us your best photo's of you getting "twisted" and you could win a weekly prize of a Twisted T-shirt. Photos will be rated by the public and voted on by Winexpert and are encouraged to be fun, unique and creative.

Send us your best photo's of you getting "twisted" and you could win a weekly prize of a Twisted T-shirt. Photos will be rated by the public and voted on by Winexpert and are encouraged to be fun, unique and creative.

 

To enter or to vote on photo's just go to www.winexpert.com/twisted/contest.

Craft your own cocktails with Twisted Mist kits from Winexpert, a new twist on wine cocktails. Mojito and Strawberry Margarita varieties now available at Just Fine Wine.

Get Twisted!

May 8, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing Twisted Mist

 

Twisted Mist FAQ:

What is Twisted Mist?
It’s a refreshment beverage cocktail, along the lines of trendy pre-mixed cocktails sold at single-strength and designed to be drank in a casual and festive setting. These drinks have a long history, from California Cooler, Bartles & Jaymes, to Smirnoff Ice and Bacardi Breezers.
 
What is Twisted Mist not?
It’s not Sangria or a fruit-wine drink or other alco-pop. While it has a wine base, Twisted Mist flavours are completely refreshing and true to their cocktail origins.
 
Do I need to add liquor?
No, it’s all there: a standard mixed drink (1.5 ounces alcohol with 4 ounces mix) is generally about 12% alcohol. Twisted Mist delivers approximately 12.5% alcohol by volume at bottling. That’s not to say you can’t add a bit more—some fancy mixed drinks get a ‘float’ of a quarter-ounce of liquor on top at the end. However, it’s not necessary to increase the alcohol content to get perfect cocktail strength and flavour.
 
Does it taste like one of those ‘bar mix’ drinks?
Some bar flavours (often called ‘pre-mix’ in the industry) are flavoured and coloured with artificial ingredients that don’t always taste like fresh fruit. Twisted Mist uses natural fruit extracts and essences that give it a fantastic just-made taste that everyone will love.

Why is Twisted Mist not clear as my usual wine kits at the time of bottling?
There are a lot of solid materials (from the flavour pack) that are added to the beverage during the production process. Therefore the finished product will be rendered slightly cloudy. That’s okay: by the time a Margarita is stirred up or a Mojito is muddled they should be a little hazy with all the great things (those natural fruit extracts and essences again) floating around making up the flavour, aroma and body. The haze in very slight, natural looking, and won’t settle out over time.
 
How long can I keep Twisted Mist once it’s bottled?
Pretty much until about one minute after people find out how good it tastes! Seriously, Twisted Mist is ready to be drunk as soon as it’s bottled and unlike our wine kits, doesn’t improve with age. Don’t worry though: it will last at least six months and a bit longer in good storage conditions. We really expect most people won’t have it around that long! 
 
Are there fun and funky Twisted Mist labels available?
Yes. Twisted Mist includes bottle labels inside the kit. They’re attractive clear peel-and-stick versions with Twisted Mist graphics and our Tiki mascot, adding a sense of light hearted fun to the product.

For any further information drop by Just Fine Wine or visit: www.winexpert.com/twisted

 

Introducing Two New Estate Small Lots

May 7, 2010

 

 

Last year, Just Fine Wine and Winexpert introduced the Estate Series Small Lots to provide the opportunity for customers to try ultra-premium, region specific wines that otherwise might not be offered in Estate Series due to the scarce availability of supply available. There is a set number of Estate Series Small Lots wine kits produced and once they’re gone, they’re gone. Many customers raved about last year’s Okanagan Pinot Blanc while unfortunately, some missed out. This May, we will be introducing 2 new varieties to the Small Lots:

 

British Columbia Black Sage Bench Chardonnay

British Columbia is at the forefront of new, New-World Chardonnays, with a crisp, bright style that’s perfectly balanced for food or casual sipping. Pale yellow, with fresh mineral and citrus flavours, notes of pear, white peach, green apple and fine acidity lead to a long, creamy finish with notes of honey.

3 Continents Meritage

A Red Meritage is a blend of two or more of the red “noble” Bordeaux varieties — Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot and the rarer St. Macaire, Gros Verdot and Carmenère. If the blend includes any other grape variety, it is, by definition, not a Meritage. Also, to qualify as a Meritage, no single grape variety can make up more than 90% of the blend. 3 Continents Meritage combines Petit Verdot from Australia, Cabernet Sauvignon from California and Merlot from Chile to make a unique, globe-spanning vision of the quality a wine of the best varieties can truly possess.

 

The 2010 Estate Series Small Lots Editions are now available in small quantities for a limited time...which likely won't be long! Last year's amazing BC Okanagan Pinot Blanc was out of stock in only 6 weeks. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to stock your cellar with these two fabulous wines.

 

The Wonderful World of Roses

Mar 31, 2010

A lot of people think of Mateus when they think rosés. Mateus is the wildly popular sweet, lightly fizzy rosé which was created and targeted specifically to the North American palette, and for many, that will always be the preferred choice. After all it was the favorite for rosé drinkers from the 1950's well into the 80's. However if a sweet wine isn't for you, there are other choices. Things have come back around to the demand of a dry rosé which seems to be changing even the minds of those who scoffed at the thought of drinking it at all. In fact, a couple of years ago, the volume of sales even outnumbered that of white wines in France and the demand for dry Rosés in North America have sky rocketed.

A lot of people think of Mateus when they think rosés. Mateus is the wildly popular sweet, lightly fizzy rosé which was created and targeted specifically to the North American palette, and for many, that will always be the preferred choice. After all it was the favorite for rosé drinkers from the 1950's well into the 80's. However if a sweet wine isn't for you, there are other choices. Things have come back around to the demand of a dry rosé which seems to be changing even the minds of those who scoffed at the thought of drinking it at all. In fact, a couple of years ago, the volume of sales even outnumbered that of white wines in France and the demand for dry Rosés in North America have sky rocketed.

 

There has been much talk of the rosé the last few years and for good reason. Rosés are often under rated and don't get the credit they deserve. There are many reasons to choose rosés. For example, a great bottle of rosé can be found for a very reasonable price. They are a younger wine best enjoyed now without years of aging. But perhaps most exciting for any food lover is that rosés pair very well with a wide variety of foods from prawns to goat cheese to chicken, spicy chorizo and fish and BBQ is a perfect match for a dry rosé. 

 

Spring and Summer are absolutely the time of year to sit back with all of the wonderful things a rosé has to offer. Refreshing, versatile and very drinkable have all the makings of a warm weather hit. And the new generation of rosés are just that.

 

(Photo Credit: Creative Loafing.com)