What a year 2020 was. I think we’ll be talking about it with our kids and our grandchildren for years to come. I certainly hope that it remains one of the most unusual years of our lifetime. Fortunately, our kitchens give us the opportunity to recreate the flavors of our favorite food destinations and the Windham Wines virtual tastings have taken us on satisfying group travel adventures as we visit and taste with winemakers in Italy, France, Austria, Spain and the United States. We’ve actually traveled quite a bit in this past year, and we have many more trips planned as you’ll discover in our tasting calendar.
What difference does it make to filter a wine? After grape juice undergoes fermentation, wine is often filtered both to take out the final, infinitesimally small yeast particles or bacteria that may make a wine unstable (and lead to off-putting aromas) and to enhance the wine’s luster. Some importers, however, have championed unfiltered wines (e.g., Kermit Lynch, Joe Dressner, and now many natural wine importers) because they believe that filtering extracts not just particulates, but flavor. They contend that wines made cleanly, with balance of pH and acidity, will be stable. In that case, filtering extracts compounds whose contributions to the final wine are important to that wine’s identity.
My friend (and a friend to many to of you, too), Peg, sent us an email thanking us for a wine that she gave as a gift, observing that, “[w]ine has the power to transport people to places, experiences, and people that are held in the heart.” In that case, a bottle of Sicilian wine propelled its recipients to a grandmother’s time and village, allowing them to celebrate her life as they remembered her from their porch in Apalachicola, FL.
Everyday we are thankful to live in this state whose identity is associated with preserving both non-human nature and small communities. Just as non-human nature needs protection by humans (mostly from humans) to survive, small communities need the support of local residents to prosper. If we want to continue to celebrate Vermont’s small towns, to those volunteer efforts noted above we need to add mindfully shifting our shopping to support local merchants.
Did you know that no more than fifteen wine grape varieties “account for 90 percent of the wine grapes grown in the United States and France” (Ian d’Agata, Native Grapes of Italy, 4)? “Shop locally, taste globally” embraces not just supporting a local shop like Windham Wines, but because of our selection of small, family-owned […]
We are ending the season of tremendous growth and fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables. Among those fruits are grapes; it is harvest time in the northern hemisphere. It corresponds as well with our two seasons of industry wine shows, where we taste the new vintage wines and new wines that our distributors are bringing into Vermont. At the shop, our portfolio of wines shifts from mostly whites and ross, to about two-thirds reds, the rest whites, ross and sparklings.
We have a lot of regions and styles to cover in our wine journey together. As I was considering where to head after the February clubs, I was discouraged by some industry articles that pointed to trends in California that are recurring in other wine regions as well, namely, wineries being purchased by nouveau-wealthy people for whom a vineyard is a hobby-investment and the tension between wine industry interests and environmental concerns in developing wine regions. In a somewhat circuitous route, these led me to pay attention to and want to celebrate some really interesting producers from California’s Central Coast region whose fingernails are dirty from work in the vineyards and who are engaging in environmentally sensitive practices in both the vineyard and the cellar.
One of the great things about owning a wine shop is that we have to try a lot of different wines. (I must say here that the greatest thing about owning a shop, hands down, remains our terrific, interesting and loyal customers. I am sorry if it sounds like pandering, but it is nonetheless true). […]
We are very excited about this list of winter favorites for $20 or under. We tasted throughout the fall, selecting wines for the season as we shifted the shop’s focus from the lighter whites and rosés of summer to the fuller-bodied whites, sparklings and especially reds of colder, darker months. As we mentioned in the […]