A Sense of Wine

A Sense of Wine is Wine Sense's journal of new products, techniques and behind the scenes info for those who love to make wine. The authors are the Wine Sense staff. You will be familiar with them as the friendly faces that serve you whenever you stop by one of the stores. Join us as we share our insights on new procucts, advice and our experiences. Please feel free to comment on any posts- we look forward to your input!

January 2010


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3 Cheers for Trio Blanca!

January 22, 2010

BruceWe are very fortunate to have a re-release of the Limited Edition California Lake County Trio Blanca, first released in January of 2005. It is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Blanc. Each grape varietal is outstanding on its own, however, blended the result is fantastic. You get a wine that changes tastes over time from Sauvignon Blanc to Chenin Blanc to Pinot Blanc, eventually fusing into all three grapes to one unbelievable flavour.

image002[1]Why fortunate you ask? Those who know me know I am a red wine drinker, so finding a white wine that really excites me is rare. The Trio Blanca is one of those whites. I love the flavour transformation over time. Although this wine was good (too good actually) young, it rewards “those who wait”.

 The Trio Blanca is a nice wine to have on those cold or warm nights sitting around the fire, reading a good book, or with a meal.

 I enjoy Trio with white meats such as pork or chicken. The Pork Tenderloin Baked in White Cream Sauce recipe that features the Trio Blanca is easy to make and very tasty.

Don’t miss this chance to make one the top 5 wines from the last 20 years of the Selection Limited Edition program- I know I won’t!

Click here to view a brief video about this wonderful wine.



Manager (Wine Sense- Pembina)

Filed under: Wine by Craig

Baked Beef Merlot

January 18, 2010

winesense_icon This recipe was created for last year’s Limited Edition New Zealand Merlot. If you are lucky enought to have made the New Zealand Merlot you’re all set. If not, you can use any Merlot to make this terrific meal that’s great for cold weather. Baked Beef Merlot is a simple ‘mix and cook’ recipe so there’s not a lot of preparation time. Mix the ingredients in a bowl, put them in a casserole and enjoy a glass of wine or two while you wait for it to cook!

You will need:

2 Lbs. Lean Beef Stew Meat cut into one inch cubes

1 Cup  Canned Tomatoes cut up

6 Carrots chopped

3 Medium Potatoes peeled and quartered

1/2 Cup Celery thickly sliced

1 Medium Onion sliced and separated into rings

3 Tbsp. Tapioca

1 Slice Bread crumbled

1 Cup Selection Limited Edition New Zealand Merlot (or any Merlot)


MMMmmmm.... Baked Beef Merlot!

In a large bowl combine all ingredients, spoon into greased 3 quart casserole. Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 3 1/2 hours. Serve right away with a glass of Merlot!

Yield: 6 Servings

Filed under: Recipes by Craig

Whip Tips

January 12, 2010

Brian KentIf you were lucky enough to find the three pronged wine whip under the Christmas tree this year, or you are a winemaking enthusiast that has one, here are a couple of tips in using this useful piece of equipment.


The Wine Whip- a wine makes best friend!

During the first stage, when you are finished adding the required amount of water to your juice/concentrate, you will read the direction “stir vigorously for 30 seconds”. When that direction is given, it means that you have to blend two liquids with different viscosities together so that they are well mixed. If you don’t stir vigorously, then you could find that the wine in your primary may be layered and will not have the correct specific gravity stated in the directions. Your solution is to stir the water/wine mixture with your wine whip for the next 30 seconds and achieve the correct specific gravity easily. There will be a layer of bubbles on your must, so use your thief to collect a sample of wine to measure your specific gravity with your hydrometer.

You can also use the wine whip during Stage 1 to mix the oak chips contained in the kit. Turn the whip on an angle, resting it on the rim of the primary and mix. This ensures that the oak chips are swept under the surface of the must to help make them more waterlogged (winelogged?).

Hopefully these two Wine Whip tips will help make your winemaking easier for you!



Wine Sense Portage Avenue

Filed under: Equipment by Craig

Aussie GSM

January 6, 2010

JimThe Selection International Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre (shortened to Aussie GSM) was an interesting wine kit to make up. I really enjoy a blended wine for its variety of aromas and tastes. I started the wine on Oct 10th, 2009 and the aroma coming off the juice as I poured it into the primary fermentor was very ‘grapey’ with at least 4 different aromas that I could identify.

The filtering went well, and the bottling was an enjoyable event as the aroma coming up out of the bottles was fantastic.

Following the instructions, Stage One was very simple. The starting SG was 1.090 with a temperature of 24 C.

I arrived at Stage Two in 6 days, on Oct 16th, 2009. The fermentation was steady and slow, which I prefer. My SG reading was .998.

Stage Three took a little longer than usual due to the slow fermentation. After 13 days I finally got to two stable SG readings of .994 and moved on to the degassing. Using the wine whip, I degassed the wine in the instructed 3 minutes – but that whip is so much fun I kept going for a few more minutes!

On Nov 12th, 2009 I racked the wine over to a clean carboy and topped up with water.

I bottled the wine on Dec 4th 2009. I filtered the wine so we can taste the wine and pass our opinions on to our customers… Ok, Ok, I just wanted to drink it early…

The Aussie GSM on first tasting after bottling had an interesting aroma and the colour was a nice medium red. The taste was very young (I would give it at least 3-6 months of aging). I was surprised by the taste of the wine because the Shiraz was obvious, but it was not the predominate taste – the Grenache and Mourvedre were also very evident.

On first tasting it’s evident this will smooth out with aging. I would personally age this wine for one year and enjoy all the proper flavors that this will develop. If you can’t wait a year at least make sure you can enjoy a bottle or two after 6 months. Your patience will pay off.

Because I plan my cellar needs in advance and have patience, I am actually able to wait about a year to drink my wines – my definition of patience is “enough wine to drink until the next kit is aged”.

Here is Winexpert’s description of the wine:

The blending of these three grapes is a classic, originating in the South of France where Côtes du Rhone and Chateauneuf du Pape concentrate on these varieties. The small, thick skinned berries are deep blue-black in colour, high in extract, flavour, aroma and tannin.

 Grenache also thrives in hot climates and warm soils, producing deep purple, sugar-rich, burly ripe fruit, it offers a cornucopia of dense, lusty aromas and flavours of black cherry, blackcurrant, jam, pepper and liquorice with an explosively mouth filling texture and deceptively heady alcohol.

Mourvèdre also favours a warm climate and abundant. The tiny berries are deep blue-violet in colour, with extremely thick skins and high sugars, acidity, colour and tannin, making Mourvèdre an excellent contributor of structure and density in the blend. Mourvèdre is an especially good foil for Grenache’s lusher, low-acid, and low-tannin fruit. The three grapes together make for a blend of length, power, and fruitiness and above all, balanced intensity of flavour.

This wine will benefit from ageing and will pair well with beef, lamb, barbequed ribs and grilled pork chops.



Manager (Wine Sense- Springfield)

Filed under: New Products by Craig


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