Warming Up By Drinking Red Wine in the Winter

Now that we are well into winter, it is time to find ways to stay cozy and warm until the spring thaw. While gloves, hats, and scarves can keep the cold out reasonably well, they cannot lift our spirits after a long commute in a snowstorm. That is where red wine comes into play. Even though it cannot literally warm us up, everyone always feels warmer and cozier after a glass or two. Red wine can be enjoyed during any time of year, but there are a few reasons its consumption is especially fitting in the winter.

Comforting

Few things compare to the feeling of taking the first sip from a glass of red. It tastes rich, inviting, and goes down smoothly. Curling up on the couch after a long day at work followed by a snowy commute is only made that much more therapeutic with red wine. It is comforting knowing you have a bottle of red waiting for you once you get home.

Hearty

When the temperature drops outside, the recipes people prefer tend to get richer. Instead of light salads, people opt for bowls of stew and plates of hearty pasta. A sweeter and spicier wine is needed to complement these types of dishes. Winter reds will have rich and dark tones of flavour and taste distinct. They can even be added to meats and sauces to enhance their flavouring.

Mulled Wine

A toasty mug of mulled wine has warmed the bodies of Nordic and Germanic people for centuries. It is enhanced with spices like ginger and cinnamon for a robust flavour profile. Mulled red wine can only truly be enjoyed during the dead of winter. It is a great drink warm up with that does not have the caffeine of coffee or tea. Simply warm up your favourite Cabernet Franc, Merlot, or Zinfandel and add ginger, cinnamon, and honey. It is the perfect way to warm your hands up again after shovelling your driveway or walkway.

Seasonal Wine

Some wines taste better in the winter than the summer and vice versa. Save your sangrias, rosés, and whites for the spring and summer when you want to cool down. A rich, dark Pinot Noir goes down better while sitting under a blanket in front of a fire or heater. Reds come in a variety of price ranges, which means you are sure to find one that suits your budget.

If you are in search of the perfect red wine to complement a meal, make mulled wine with, or to get cozy, stop by Seven Degrees. We have a wide selection of winter reds that are sure to make the coldest days seem a bit warmer.

All About Orange Wine

You are likely familiar with red, white, and rose wines but did you know there is an orange wine as well? It is a bit of a misnomer though since it is not actually made from oranges and it does not refer to a mimosa either, which is a blend of orange juice and sparkling wine. Orange wine is entirely different. It is a type of white wine that is made by leaving grape seeds and skins in the mix, creating a drink that is deep orange in colour.

What is it?

First, you take mashed up white grapes and put them in a large cement or ceramic vessel. The grapes are then set to ferment for four days or even more than a year with the seeds and skins still attached. It is an entirely natural process that uses little to no additive – not even yeast sometimes. It tends to taste different from standard white wines because of this process with a sour taste and nutty flavour from oxidation. The term orange wine was first coined by David Harvey, a British wine importer. He initially described it as a non-interventionist style of white winemaking. There is also an Italian Pinot Grigio made this way called Ramato, which means auburn in Italian.

What does it taste like?

There are several notes orange wine can take on, but it is typically described as bold and robust. You will notice aromas of sweet jackfruit, hazelnut, Brazil nut, dried orange rind, bruised apple, juniper, sourdough, wood varnish, and linseed oil. It will taste big, dry, have tannin similar to red wine, and sour like a fruit beer. It can taste surprisingly intense when you first try it.

Food Pairings

Orange wine is bold and, so, it pairs well with equally bold dishes like Moroccan, Ethiopian, Korean, Japanese, and Indian cuisine. Try it with fermented kimchi (bibimbap), fermented soybeans (Natto), Injera (a sponge-like pancake), or curries. There are a variety of meats orange wine pairs well with from fish to beef because of its tannin, bitterness, and nutty tartness.

Where is it from?

The orange winemaking process is quite old, dating back 5,000 years in modern-day Georgia (the country). Back then, orange wine was fermented in large vessels called Qvevri, closed with stones, and sealed with beeswax. The ancient process resurfaced about two decades ago and had become modernized since. It is still quite rare to come across orange wine, but several countries have grown more interest in this style.

Most orange wine is found in northeastern Italy along its border with Slovenia, which also produces it as well. There are also orange winemakers in Georgia, Austria, France, Australia, South Africa, Canada, and the United States.

Stop by Seven Degrees to try an orange wine from Canada. We have an Amber Pinot Gris from Sperling Vineyards made in Okanagan Valley. It is certified organic with no added sulphites. You will notice aromas of earl gray tea, stone fruits, and jasmine with a fresh, dry finish. Our wine connoisseurs can help narrow down our vast selection of wine, beer, and spirits to suit your particular palate.

Tips on how to Pair Wine with Christmas Dinner

With all of the things to consider for the holiday season, let this guide take care of your Christmas dinner wine pairings. It can be difficult trying to figure out which type of wines to choose for the evening with all of the different side dishes you have and their unique flavours. Traditionally, people will pick one red, one white, and perhaps one rose. You do not have to adhere to this rule if your guests lean more to one type over another, but having all three might make it easier to ensure everything has a pairing. Here are some recommendations for common Christmas dinner recipes.

To start off

You should keep your Christmas appetizers and starting drinks light. Make sure your guests have plenty of room for the main event and that they are still able to hold their utensils properly by the time it is served. Save the 15% alcohol by volume (AVB) red for later in the evening.

Smoked salmon canapes – A bubbly or Chenin Blanc

Pick something relatively dry and lower in AVB for this appetizer. A Chenin Blanc or Gewurztraminer works best, though Champagne or Cremant compliments smoked salmon as well.

Pigs in a blanket – Sparkling Rose

This wine will cut through the richness of the buttery dough and also play up the smoky-sweet pork in the middle.

Mains

The star of the show is usually different types of meat, but vegetarian and vegan mains are becoming more popular as well. This includes a little bit of everything.

Prime rib – Bordeaux

Something as bold as prime rib should be paired with an equally bold wine. A Cabernet Sauvignon from California will do but, if you really want to step it up for the holidays, a Bordeaux is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Spiral ham – Zinfandel

This dish can be tricky to pair since it can be both salty and sweet. Cut through the fatty sweetness of ham by pairing it with a Zinfandel or Lambrusco. These wines will also have an adequate fruit flavour to them as well.

Roast goose – Red Burgundy

This decadent dish deserves an indulgent wine like a nice red Burgundy. Goose is not as common of a Christmas dish in North America as it is in Britain and Germany, but those that make consider the effort that goes into making it worth it. Goose is notorious for having a lot of fat, but if it is prepared carefully, it can be juicy and delicious. In Germany, they even use it like butter and spread the fat on bread.

Turkey – Pinot Noir

This classic main is light tasting and should be paired with a light wine. A Pinot Noir’s fruity notes and earthy undertones go well with most side dishes as well.

Spinach and gruyere souffle – Gamay

Vegetarians no longer need to be left with just a few side dishes. This main is light and rich at the same time, making a Gamay its perfect pairing. Both omnivores and herbivores will enjoy it alike.

Twice baked butternut squash with cashew cheese and cranberries – Riesling

There are a lot of flavours and textures at play in this vegan main. Butternut squash is both a bit fruity and a bit sweet, making a dry Riesling an excellent choice to balance it out.

Sides

Secretly, or not so secretly, most people look forward to holiday dinner sides. There is something so satisfying about creamy mashed potatoes and bacon garnished greens. If your main dish is paired better with a red, then it could be worthwhile to pair your sides with a complimentary white. Sweet sides pair better with dry wines like a Chardonnay, while savoury sides go best with a medium-bodied red like a Merlot. Having different types of wine makes it easy to find a match for all of your dishes.

For a customized wine menu for your holiday dinner, talk to one of our connaisseurs at Seven Degrees. We can help you pair any food with our wide selection of wines.

 

 

Health Benefits of Beer

It might seem crazy to think that beer can actually make you healthier, but there’s growing evidence to confirm just as much. The key to obtaining the health benefits of beer is through moderation, meaning drinking around one or two glasses a day. However, don’t go thinking that binge drinking will lead to healthy kidneys and a higher IQ. It doesn’t work like that, which is why we’re here to tell you substantiated health benefits that come with drinking, or cooking with, beer.

Nutritional Value

While beer is 90% water, that remaining 10% is packed with a number of nutrients our body needs to keep functioning, including fibre and trace amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and more. Beer contains more protein and vitamin B than wine and its unique antioxidants come from the malts and hops used in brewing. The amount of antioxidants present is the same as those found in wine but they’re of a different composition due to varying ingredients. Beer also contains probiotics that aid in increasing the good bacteria in your gut for a healthier digestive system.

Boosts Bone Health

One of the few dietary sources for silicon is found in beer and is important regarding the growth and development of bone and its connective tissue. One study showed that moderate drinkers were 38% less likely to have osteoporosis compared to non-drinkers, while another revealed that moderate drinkers were 20% less likely to fracture their hip.

Reduces the Risk of Diabetes

It’s the belief through the amount of research done, that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is reduced by 30% with a healthy intake of beer. A Dutch study looked at 38,000 male health professionals and determined that, over the course of moderate drinking for four years, they were less likely to develop diabetes. Similarly, a Danish study concluded that the moderate consumption of alcohol over three to four days is associated with a lower risk of diabetes.

Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Studies have found that men who’d already suffered heart attacks before becoming moderate beer drinkers had a 42% lower chance of developing further heart disease or dying than non-drinkers. One 500ml glass that’s about 5% alcohol is what researchers recommend drinking per day to gain these benefits. Another study done by the American Heart Association in 2016 followed 80,000 people over six years. They determined that moderate drinking slowly declined cholesterol levels which, in turn, lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Aids with Mental Health Issues

One reason many people drink beer, or alcohol in general, is to reduce stress and tension in the body. But beer also affects the brain, boosting creativity and, according to researchers at Loyola University, moderate drinkers were 23% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s and dementia than non-drinkers. Light to moderate drinking from 50 years of age and on was associated with a slower decline in cognitive abilities than heavy and non-drinkers, according to multiple Parkinson’s disease studies. These results are connected with the improvement of blood flow to the brain from the rise of good cholesterol.

At Seven Degrees in Edmonton, Alberta, shop our extensive collection of wine and craft beer to your heart’s content. Our liquor store’s number one goal has always been to bring you high-quality wines, craft beers and spirits at a great price. Our experts have the knowledge and experience to help you find the perfect beverage for any occasion. So stop by today and try a sample or two of select products.

Wine Etiquette

If you are inexperienced with wine or don’t know all of the “rules” that go along with it, you may feel a bit uneasy going to a fancy restaurant or dinner party where you know wine will be served. Wine is the perfect adult beverage to drink when you are gathered around some food surrounded by the people you love, or to have while you relax after a long day. Unlike with most beer or spirits, it is good to have some basic knowledge about wine, especially if you are giving it as a gift to the host or hostess.

Selecting your Wine

If you are going to a dinner party and thinking of bringing a bottle of wine as a gift, you will more than likely select one of two wine options: white or red. Although you can’t really go wrong with your choice as the receiver will be grateful for your gift, if you really want to make a great impression, ask what will be served for dinner.

The general rule that everybody seems to agree upon is white wine goes great with pork, chicken, and fish, while red wine pairs perfectly with beef. This can be a great conversation starter if you don’t know the host that well. If you don’t know what will be served primarily, you can always just bring your favourite bottle to share or bring one bottle of each, we are sure the hosts won’t mind!

How to Pour Wine

If you have been given the task of opening and pouring the wine at your dinner party, here is a quick guide on how to do it properly. The first step is to remove any foil that is over the head of the bottle. The second step is to use a corkscrew to remove the cork. Lastly, pour about four ounces of wine into each glass. Wipe the bottle clean so no remnants spill onto the table.

How to Choose a Bottle of Wine at a Restaurant

If you are going to a fancy restaurant for a date and want to impress your significant other, you don’t want to go in blind when ordering wine. You don’t have to follow the above rules if it’s just the two of you, you can just go with what their preference is. What you will want to be aware of is the process of ordering wine. Depending on the restaurant, the server will bring over the bottle you chose and show you the label. Simply nod if they brought the right bottle. Some restaurants will give you a sample of the wine after they open it. If you like it, nod your head, if not shake your head.

Buy your Wine at Seven Degrees

If you need any help selecting wine for your next dinner party, you can trust the pros at Edmonton’s favourite wine store, Seven Degrees. Chris, your sommelier, will be happy to help you choose the perfect wine that will impress everybody you will be serving!