By Maria McKinley   |   Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 9:02 pm   |   Leave a Comment »

It’s a simple question. Do you use soap/detergent to clean your wine/champagne glasses? Experts say no, as soap residue can distort the smell and taste of wine. It seems awkward not to wash glassware using hot soapy water or a run through the dishwasher with last night’s supper dishes. But according to Peter Svans of Living the Dream: What it’s Like to Own a Winery, there are a few easy steps to achieve clean wine glasses without a drop of soap.

“Keep them out of the dishwasher,” says Peter. There’s clinking and clanging in there and you’d be lucky not to chip or crack a bowl, not to mention the greasy mac’ and cheese residue from the bottom rack dishes. Using a rinse-aid product, according to Peter, will eventually leave a film and also distort the taste. These products work to break down surface tension on glassware, thereby eliminating water spots, but over time, can create cloudy glasses.

“Experts” agree hot water and air drying are the ideal methods for cleaning your barware. Restaurants have commercial glass washers but we can obtain the same results at home. Heat water to 180° F. Place a dish towel in the bottom of your kitchen sink, stopper in place. Set glassware on their sides in the sink and gently pour in the heated water just to cover. Most home hot water heaters are set to 120° F so this water will be scalding. Use caution. When cooled somewhat, gently roll the glassware, then remove and set upside down on the counter to dry. You can also use a microfiber tea towel to dry without leaving cloth fibers behind.

Some other tips: Hold tap water in used glassware that may sit out overnight. For red wine residue, use a dedicated baby bottle brush (less expensive than a glassware brush). Steam from a teapot will clean and freshen a wine glass bowl. Hold the glass by the base and at an angle to avoid burning your hand. Fabric softener products in your washer/dryer will leave a film on microfiber/drying cloths.

We’ve not talked about lipstick stains on wine glasses. An online conversation discusses this quandary. One blogger preferred that women continue to wear lipstick while another suggested that less than a drop of detergent could be used directly on the “dreaded” stain. Out, damned spot!

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By Allen Dale "Ole" Olson   |   Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 12:22 pm   |   Leave a Comment »

Yolande Coent-Margerit is patient as she tells me of the changes already made and yet to come at the 18th-century Chateau de Pommard. Her day is stuffed with Skype conferences and hurried reviews of marketing schemes and upcoming art shows and other events, but the 300,000 bottles of aging red wine are unaware of any of this deep down in the chateau cellars.

She pointed out a relatively new display just outside the entrance to the estate museum. Five large glass cylinders are stacked with soil strata taken from different parts of the  chateau’s 50 acres of vines. “This shows the effect of soil on the finished wine,” she explained.

The poet Ronsard said the wines of Pommard are “firm, deeply colored, bold and age well.” I wish he  could also have said they would be readily available in my part of the United States. King Louis XV and Victor Hugo may have favored Pommard wines, but I get few opportunities to try them because my outlets don’t carry them. It takes going  to Burgundy to assure me a glass of this silky, lingering Pinot  Noir.

Pommard, part of the world-class Cote-de-Beaune, takes its name from an ancient temple to Pomona, the goddess of fruits and gardens, and lies in the valley where the classic Grand Cru red wines give way to the equally Grand Cru white wines of Meursault and Montrachet.

Yolande said that while the chateau owners are commited to displaying fine art — two Americans, a painter and a sculptor,  will be featured in the gallery starting May 1 and the courtyard holds two large Salvidore Dali bronzes – everyone in the chateau is dedicated to the art of wine production.

The wines of Pommard certainly deserve their place in the ranks of those 15th-century Dukes of Burgundy who styled them as the “lords of the best wines in Christendom.”






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By Allen Dale "Ole" Olson   |   Friday, April 17, 2015 at 8:38 pm   |   Leave a Comment »

I have always been hospitable to our neighbors from Michigan (except on football weekends), so when my New Buffalo hosts invited me to a Berrien County winery specializing in dry wines, I went without hesitation.

We drove past blueberry farms and apple and apricot orchards just beginning to blossom when suddenly we approached vineyards, still naked from a harsh winter, bud break still a fortnight away. My hosts parked at the entrancxe to Domain Berrien Cellars on Lemon Creek Road near Berrien Springs just a few miles north of the Indiana Line.

The weather was uninviting, the fields were deserted, and life at the winery was calm. Winery manager Jennifer, however, seemed happy to see us. As manager of the estate, she was also able to tell us  what goes on at DomaineBerrien Cellars — and how complicated and unnecessary Indiana wine law has become and how grateful she is that Hoosiers put up with it  in order to get their wines.

She explainexd that estate president and wine maker Walter Mauerer III is passionate about fine wine, especially traditional wines intended to be enjoyed with food. In spite of two devasting winters back-to-back, the micro-climate which protects the domaine’s forty acres  helped preserve the vines and protect the Lake Michigan Shore American Viticutural Area.

Of the six wines she showed the four of us, five of them had no residual sugar,  so the Pinot Noir, Cabernet  Franc, Marsanne, and Dry Traminette were exactly what you would expexct of them in more kindly climes.

Wally Mauerer works with 21 different varietals  and has proved that fine wine can come from soils made famous by the weather announcers who coined the well known phrase “a liftle cooler by the lake.”

Headesd to Michigan for Sunday sales of wine? Include a stop at Domaine Berrien Cellars.


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