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Displaying Faq 1 - 10 of 23 in total
A. Sulphites are naturally produced in the form of Sulphur dioxide during the fermentation process, during the transition from juice to wine. However, often their quantity is low so sulphites are artificially added as additives because of their antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Sulphites preserve the wine during the winemaking process.

Sulphites are without a doubt essential to wine making and occur naturally in wine, the problem is with added sulphites. Unfortunately, the lower the quality of the wine, the higher the amount of sulphites added. Healthy grapes require very little added sulphites.

Generally speaking, red wine has the lowest level of sulphites as well as wine made from organic grapes. White wine on the other hand, requires a higher level of sulphites as it is more delicate. From an health perspective, sulphites are classified as allergens. And an excessive consumption of sulphites can give headaches, sneezing, coughing, rashes up to breathing difficulties in anyone with asthma or hyper-sensitivity.
A. European law classifies sparkling wines according to the residual sugar, that is the amount of sugar added after the secondary fermentation has taken place.

If the amount of sugar is less than 3 grams/litre, the sparkling wine is called Pas Dosè, Zero Dosage or Brut Nature. In these wines after the disgorgement (the removal of sediments from the bottle), more wine of the same type, not the liqueur d'expedition, is added.

The liqueur d’expédition is a sweet liquid, each winemaker has it own secret recipe, used to define the final level of sweetness in the finished sparkling wine. Immediately after disgorging, the wine is topped up, and a measured amount of a refined sugar mixture is added (also known as dosage). As the sugar already in the wine was consumed during the secondary fermentation, a sweet dosage is added to balance the high natural acidity, rather than to produce a sweet wine.

If the sugar is between 3 and 6 grams/litre, the wine is said to be “Extra brut”.

Between 6 and 12 grams/litre the wine is considered “Brut”, this category include most classic method sparkling wines.

Wines with between 12 and 17 grams/litre are considered “Extra dry” or “Extra sec”.

Between 17 and 32 grams/litre are called “Dry”, “Sec”, or “Asciutto”.

Between 32 and 50 grams/litre we find “demi-sec” or “Medium dry” wines.

Finally, if the sugar is more than 50 grams/litre, the wine is considered to be “Doux” or “Dolce”.

A. Italians love pasta and wine, but what are the rules when pairing pasta with wine? There are no strict rules, often pasta is paired with the local wine, red wine for tomato or meat based sauces, and white for the others. However, there are some general principle, lets look at them.

Egg based pasta, eg tagliatelle or pasta alla chitarra, they pair perfectly with sparkling wines such as prosecco or “vini mossi”, semi sparkling wines, whether red or white.
Oven baked pasta, eg lasagne or cannelloni, pair with medium bodied wine such as Sangiovese or Syrah.
Soups, it varies based on their ingredients, but generally are paired with medium bodied, low acidity white wines, sometime a red wine.
Filled pasta, such as tortellini or ravioli, with important, structured red or white wines, aged.
Tomato based sauces, again it depends on the ingredients, but generally pair well with delicate red wines such as Valpolicella or Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or white wines such as Soave and Pinot Bianco.
For fish based pasta, a lively white wines such as Verdicchio or for more richer dishes a rose’ wine
Lastly, for Pasta with vegetables, a smooth, delicate white wine.
A. There are no easy tips when choosing a wine from a restaurant's list. Best advice is talk to the sommelier or server and always taste the wine you are being offered. Only buy expensive wines, eg Barolo or Amarone, if you know the producer, if you dont, be careful, dont buy the name. When it looks to good to be true, it probably is, check with the sommelier why the price is so good.
House wine, could be either really good or really bad, ask to taste it, it wont be a problem since it is likely to be offered by the glass as well. For the bubbles, more than the actual wine, find out whether it is a classic method, similar to champagne, or Martinotti, prosecco type, sparkling wine, the first tend to be more expensive and is of better quality. Lastly, wine pairing or wine preference? It is your call, I guess it all depends on the food you will be eating, if it is a gourmet evening, top food, I would suggest to go for the pairing wine, it can open a new world, if a pizza or pasta or quick meal, it is entirely up to you, I would go with your favourite wine, whether it pair the food or not.
A. A Bordeaux red blend is a wine made with the classic Bordeaux grape varieties. In Italy, these tend to be Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot for wines made in the north, with the addition of Petit Verdot for wine made in Tuscany. The classic Bordeaux grapes also include Carmenere and Malbec. There is also a white Bordeaux blend but it is rarely used outside France.

When a wine is referred as to Bordeaux blend or cut, it refers to the grapes used, and not the actual style of the wine. Due to the wine making process, the terroir etc, the resulting wine will never be like a Bordeaux.
A. Yes they can.
Red wine is very often associated to a wine to be served at room temperature, very few wine drinkers actually know that red wine can be served chilled. Which wine can be chilled? There are literally hundreds, we list some of them below, get in touch if in need of advice, however, the general rule is that any fruity, light to medium bodied, without or with smooth tannins, red wine, can be chilled. Very tannic wines should not, on the other side, be chilled, the cold will intensify the tannins making the wine very unpleasant.
Lastly, when opening a chilled red wine, we may find that it has crystals. The wine is still fine, the crystals are due to the sudden drop of temperature.
Below some of the wines we stock that can be chilled:
Rossese di Dolceacqua
Lacrima di Morro d'Alba
A. Traditional or Classic or Champagne method is the method according to which the second fermentation takes place in the bottle, it is labour intense and requires longer, the fermentation period varies from a few months to years, the longer the better is the sparkling wine.
The Charmat or Martinotti method is the one according to which the second fermentation takes place in the tank. It require less labour shorter time, here the fermentation varies from a few days to a few months, the longer the fermentation the better the wine, hence Charmat method sparkling wines are cheaper than Traditional or Classic method wines but also very different.
A. Sparkling wines requires two fermentations, one to obtain still wine and the second to make it sparkling. Also, sparkling wines need grapes to be harvested early when acid level is still high and sugar levels are low.
Two are the main methods used, the Traditional Method (used for Champagne and Franciacorta ) and the Tank Method (used for Prosecco, etc).
The Traditional method, also called Méthode Champenoise or Metodo Classico, of which examples are Cava, Champagne, Crémant and Franciacorta, produces the best sparkling wines and is also the most costly in terms of labour and production costs. The second fermentation, from still to sparkling wine, takes place entirely inside the bottle and last between a few months to years, the longer the fermentation the better is the wine.
In the Tank Method, also known as Charmat Method, Metodo Martinotti or autoclave, used amongst the others, for the production of Prosecco, the second fermentation from still to sparkling wine takes place in the tank. It is less costly than the traditional method and produces sparkling wines of lower quality and it duration varies from a few days to a few months, the longer the fermentation the better the wine.
A. A wine is oxidized if it has been exposed to too much oxygen. This can happen during the winemaking process or after the wine has been bottled due to a faulty closure. How do I know if my wine is oxidized? If the wine has become darker, tending toward orange, for white wines or brown for red wines and has little aroma, it is likely to be oxidized and the wine is ruined, there is no way back.
There are certain wines and wine making processes that require some level of oxidation, examples are Sherry and Madeira.
A. Even if you can afford to buy a whole case or more for each wine you want to "age", and every year or so, open a bottle and taste it, it is very difficult to assess whether a wine is age worthy and when to drink it. I would say that four are the main elements to keep into consideration when purchasing a age worthy wine. The producer, the vintage, even if good producer in bad vintages do not make the wine and vintage charts do not exist for all regions, the wine itself (eg Barolo is made to be aged) and the grape/wine making process.
The producer, looking at their history and production, we immediately know whether their wines are made to be aged or not. The vintage, this is not just valid for the biggest wine regions, Bordeaux, Barolo, but there are plenty of great, age worthy wine from other regions for which there is no vintage chart, in this case we need to learn more about the producer. The wine itself, by simply entering the wine on google we learn about the wine, how it is made and whether it is made to age or not, lastly the grape/wine making process. There are grapes that are most suited to ageing then others, merlot for example won’t age unless barrel aged, cabernet sauvignon or nebbiolo on the other side are suited to ageing and by knowing the grape and whether the wine maker has used barrels in the wine making process, we will know whether the wine is age worthy or not, but remember, it is just a guess. If you want to learn more read this post
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