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Wine and Cheese

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By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Gin is a neutral spirit like vodka, which has been flavored with a range of botanicals, then redistilled.

Botanicals are parts of plants and include roots, stems, barks, leaves, flowers, berries, fruit, beans, seeds, pits, stems, skins, and so on. There are well over 100 botanicals that distillers worldwide use, and most are a proprietary mixture of a few or many.

There are a few botanicals, however, that most gin distillers use (juniper the most prevalent) and have for decades. They are lemon, orange, coriander, cassia bark, cardamom, angelica, cinnamon, orris root, and licorice.

Technically, gin which is made from a base of alcohol and flavored with botanicals could be called a liqueur if it were sweetened.

Most gin is not aged, and U.S. federal regulations do not permit age claims, distillation date, or vintage date. Gin is stored in containers of stainless steel, porcelain, concrete, glass, paraffin, or any other neutral material, although some distillers are barrel aging gin for varying amounts of time.

Gin is made in many countries especially England, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland, and the United States.

Some popular types of gin are:

London Dry Gin. A generic name for gin lacking sweetness. Although originally produced only in or near London in the early 1830s, are now produced all over the world with the term having little meaning. London Dry Gin is also known as British Gin, English Gin, and Dry Gin.

Plymouth Gin. A gin produced by the Coates firm of Plymouth, England, which was founded in 1793. Plymouth gin was originally associated with the British Royal Navy, who invented this gin as a tolerable way of drinking bitters (quinine), which helped control intestinal disorders. They often mixed it with lime juice; hence the nickname limey, which is frequently applied to the British.

Genever. A gin produced primarily in Holland from a low-proof, distilled malt spirit, which is redistilled with juniper and other botanicals resulting in a heavier body than the dry gins produced in the United States and England.

Sloe Gin. It is not a gin, but a red liqueur made from sloe (little blackberries berries) that grow in bluish-black bunches on blackthorn trees, which gives it a rather tart plum flavor.

Some brands of gin to try are Aviation, Beefeater, Bols, Bombay, Bull Dog, Citadelle, Gordon’s, Hendrick’s, Junipero, Plymouth, Tanqueray, The Botanist, and Vincent Van Gogh.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected]

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By Bob Lipinski

Vermouth is a wine that has been infused with various herbs and spices, sweetened with sugar and fortified with a slight amount of alcohol. For a red vermouth, caramel coloring is added to the wine.

The name “vermouth” is from the German word wermut for wormwood (a bitter herb), an integral ingredient in the drink that has been used over its history. When the Latin countries emerged as the chief producers of this type of wine in the eighteenth century, the word wermut was written as vermouth.

How Vermouth Is Made

There are many types of vermouths, so the exact production method varies from brand to brand. The wine is lightly fortified with brandy or other distilled spirits. Each winery adds a proprietary mixture of dry ingredients, consisting of aromatic herbs, roots, and barks.

 After the wine is fortified and aromatized, the vermouth is sweetened with either cane sugar or caramelized sugar, depending on the style. Wineries let the mixture rest for various amounts of time, before it is filtered and bottled. The above process has similarities to making tea. In vermouth-making, the herbs are “infused” or steeped in alcohol instead of boiling water.

Some ingredients used (there are over 100) are allspice, angelica, angostura, anise, bitter almond, bitter orange, celery, chamomile, cinnamon, clove, coriander, fennel, gentian, ginger, marjoram, myrtle, nutmeg, peach, quinine, rhubarb, rosemary, saffron, sage, sandalwood, savory, thyme, and vanilla.

Vermouth contains between 15 and 21 percent alcohol. It can be red, white, or rosé in color, and be dry, semidry, or sweet. The sweet vermouths, mostly red and a few whites, contain about 10 to 15 percent sugar. The dry vermouths contain less than 4 percent sugar.

Many countries make vermouth or a vermouth-type wine. The leading countries in production are Italy, France, U.S. Spain, Germany, Argentina, United Kingdom, and Australia.

Serving

When a bottle of vermouth (red or white, dry or sweet) is opened, it should be refrigerated and consumed within six weeks. After six weeks, the sweet and especially the dry vermouth takes on a darker color and has a somewhat musty, “off” odor.

Vermouth can be enjoyed chilled “straight up;” over ice with a twist of lemon or orange; or even with a splash of seltzer water. A drink called a “blonde and a redhead” is made with equal parts of dry white and sweet red vermouth. The wine is so versatile that it can be used in marinades, sauces, broths, and by most cooking methods, from steaming to grilling.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected]

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By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Parmigiano-Reggiano is one of the most popular cheeses on the planet, with a rich history that dates to 1200, recorded on a notarized deed in Genoa. Parmigiano is made in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, and Modena, in the northeast region of Emilia-Romagna, famous for its Balsamic Vinegar, Mortadella, and Prosciutto di Parma.

Although this “king of Italian cheese” is often referred to as “parmesan,” in 2008 the European Court of Justice ruled that the word “Parmesan” could not be used as a generic term to include Parmigiano-Reggiano. However, parmesan continues to be used as a substitute name for Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Parmigiano is made from cow’s milk and the leftover whey is fed to the pigs used for Prosciutto di Parma. After a minimum of 12 months of aging, cheesemakers determine if the wheel-shaped cheese should be sold or continued to be aged for 24, 36, 40 months or longer. The rind of these gigantic wheels of cheese is embossed all over in a repeating pattern with its name in pin dots and the identification number of the production dairy, the year and month of production.

Parmigiano has a straw-yellow exterior, an inedible golden yellow rind with an oily sheen and a straw-yellow interior comprised of tiny, pale-gold crystals. The cheese is hard, granular, and flaky depending on its age. The longer the cheese ages, the more “crunch” to enjoy. It has a complex, mellow flavor — nutty, buttery, and salty in taste — with a  granular smoothness and intense flavor. Parmigiano can be eaten in bite-size chunks when young. When old it is suitable for grating. While other cheeses get sharper as they age, Parmigiano-Reggiano becomes mellower.

When buying the cheese, examine it carefully. It should be a uniform moist but pale amber color with no signs of dryness, white patches or a white rim next to the rind.

To enjoy Parmigiano, take a thin velvety slice of Prosciutto di Parma and put a small piece of Parmigiano in the middle. Drizzle a couple of drops of Balsamic vinegar, then wrap the prosciutto around the cheese and pop it into your mouth.

Parmigiano should be stored in a tight layer of plastic wrap. Every time you use the cheese, use a fresh piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Some recommended Italian wines to serve with Parmigiano include Red: Amarone della Valpolicella, Barbera, Bardolino, Dolcetto, Grignolino, Lambrusco, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Nebbiolo, Primitivo, Sangiovese, Valpolicella; White: Cortese, Fiano, Friulano, Orvieto, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Verdicchio; Other: dry Marsala, Moscato d’Asti, and Vin Santo.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected]

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By Bob Lipinski

Earlier in the month I attended a special “preview” tasting of the 2018 Burgundies imported by Frederick Wildman. Both the reds and whites were showing very well with considerable fruit, acidity, structure, balance and drinkability. Many of the bigger wines (mostly reds) will be bottled in May, June or perhaps later in the year.

Overall, Chablis (chardonnay) had considerable body, zippy acidity and tropical fruit flavors. The whites from further south in the Côte d’Or were crisp, densely flavorful with considerable fruit and not oaky. The reds (pinot noir) were deeply colored, supple with good body and displayed red berries (raspberry) and plenty of acidity.

There were over two dozen wineries offering a taste of their prized 2018 wines and I tasted through most of them. However, space does not permit me to list all the wines tasted with comprehensive notes. So, under the name of the winery are the wines I tasted and highly recommend:

Domaine Christian Moreau

Chablis 1er Cru “Vaillons” 

Chablis “Grand Cru Vaudésir” 

J.J. Vincent Selections

Crémant de Bourgogne

Pouilly-Fuissé “Marie-Antoinette”

Château Fuissé

Pouilly-Fuissé “Tête de Cuvée”

Pouilly-Fuissé “Les Combettes”

Pouilly-Fuissé “Les Brûlés”

Domaine Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier

Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru “Clos de 

   la Maréchale”

Domaine Lignier-Michelot

Bourgogne Rouge

Chambolle-Musigny “Vieilles Vignes”

Morey-Saint-Denis “En la Rue de Vergy”

Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru “Les Chenevery”

Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru “Les Faconnières”

Clos de la Roche “Grand Cru”

Domaine Sylvain Cathiard

Vosne-Romanée

Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru “Aux Malconsorts”

Nuits Saint-Georges 1er Cru “Les Murgers”

Nuits Saint-Georges 1er Cru “Aux Thorey”

Domaine Jean-Luc & Eric Burguet

Chambolle-Musigny “Les Echézeaux”

Gevrey-Chambertin “Symphonie”

Gevrey-Chambertin “Mes Favorites Vieilles Vignes”

Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Les Champeaux”

Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru “Les Rouges du Dessus”

Chambertin Clos de Bèze “Grand Cru”

Domaine du Comte Armand

Auxey-Duresses

Volnay

Volnay 1er Cru “Frémiets”

Domaine Jacques Prieur

Clos Vougeot “Grand Cru”

Olivier Leflaive Frères

Bourgogne Blanc “Les Sétilles”

Montagny 1er Cru “Bonneveaux”

Domaine Humbert Frères

Fixin “Vieilles Vignes”

Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Lavaux Saint-Jacques”

Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Poissenot”

Charmes Chambertin “Grand Cru”

Domaine Armand Rousseau

Gevrey-Chambertin

Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Lavaux 

   Saint-Jacques”

Clos de la Roche “Grand Cru”

Chambertin “Grand Cru”

Stéphane Aviron

Beaujolais-Villages

Domaine Dominique Gruhier

Crémant de Bourgogne “Extra Brut”

Bourgogne Epineuil “Côte de Grisey”

Although the wines are showing well in their youth, many of them will improve with several or more years in your cellar.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected]

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By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Champagne is a region in France about 90 miles northeast of Paris. Sparkling wines made there using the méthode champenoise (Champagne method) are called Champagne. 

Sparkling wines made in other regions of France regardless of how good they are cannot be called Champagne; they are known as crémant and vin mousseux (sparkling wine).

I attended a Wine Media Guild seminar/tasting of French Champagne (prestige cuvées) in December and here are my tasting notes.

NV G.H. Mumm “Blanc de Blancs” Hints of celery, bread dough and brioche. Crisp and clean.

NV Valentin Leflaive “Blanc de Blancs (extra brut)” Very dry with nuances of green apple, lime, violets and toasted bread.

Collet Collecion Privée” 2006 Hints of toasted bread, biscuits; full-flavored and delicious.

Boizel “Joyau de France” 2000 Fruity with flavors of peach and hazelnut; good finish.

Perrier-Jouët “Belle Epoque” 2012 Pear and green apple along with a nutty aftertaste.

Alfred Gratien “Cuvée Paradis” 2009 Hints of cider, red apple and baked bread. Well-balanced.

NV Delamotte “Blanc de Blancs” Light and crisp with citrus and chamomile flavors. Aftertaste of pears.

Piper-Heidsieck “Rare” 2006 Green apple, citrus and nuts. Lingering aftertaste.

Henriot “Cuvée Hemera” 2005 Darker color with overtones of brioche, pear and apple tart.

Palmer & Co. “Brut” (served in magnum) 2003 Granny Smith apple, citrus, curry and full of flavor.

Taittinger “Comtes de Champagne” 2007 Crisp, clean tasting with considerable bubble; plenty of fruit.

Dom Ruinart “Blanc de Blancs” (served in magnum) 2004 Elegant with full chardonnay flavor; crisp, with a lasting finish.

Moët & Chandon “Dom Pérignon Rosé” 2006 Delicate and floral bouquet with overtones of black currants; persistent finish.

NV Laurent-Perrier “Grand Siècle” Honeyed, nutty aromas with hints of almonds and freshly baked brioche.

Charles Heidsieck “Blanc des Millènaires” 2004 Very dry; lively with citrus and brioche. Creamy aftertaste.

Pol Roger “Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill” 2006 Overtones of citrus, toasted brioche, pear and licorice.

Louis Roederer “Cristal” 2008 Citrusy bouquet with overtones of waffles, red apple and pears.

Veuve Clicquot “La Grande Dame” 2008 Crisp, medium-bodied, elegant, floral and honeyed bouquet.

Bollinger “Grande Année” 2008 Apple tart, brioche, butter and nutty overtones. Long aftertaste.

NV Krug “Grande Cuvée 168th edition” Toasted bread, full-bodied, ginger, spices and a long and pleasing aftertaste.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected]

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By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

With just over 275 wineries within seven grape-growing areas, Virginia ranks fifth in the nation for wine grape production.

The first recorded wine production in the United States took place in Virginia soon after the British established a colony there in 1607. However, it wasn’t until 1807, when Thomas Jefferson planted grapes of European descent on his Monticello estate that the industry began. Sadly, Jefferson’s experiment failed because of rot and phylloxera (small root insects).

For a while Virginia was the most important grape-growing state, but Prohibition annihilated the flourishing industry and only in the beginning of the 1970s did local producers make wine again.

At a private tasting/seminar there were over 20 wines to taste and evaluate. Overall, the wines very good with a few excellent ones. Space prevents me from providing tasting notes on all the wines. Here are some highlights:

2017 Barboursville Vineyards Vermentino Reserve: Aroma and flavor of apples, pear, citrus and hazelnuts. Tastes likes it’s from Liguria, Italy.

2010 Barboursville Vineyards Octagon: A blend of merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot; dark colored with a powerful, concentrated flavor of blackberry, black currants and cedar; hints of vanilla and smoke.

2017 Linden Vineyards Boisseau Viognier: Light-bodied with a full bouquet of melon, lime, lychee and bitter orange.

2017 Glen Manor Vineyards Petit Manseng: The perfume of orange abounds along with melon, tropical fruit, nutmeg and citrus.

2018 Williamsburg Winery Petit Manseng: Tropical notes of papaya, pineapple and mango with an aftertaste of cinnamon and peaches.

2017 Veritas Vineyard Cabernet Franc Reserve: Enormous wine with black fruit, blueberry, bittersweet chocolate and smoky oak.

2016 Michael Shaps Wineworks Tannat: Flavor of blackberry, black raspberry, cherry, espresso and brown spices. A huge wine that will age another decade.

2016 King Family Vineyards Mountain Plains: A blend of merlot, cabernet franc and, petit verdot; full flavor of dark berries, fig, prunes, blueberry and toasted almonds.

2015 Boxwood Estate Winery Reserve: A blend of cabernet franc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot; closed nose but rich flavors of blackberry, black tea, licorice, spicy vanilla and hazelnuts.

2012 Paradise Spring Vineyards PVT (blend of petit verdot, tannat): I enjoy the flavor of petit verdot and tannat but have never tasted them blended together. Almost black-colored and tannic with flavors of black cherry, blueberry, mint, plums and sage. Worth searching out!

2017 Early Mountain Vineyards Eluvium: A blend of merlot, petit verdot and cabernet sauvignon; elegant, perfumed, dark fruit, plums, jam, anise and smoky oak.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected]

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By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Italy is one vast vineyard, stretching from Piedmont in the north to Sicily in the south. It is divided into 20 grape-growing regions and over 8,100 villages. There are over 2,000 varieties of Italian wines and more than 1,000 different grape varieties.

At a recent private luncheon and tasting, I sampled over a dozen Italian wines while speaking with the winemakers and representatives.

The KIN Winery from Piedmont makes only one wine:

2015 Erbaluce di Caluso. Flavor of green apple, pear, citrus, figs, almonds and wildflowers. Stellar!

Wines from Tenuta Cavalier Pepe Winery of Irpinia, Campania were:

2018 Vela Veneto Vulcano Rosato. 100% Aglianico grapes. Floral and off-dry with strawberry and red cherry flavor.

2016 “Grancare” Greco di Tufo. Green apple, toasted almond, citrus and melon; young and vibrant.

2017 Falanghina. Drier than most with a fruity aroma of apple, banana and peach. Lingering aftertaste of citrus and minerals.

Wines from Cerulli Spinozzi Winery of Abruzzo were:

2018 Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Superiore. Blush-colored, made from Montepulciano grapes. Flavors of watermelon, strawberry and bitter orange.

2018 Pecorino Colli Aprutini. Green olive and brine, brioche and green figs with a bitter almond aftertaste.

2010 Torre Migliori Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Deeply colored and full-bodied with flavors of dark chocolate, black plums and spices. Wow! What a wine.

Wines from Corte Quiaira Winery of Veneto were:

2018 Corte Pinot Grigio Ramato. “Ramato” means copper-colored because of skin-contact which provides considerable flavor of tangerine, nectarine, citrus and hazelnuts.

2016 “Campo al Salice” Garganega. Flavors of almonds, apples, honeydew and pears. Long, lingering aftertaste.

2013 Monte delle Saette Goldtraminer. Goldtraminer is a white grape variety made from a cross of Gewürztraminer and Trebbiano Toscano. Clean and crisp with hints of honey, jasmine and marzipan. It has the illusion of sweetness, but it is dry.

2016 Pinot Noir. Huge red and black-berried bouquet with spices, oak and a touch of vanilla.

Wines from Giusti Winery of Veneto were:

2018 Chardonnay delle Venezie. Clean and crisp, reminds me a very good premier cru Chablis.

NV (nonvintage) Rosalia Prosecco. Extra-dry. 100 percent Glera grapes. Fruity and easy to drink.

NV (nonvintage) Spumante Rosé. Blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and Recantina grapes. Bouquet of peaches, strawberry and pomegranate. Dry and very refreshing.

2016 Valpolicella Ripasso. Bouquet and flavor of black cherries, figs, raisins and spices with a bitter aftertaste. In a word … delicious!

2014 Amarone della Valpolicella. Lush, spicy bouquet, almost portlike. Complex flavor of dried fruit, chestnuts and cherry. Aftertaste is slightly bitter and quite dry. A rustic Amarone at its best!

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected]

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By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Sweet wines are meant for after-dinner consumption, right? Well, yes, and no. There are some sweet and some not so, that are served before and even during dinner. In France a sweet Sauternes wine is occasionally served with the main course and in Italy a chilled glass of sparkling Asti is perfect with light and mild appetizers.

Sweet wines can loosely be defined as wines having noticeable sugar, which is detected in the front of the mouth or tip of the tongue. Sweet wines can be relatively light in body compared to others that are fuller in the mouth with a syrupy rich, fat and lush taste with an almost oily texture. Although there is no legal definition for a sweet wine, it’s generally accepted that wines with over 2 percent sugar are considered sweet.

Sweet wines are made in every country and there are many methods used to make these delicious, luscious wines. The most common methods are:

Dried Grapes: Partially drying grapes after harvest; shriveling berries prior to fermentation. The drying can be in the sun on straw mats or in special rooms, which control humidity. Most European cultures maintain some tradition of partially drying grapes. Examples are Amarone della Valpolicella, vin santo, Sforzato di Valtellina and Valpolicella Ripasso.

Late-Harvested Grapes: Grapes left on the vine so natural dehydration concentrates sugars. Examples are Spätlese, Auslese and  wines labeled “late-harvest.”

Botrytis-Affected Grapes: In humid climates, grapes destined for sweet wines may be attacked by a beneficial mold, Botrytis cinerea, which dehydrates the grape and concentrates sugars. Examples are Barsac, Sauternes, Beerenauslese, Tokaji, Bonnezeaux, Cadillac, Monbazillac and Quarts de Chaume.

Frozen Grapes: Grapes are literally frozen, on or off the vine to decrease water content and increase sugar. Examples are Eiswein and ice wine.

Stopping Fermentation: Adding brandy to the grape juice, fermenting wine or postfermentation. Examples are port, sherry, Madeira, Marsala, Banyuls and Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise.

Foods that pair with sweet wines are almonds, pistachio, cannoli, cheesecake, chocolate, custards, dried fruits, panettone, pastries, pies, puddings, sorbet, tiramisu and zabaglione, to name but a few. You can even pour sweet wine over ice cream.

Sweet desserts need sweet wines, so choose a dessert that is not sweeter than the wine or the wine will taste dry, thin, bitter and less flavorful. Serve sweet wines cold but not overchilled to get the most flavor from them.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected]

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By Bob Lipinski

‘Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.’

Dave Barry

Bob Lipinski

India pale ale (IPA), although first brewed around 1760 in England, has seen somewhat of a resurgence among craft brewers beginning in the 1990s. Accounts of IPA’s origins vary, but most agree that in the late 1700s and early 1800s British brewers began adding extra hops to all beers bound for their troops serving in India and tropical climates to safeguard them from spoilage during long seafaring voyages. The hops also bestowed the beer with flavor, aroma and bitterness.

In 1829, an edition of the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser newspaper used the phrase “India pale ale,” reportedly its first mention in print. White Shield, first brewed by Worthington Brewery, is probably the example with the longest lineage, tracing to the strong Burton IPA, first brewed in 1829. As with many English beers with a long history, the popularity and formulation of IPA changed over time. Strength and popularity declined, and the style virtually disappeared in the second half of the 20th century. IPA was often used to describe pale ales and bitters of varying quality.

American-made IPAs from earlier eras were not unknown, particularly the well-regarded Ballantine’s India Pale Ale first produced in 1878 by P. Ballantine and Sons Brewing Co., a now-defunct New Jersey brewery. It was a dark-amber, very hoppy, oak-aged, bitter ale with hints of caramel and a fabulous aftertaste. (I remember drinking it with pizza from its quart-size bottles.)

Traditionally, IPA is a very bitter, moderately strong ale with a malty, hoppy aroma and taste. Nowadays, many IPAs are filled with floral notes and tropical fruit flavors of banana, papaya and pineapple. Still others have hints of orange, grapefruit, citrus, berry, melon, stone fruit, caramel, espresso, wood, pine and tangy black pepper.

I enjoy drinking various types of beer with food. I’ve found that a well-marbled steak, with its rich character, matches perfectly with the more traditional types of IPAs (sans fruit and other flavors). Also, hot sausage, black beans with their mealy character and a guacamole dip with salted chips work great.

IPAs pair well with Asiago, most blue cheeses, smoked or sharp cheddar, colby, feta or an aged Monterey Jack cheese.

Some recommended IPAs that should satisfy your thirst are:

Ballast Point Sculpin

Dogfish Head

Founders All Day IPA

Fuller’s

Lagunitas

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra

Stone

Worthington White Shield

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected]

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By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Rioja is the grape-growing region in the northeastern part of Spain in a 75-mile stretch of land along the Ebro River. It is close to the western Pyrenees, about 250 miles south of Bordeaux, France. Rioja takes its name from Rio Oja, a mountain stream that crosses Rioja and flows into the Ebro River, northeast of Madrid.

Rioja is divided into three viticultural subzones: Rioja Alta (southwest), Rioja Alavesa (northwest) and Rioja Oriental (formerly Rioja Baja) (southeast).

The region produces mostly red wines along with some rosé, dry and sweet white wines and sparkling wines. There are many indigenous and international grape varieties authorized to make Rioja wine. Red grapes include tempranillo, garnacha (grenache), mazuelo, graciano and maturana tinta. White grapes include viura, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, verdejo, malvasía, garnacha blanca, tempranillo blanco, maturana blanca and torrontés.

Some Rioja wines to try …

2018 El Coto “Blanco” (blend of viura, sauvignon blanc and verdejo grapes). Wondrous bouquet and flavor of peaches, honeydew melon, mint and candied lemon zest. Enjoy with seafood risotto containing shrimp or broiled white-fleshed fish topped with roasted red bell peppers.

2018 El Coto “Rosado” (rosé; blend of tempranillo and garnacha grapes). Bouquet and flavor of pink grapefruit, strawberries and red cherries; quite floral, fruity and zesty. Easy to drink, providing it’s not overchilled. Serve it with bow-tie pasta tossed with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, arugula and sun-dried tomatoes.

2015 Viña Pomal “Crianza” (100% tempranillo grapes). Aromatic, featuring black fruits and licorice with vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa and toasted wood notes. Great with some blackened fillet of beef or barbecued chicken served in a spicy, tangy, smoky sauce.

2013 Viña Pomal “Reserva” (100% tempranillo grapes). Intense aromas of vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg, with red fruit intermingled with tobacco and truffles. Try it with duck cooked in a sweet fruit sauce.

2018 Marqués de Cáceres “Satinela” (blend of viura and malvasia grapes). Bright yellow with a bouquet and taste of apricots, bananas, candy apples, honey, mango and peach. Off-dry with just a touch of citrus. Serve it with sweet and sour dishes, curries or a fruit platter.

The term “crianza” on a bottle of red Rioja wine means the wine was aged a minimum of 2 years, including at least 1 year in oak barrels, whereas the term “reserva” signifies it was aged a minimum of 3 years, including at least 1 year in oak barrels.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected]