Curious Wine Blog

Small Sips #15: Wine Competitions

WOULD A SHINY GOLD MEDAL sway you in the wine aisle? Wineries think so; that's why the globe's most successful wine competitions - Decanter World Wine Awards, International Wine Challenge, International Wine & Spirit Competition - attract many thousands of entries each year.

‘Brix’ Chocolate for Wine

WHOEVER SAID "don't mix your pleasures" obviously hadn't tried the devilishly good combination of wine and luscious Brix chocolates, now available at Curious Wines. These seriously tasty chocs were developed specifically to complement wine by Dr.

Top 10 wine clichés

WE AT CURIOUS hate when lazy wine communicators fall back on these tired banalities while speaking or writing about their subject. Wine is the world’s most diverse and thought-provoking drink - how hard is it to come up with fresh, engaging ways of talking about it? Unbelievable! P. S.

Small Sips #11: Champagne

Okay, let’s be clear: sparkling wine can be any old fizz, but Champagne is always a particular sparkling wine made in a certain way and that can come only from the legally-delimited Champagne region of northern France. (Now, that should keep the Champagne lawyers happy.

Small Sips #10: Ageing Wine

ONE OF WINE’S ENDURING MYTHS is that all wines improve with time; in fact the overwhelming majority of wines sold today are best drunk within a year or two of harvest! The reason for ageing wine is to give time for harsh tannins or acidity to mellow, and to allow complex, ‘tertiary’ aromas ..

Small Sips #8: Malbec

MALBEC IS A DARK-SKINNED GRAPE that is most associated with the high-altitude (up to 3,000 metres!), desert vineyards of Argentina's Mendoza region. The variety is in fact originally from southwest France, where it is still widely cultivated today, especially in Cahors.

Recipe: Steak Tartare

STEAK TARTARE, a legendary French dish dating from the early 20th century, isn't for everyone but if you love steak and you're not squeamish about the whole 'raw meat' thing it can be pretty amazing, and not difficult to do.

Grape Focus: Sauvignon Blanc

SAUVIGNON BLANC, the world’s eight most-planted grape, hails originally from Bordeaux and the Loire but is today cultivated in every country that makes wine. Famous regions that specialise in it include Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Bordeaux, Casablanca (Chile), Friuli (Italy) and the Adelaide Hills.

Curious Small Sips #6: Crianza

CRIANZA is a general Spanish wine term relating to the maturation of a wine prior to its sale. But it also has a locally-defined meaning: in Rioja, for example, a red Crianza must legally spend at least one year in oak barrel (generally not new) plus a year in bottle.

Country Focus: Portugal

PORTUGAL IS A REFRESHINGLY EXOTIC ‘mainstream’ wine producer: hardly anyone has heard of its regions, with one notable exception; mention of its extensively-used native grapes – 200 are in use - prompts blank-faced head scratching in all but the most devoted oenophiles.

Recipe: Peri Peri Roast Chicken

PERI PERI ('pepper pepper') is a traditional Portuguese sauce that dates from the fifteenth century. Depending on how it's made it can be incendiary stuff, but if you're a bit wimpy you can tame the fiery heat by just skimping on the chillies and Tabasco.

Grape Focus: Grenache

GRENACHE, the world’s 7th most-planted grape, is an increasingly-fashionable Mediterranean variety that is grown extensively across the wine world's warmer spots, particularly either side of the Pyrenees and in South Australia.