A Wine Lover's Weekly Guide To $10 Wines - An Alsatian (France) Sylvaner


For many years I have enjoyed and reviewed many wines from Alsace, France with their distinctively shaped bottles and sometimes, but not always, their distinctive taste. This is the first time in recent memory that I have found one for under $10. I want to clarify this price limit. I live in Ontario, Canada where wine prices are often somewhat higher than in many parts of the United States. Our dollar fluctuates and I don't want to cut off a wine because the Canadian dollar inched up a bit. So I specify about $10 when it's floating near the limit.

Alsace is a relatively small wine-producing region. Its wine growing area is a mere 60 miles (100 kilometers) long and at most 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) wide sitting on the German border to the east. Almost all its wine is white. While Sylvaner is fairly widely planted, it is not considered a fine grape in Alsace or elsewhere. For $10 did you expect to get a fine grape from an expensive region in an expensive wine producing country? However, this wine just might end up being a bargain.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Dopff and Irion Crystal d'Alsace Sylvaner 2007 11.9 % alcohol about $10

A General Look At Wine Manufacturing

Wine, the universally loved drink, is made by drying and fermenting certain fruits such as grapes and berries. Through fermentation, the sugar from within the fruit changes into alcohol. The type of fruit used to make the wine will heavily determine its color, taste and aroma.

There are mainly three categories of wine - fortified, sparkling, and table. One some occasions, a bit of brandy is added to enrich the alcohol. When this is done, the wine is dubbed "fortified" wine. When the CO2 in wine is of a significant level, making it fizzy, it is called "sparkling" wine. Champagne is an example of sparkling wine. The most distinct form or category of wine is called "table" wine. This is wine in its natural form.

How Wine Experts Rate & Review Wine Clubs

Wine clubs are quickly becoming one of the most popular enrollment and gift activities associated with the food and beverage industry. A wine club is not a "set in stone" arrangement and they are available in an enormous number of styles and options. There are clubs dedicated to California wines and there are those that focus entirely on Champagnes or Sparkling wines. The choices are almost limitless, but it is a good idea to investigate some of the wine club reviews before making a choice.

Wine, Cheese & Culinary Debauchery

© by Randy Caparoso

They say that cheesemaking goes back as long ago as 9000 BC, when animals were first domesticated for their milk. Milk is turned into cheese by an enzyme known as rennet, originally found in the lining of calves' stomachs. Seems some ancient dude decided to carry his milk in such a skin, checked it out a little later and I'll-be-a-bull-bucker, he "discovered" cheese.

Like cheese, wine is the product of a natural fermentation, and at which point in history the first wine and cheese parties were being held is anybody's guess. But we do know that like the great cheeses of the world, the great wines of the world became clearly identified with specific regions of origin quite some time ago. There is Stilton from England, Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy, Roquefort and …poisses de Bourgogne from France; just like there's Rioja from Spain, Chianti from Italy, and Bordeaux and Bourgogne from France. Hallelujah, pass the biscuits.

The relationship between wine and cheese, in this sense, is historical and sensory to the point of spirituality: you don't have to understand it to know it works. Certain wines are likely to taste better when consumed with the lush, solidified combination of milky sensations, acids, salt and amino acids of certain cheeses. Vice versa, the alcohol, acidity, sugar and tannin of certain wines not only helps the palate break down and digest the sensory components of certain cheeses, a well chosen wine can bring out distinctive, subtle flavors in a cheese otherwise not noticed without the wine.

Wine Cellars Come In Many Types and Sizes

Wine cellars come in many different shapes, sizes and styles. But without a doubt, if you are a wine aficionado, it has probably been one of your fondest wishes to own your own wine cellar where bottles of your favorite vintages are aging to perfection. If you are a true wine lover, nothing beats having your own collection of favorites ready to share with like-minded friends.

Wine cellars can be built for just about every budget and storage situation. You don't even have to have a dedicated spare room for the smaller versions that are simply a rack designed to hold a few bottles and have them on display. Depending on factors like budget, available space and one's interest level, wine cellars vary considerably and you will be able to find one quite suitable to your specific individual needs.

Let's start small with our discussion. The smaller variations that are available hold anywhere from one to two dozen bottles and they're sized just right to fit into a corner of a spare closet or to display in a room of your choice. Depending on how much space you have to work with (and your budget, of course), you might want to look at the larger storage systems. Storage space need not be a limitation to your dream if having a smaller stock on hand isn't a problem.