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California wine is known and loved all over the world. However, what exactly is it that makes it so popular? The answer to that is probably that California wine comes in many different varieties but is consistently pleasing in flavor. There is literally something for everybody, flavor-wise and budget-wise, and you will not be disappointed by any of the results from the six wine regions of California.
There are plenty of vineyards and wineries in California wine country, each producing slightly different wines. These California wine regions are responsible for bringing us such delights as robust, meaty Cabernet Sauvignon, sweet and flavorful Riesling or any type of Chardonnay from the bold and dry to the light and fruity.
The range of quality wines to emerge from California wine country is both impressive and reassuring. When you pick up a bottle of California wine, you can be comfortable in the knowledge that it is a good wine, simply because there is too much competition from excellent wineries to allow anything less than good wine any share of the California wine market. Any vineyard or winery on the California wine regions map will be producing an excellent range of wines, to please almost any palate.
To find out more about different kinds of California wine, it is a good idea to discover more about the different California wine regions. It is fascinating to find out how the slightly different soil and climatic conditions in each area can produce different types of wines and which types of wine each California wine region is famous for varies.
The California Wine Guide is dedicated not only to the wines of California wine country but also the taste and flavors that make this region not only a top wine producing region in the world but also amongst the best places to sample food there is. From the restaurants of the Napa Valley and the dinning establishments of quaint Sonoma County but to the modern metropolitan taste of San Francisco.
This area has produced some of the finest chefs America has to offer and they love to show of the wonderful dishes they create around California wine country. Our site is dedicated to bringing you a selection of fine recipes that you will find in our wine recipes link on every page.
As this area is also one of the worlds premier wine producing regions in the world we bring you a selection of articles from our staff writers and guest writers alike that help tell the story of California wine and California wine country. If you enjoy our site please bookmark us and return the next time you are in the mood for some California wine or wine recipes.
Thank you for your support and we hope you enjoy our California Wine Guide website.
Thanks for visiting,
Christine and everyone here at California Wine Guide
With chicken, bacon, mushrooms, and red wine, this coq au vin chicken recipe is a classic dish, found on the menus of many top restaurants. If you want to recreate this deliciously rich stew type meal at home, the following recipe will give you the same mouthwateringly good results. Traditional coq au vin is made with a rooster from Bresse in France and a Burgundy wine.
The older the poultry is, the better your coq au vin will turn out. This coq au vin recipe is started the day before. If you want to cook it in one day, you will need to add ¼ cognac or brandy to the pan when you put the chicken and vegetables in the pan together. Ignite the cognac with a match and shake the pan. Then pour in the wine and follow the rest of the recipe.
1 rooster or 3 ½ lbs chicken, cut into at least 8 pieces
½ bottle of full bodied red wine (preferably Burgundy or Cotes du Rhone)
6 diced bacon slices
½ lb fresh button mushrooms
12 small white onions
2 peeled, quartered carrots
3 mashed cloves garlic
Herb bouquet - 1 bay leaf and 2 sprigs thyme tied together with string
¼ cup cognac or brandy (only required if making coq au vin in one day)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Clean and cut the rooster or chicken. Pour the red wine over it.
Add the white onions, carrots, and herbs.
Cover and refrigerate.
The next day, remove and drain the chicken and vegetables. Set the wine aside for later use.
Brown the chicken pieces in oil in a skillet and remove with a slotted spoon.
Add the vegetables and garlic to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes.
Put the chicken and vegetables in a large pan and add the wine, salt, and pepper. (Add the cognac before the wine if you are making this in one day, as explained above).
Bring to the boil over a medium heat. Cover and cook on a low heat for 1 or 2 hours.
Heat the onion, bacon, and mushrooms in a skillet until browned.
This will take about 10 minutes.
When the chicken is done, add the onion, bacon, and mushrooms to the pan.
Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 or 3 minutes.
Taste and correct the seasoning if necessary.
Add some parsley to the dish and serve immediately with potatoes or rice.
A Picture of a traditional French chicken casserole recipe for making fresh homemade French Coq Au Vin you can make with your ingredients and our traditional French chicken casserole recipe and is a favorite of many families. It features button mushrooms, bacon, shallots, and a red wine sauce, and is served with mashed potatoes. Nothing goes quite as well on a cool Autumn night’s dinner than hot homemade chicken casserole Coq Au Vin does. Accompanied by a refresh glass of wine and you have the makings for a wonderful and hearty family dinner.
California produces almost 90% of the wine made in the United States and has about 1,300 operating wineries. These wineries produce about 570,000 acres of grapes. Wine production is rated by glasses per acre or GPA. One acre of land should average 5 tons of grapes, which turns into 13.51 barrels of wine, which turns into 797 gallons of wine. This turns into 3,958 bottles of wine, or 15,940 glasses. All from a single acre!
Like all wine, California wine relies on the sugar content in the grapes. This sugar content is measured in Brix. The amount of Brix in the grapes indicates the alcohol content in the finished wine. For example, if all the sugars are fermented into alcohol, you can divide the Brix level in half to figure an estimate of the alcohol content. If the grapes contain 2 degrees of Brix, the wine will have a little more than 1% alcohol.
While California has many wine regions, the best known are the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Grape growing regions are known as Appellations. Some of these Appellations are further broken down into American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). Each AVA has unique growing conditions that affect the flavor of the grapes, including soil, climate, and altitude. Napa, for example, is an Appellation with several AVAs in it. Wines that carry the Napa designation must be made primarily from the grapes grown in that region.
When you talk about different types of wines, you are really talking about varietals. California produces many varietals of both red and white wine as well as blended and fortified wines. Some of the most popular white wine varietals include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, and Gewurtztraminer. There are also other lesser-known white varietals. The most popular red varietals grown in California include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Zinfandel.
Lesser-known red varietals are most often used in blended wines like Chablis, Bordeaux blend, and Meritage. White Zinfandel is made with red Zinfandel grapes but the skins are removed from the process shortly after pressing. Fortified wines like port and sherry are also made in California. The wine is fortified with a neutral grape alcohol partway through the fermentation process, which stops the fermentation while the wine is still sweet. It also increases the alcohol level by up to 20 percent.
California wines are popular for a few reasons. First, the climate and soil conditions are excellent for growing wine grapes. The flavors develop nicely with fruity overtones. Next, the wines in California have benefited from a generation of winemakers who really know their business.
Most of the winemakers in California spend time learning how to make great wine. From trellising the grape vines to fermentation, these winemakers are artisans. California wines have gone through quite a transition of the past fifty years. Wines from California used to imitate French wines with a long aging process and a heavy dose of tannins and acidity. Today, fruit-forward wines are more popular. These wines are sweeter and do not age as long.
California wineries also make the most of the tourist trade. Got a favorite wine? Go visit the winery and taste what has come off the vine. California wine country is beautiful at any time of year. Catering to tourists and wine aficionados has helped these wines become a part of Californian lore. Wine is now something you consider when you think about California.
Appetizers to Make with and Serve with Wine - Peruse our selection of appetizer recipes for some terrific dishes that will please your guests. Perfect for holidays, parties or for a special dinner, our appetizers combine the freshest ingredients with just the right wine to bring out a complex flavor you will not find any other way. Try these recipes and you will be hooked. Explore the various appetizers and see what tickles your palate or what might appeal to your guests. A little wine is great for adding lots of flavor without adding extra fat to your appetizers. Try some of these and see what you think. You will be back for more.
Matching Wine with Soup and How to Use Wine in Soup - Wine and soup? Yes, you can drink wine with your soup and you can even add wine to your soup. Some recipes call for it more than others, but why not add that extra flavor to your bowl of soup? A cheese soup just screams out for some wine to lend some alternative notes to it; otherwise it can turn out bland. Find all sorts of great recipes to try in this section. You may be surprised that you never thought of using wine to spice up some similar recipes. Make your soups sing with a good splash of wine by following some of our unique and delicious recipes.
Matching Salads with Wine - Yes, they used to tell you not to drink wine with salad. But it is not the rule anymore. As long as you pair the wine properly, you can drink wine with any type of salad you want. You can also use wine in the dressing for many different salads. Why not give it a try? You may be surprised what you can do to your salads with just a little glass of wine. That is wine's great talent; making the most of what you are eating. It does not matter if you are drinking it with the food or have added it to the food, wine makes the meal sing.
Cooking with Wine or Matching Wine to Your Meal - The main dish of any meal can be made better by being paired with the perfect wine or by adding a splash of the right wine. The flavors begin to dance in your mouth, revealing more depth and complexity than you may have ever guessed was there. Make cutlets, stuffed cabbage, or a simple casserole. They all benefit from a little wine in the mix. Take a look at our offerings and try a few of them out. You may be surprised how easy it is to cook with wine. Turn your entrees up a notch with a little splash of the grape.
Side Dish Recipes
Wine Sauces and Cooking Side Dishes with Wine - A little bit of wine can make your side dishes change from ho hum to extraordinary. Suddenly that cream sauce is a little richer; that tomato sauce has more depth. Do not let your side dishes languish in obscurity while your entrée is stealing the entire show. Like any good production, each dish should complement each other perfectly. Each bite should elicit words of praise, or at least utter silence while your guests are too busy eating to talk because they have to savor every morsel. Take a look at our side dishes and choose those that fit your meal perfectly.
Choosing the Right Wine for Dessert - Let your dessert shine. Serve it with the perfect sweet wine to complement it or make a delicious dessert that utilizes wine to bring out the richness of the recipe. Wine is a great complement to fruity desserts. It can also make an excellent cake. Try some of the recipes we offer here and judge it for yourself. You will be amazed at these delectable confections that will have everyone licking every crumb from their plates. Take a look at some of our selections and see if your mouths do not start watering.
Handy Wine Articles and Wine Cooking Tips - Do not worry if you have never used wine in recipes before. Let us introduce you to the wonderful world of the luxurious world of wine recipes. We will walk you through every step so you will end up knowing everything you need to know to make delicious wine recipes and pair the right wine to your dishes. Let our wine articles teach you all about cooking, choosing, and using that delicious bottle of wine with food. Before you know it, you will know all about choosing a proper wine at the store, preparing the meat and other dishes with it, how to make the most of your wine collecting and more...
Wine country recipes are foods that are made either with wine or pair up with wine. Many wineries put out their own recipes. If you like wine, it can pay off to collect some of these recipes. So, why should you go all out and make these dishes?
Wine often adds more depth of flavor to a dish. This makes eating a new adventure as your tongue discovers hidden nuances as you eat. Whether you are adding wine to the recipe or drinking it with your meal, you will find a whole new world of flavor.
These recipes make you feel like you are luxuriating with a five star meal at a fine restaurant. Even though you are eating healthy, the feeling of luxury makes you feel more satisfied with your meal. Nutrition. Wine country recipes tend to use fresh, seasonal ingredients that are full of nutrition, not processed foods with no value. Fresh vegetables and fruits offer more value than those found in a can.
Foods take on different aspects if you cook them with red wine rather than white wine and vice versa. That beef stew can seem complex with that white wine you added, but when you add the red, it blossoms into a rich eating experience that makes that simple stew more memorable.
The relationship between good food and a fine wine is complementary. The food can bring out delicious aspects of the wine and the wine can make the food seem brighter in flavor and texture. Learning what wines bring out the best in your recipe will keep your meals exciting and delicious, whether you are eating a simple chicken breast or a filet mignon.
Here is just a sampling of our delicious wine country recipes you'll find plenty more inside the site.
Creole Boiled Shrimp with Tomato Wine Recipe
Lobster Salad Recipe with a Lime and Basil Salsa
Pork Tenderloin and Rice Stir Fry with Green Peppers and Onion
California has always had the perfect growing conditions to make great wine but it has not always been a world famous wine producing area. From the eighteenth century right up until the twentieth century, the Spanish, missionary-planted Vitis Vinifera vines were responsible for producing religious sacrament wine and table wine. New wineries appeared during the gold rush period when the demand for wine increased.
Alcohol prohibition laws and the phylloxera epidemic were both major setbacks in California wine production, but the second half of the twentieth century saw the wineries getting back on their feet.
The highlight for California winemaking came in 1976, when California wines beat the best French Bordeaux and Burgundy wines in a Parisian blind tasting event. California's reputation as a premier wine producing region skyrocketed and attitudes to California wine changes, once people realized just how good it really was. The history of California wine assures us that Californian wineries have gone from strength to strength since that historic day
Learn More About Wine>> California Wine Country Mini Articles are spread through out the site get a list of articles at this link.
When making wine, the processes are usually growing, harvesting, crushing, and pressing, fermenting, aging, and finishing. The wine grapes become ripe between August and October so, as soon as the winemaker decides the grapes are ready, it is time to harvest them. Winemakers often separate the best grapes to make premium wines. Red and white wines are made in slightly different ways.
First of all, when making wine, the grapes are crushed and de-stemmed. Next, cultured yeast is usually added to the fermentation tank, to turn the sugars into carbon dioxide and alcohol. This process can be done twice with white wine, to encourage softness and buttery flavors.
After fermentation, some wines are barrel aged. Old or new barrels are used, depending on the desired flavor, and sometimes oak chips are added. When the wine is sufficiently aged, it is bottled and stored to age further, before being bottled and shipped. Some red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, continue to age in the bottle because of the tannin content. Knowing about the wine making process can increase your appreciation of California wine.
While you may have heard that pairing food and wine is a complex science, in reality, it does not have to be so much trouble. If you are having a simple food, try a more complex wine. Likewise, if you are having a complicated dish, try a simple wine. Using this technique, the wine, and food should complement each other rather than compete.
Do not do the concept of opposites if you are dealing with a light or heavy meal. If you have a light meal, choose a light wine. Likewise, if you are eating a heavy meal, complement it with something that can stand up to it.
If you are eating a delicate meal, choose a delicate wine. A bold, spicy wine would overpower a delicate meal, while a delicate wine would be lost if you were eating a spicy meal.
When choosing your accompanying wine, do you want to complement your meal or mirror flavors? A Riesling would be a complement to roasted pork, for instance, because the pork is dense and filling while the Riesling is crisp and fruity. A more robust red wine would be a better choice if you want to mirror some of the qualities of the pork.
If the main dish is salty, pair it with a sweeter wine to cut the salt. If you are serving a red meat that is high in fat and protein, pair it with a wine higher in tannins like a merlot or cabernet sauvignon. The tannins will cut the richness of the meat.
Oaky wines like chardonnay need a bridge to connect them to the meal like brown rice, toasted nuts, or sesame oil. Fruity wines go well with main dishes that incorporate fruit. For dessert, choose a wine that is sweeter than your dessert. There are lots of delicious sweet dessert wines to choose from.
You can use wine to replace water in a recipe, or add a couple of tablespoons of red wine into your brown gravy to create a rich tasting sauce.
To tenderize meats with wine, warm it first. Cold wine tends to toughen meat.
If you are using wine in a recipe, serve it with the meal as well. This will ensure that the wine balances with the meal. If you have a more expensive wine to serve at dinner, keep it in the same family as the wine you used in cooking.
Learn More About Wine and>> Wine Cooking Tips page and find Mini Articles spread through out the site.
If you have never gone to a wine tasting, there are a few basics you will want to know. You do not need to be a professional or a wine expert to enjoy wine tasting. Learn these basics and you will be all set.
For more advanced tasters, here are some more tips to increase your wine tasting skills. These tips build on your basic skills so you can make more detailed observations. Choose to taste wines vertically (the same wine with different vintages) or horizontally (different wines from the same vintage). Always taste the lighter wines before the heavier wines. White wines should be tasted before red wines and dry wines should be tasted before sweet wines.
Start by pouring the wine, as before. Now observe the wine. Tilt the glass away from you so you can see the range of color from the edge of the wine to the middle where the color is deepest. White wines get darker as they age; red wines lose their intense color and turn brick red or brownish. Look for clarity.
Swirl your wine gently to expand the surface area. This mixes oxygen into the wine and brings out its aromas. When you sniff at the top of your glass, breathe deeply. What do you smell? Flowers? Fruit? Wood? The aromas will give you an idea of what to expect when you taste it. Smelling the wine also gives you a heads up if the wine has turned before you taste. The scent of wine is referred to as its bouquet or nose.
Sip the wine. Rolling it over your tongue is known as chewing the wine. Breathing through your nose while you taste will combine aroma and flavor. Most people will swallow the wine, but if you are tasting several in the same evening, you may opt to spit the wine into a receptacle or another cup. Of course, now you get to discuss your findings. This is the whole point of the evening.
When you describe the wine, there is terminology that most wine fans will recognize. Is the wine acidic? Do you feel it has a nice balance between alcohol, sweetness, acid, and tannins? The body of the wine is the weight of the wine, or the intensity of the flavor. Is it bold or complex? Some wines are crisp. Did you like the finish of the wine?
Most people will spend time describing the notes in the wine. This could be spicy flavors of cinnamon or pepper, or oak flavor from its aging barrels. Perhaps the wine contains fruity or floral flavors.
Wine is used in many cuisines to add depth and complexity to recipes. If you are not used to cooking with wine, there are a few tips that may help you make the most of the qualities that wine can give to your recipe. Julia Child recommended that everyone should drink a glass of wine while they cook, but she also used plenty of wine in her recipes. Do not be afraid to experiment a little while you cook.
First, use a good quality wine when you cook. If you would not drink it by the glass, do not cook with it. While you do not want to waste a $100 bottle of wine by using it in a recipe, you can get some excellent wines for $15 or less. Sample several inexpensive wines so you have a few different types to use when you cook. Use reds in heavier recipes with beef or tomatoes and whites in lighter recipes with seafood and chicken.
Use wine sparingly when you cook. Follow the recipe. If you are experimenting, start with just a little and taste the results before you add more. A little goes a long way. Remember that if you need more wine in the recipe, you can add it. Once it has been added, you cannot take it out.
Pair your wines with the recipes you want to add them to by their qualities. For example, a rich tomato sauce for pasta would do well with a splash of Zinfandel, while a side dish of earthy sautéed mushrooms and butter loves a taste of woody Chardonnay. You can even use sweet wines in dishes that use fruit as an ingredient or as part of a salad dressing or dessert.
When cooking with wine, you can create some very unique dishes. These recipes make the most of fresh, seasonal ingredients and tender cuts of meat. Many of these dishes can trace their origins back to simple country Italian and French recipes from their wine regions. Today, these classic dishes have also been influenced by foods from Latin America and Asia. They utilize subtle local wines rather than strong flavored wines. Together, the wine and food create a unique collaboration of flavors. Many of the recipes you will discover in this cuisine are based on sustainable agricultural practices that treat the Earth gently. Plants are nurtured with organic methods and meats are grown on small, local farms with loving care.
Wine country recipes are rustic and robust, with earthy ingredients like mushrooms, olives, herbs and other foods that bring you back to the taste of the land. These dishes help you celebrate the bounty grown in your local area. Get fresh, organic ingredients whenever you can. Farmers' markets are a treasure trove of fresh vegetables, fruits, and even local wines. Use these ingredients to eat healthy, delicious wine country cuisine. Unique ingredients like fresh almonds, mixed greens, wild mushrooms, and hazelnuts help create that unique take on food that can be found in wine recipes. These recipes let the true flavors of the foods come through.