Pacific Rim
 
June 30, 2020 | Pacific Rim

Oregon vs. Burgundy Pinot Noir: A Comparison

Why is Oregon Pinot Noir compared so often to Burgundy Pinot Noir? The wine achieved its greatest fame growing in the vineyards of Burgundy, France, so it's a compliment when Willamette Valley wines are called Burgundian. How is it that Oregon wines recall their French cousins so vividly?

oregon pinot noir willamette valley wines

In a Class of Their Own

“New World” Pinot Noirs don't just refer to those grown in the United States. They can also refer to wines grown in New Zealand. Now, many places take an approach to Pinot Noir that pronounces its fruit flavors and lose some of the wine's inherent, patient balance. It's simply a matter of taste, but this can be one way California and New Zealand Pinot Noirs differ.

Climate Cousins

It's not always intentional, either – at least not at first. Pinot Noir grapes are affected by weather, region, light and cloud cover, soil composition – an incredible range of factors that start before the more specific ones that winemakers control.

Like Oregon, Burgundy sees cool conditions with a good deal of cloud cover. The soil composition in both areas is very unique and uncommon. Both Oregon and Burgundy use some of the same “vine clones” - vines that are propagated from a particular plant. Some producers even produce Pinot Noir in both areas – Oregon and Burgundy.

More Similarities Than Differences

There's something about Oregon Pinot Noir that maintains the greater complexity and silken texture of those Burgundy wines. It's more elegant, with a taste of fruit that's deep and lingering instead of immediate. For many, that's how you recognize both an Oregon Pinot Noir and a Burgundian one. They're both more subtle. There's a touch more acidity, which develops a better balance. That can pronounce their mouthfeel that much more with ideal pairings.

A comparison comes away showing that Oregon and Burgundy Pinot Noir are remarkably similar and satisfying for many of the same reasons. If anything, the Oregon wines are just a touch earthier, a delicious quality in a Pinot Noir and a very Oregon-centric feature. They mix elegance with minerality that evokes its fruit flavors in incredible ways. You're also more likely to find Oregon Pinot Noir with a bit more range, such as variants with lower alcohol content (better for dieting!) The Burgundy wines are masters of oakiness, and delivering their fruit components in waves.

More Complex, More Elegant

The main takeaway here is that both Oregon and Burgundy wines leave Californian and New Zealand versions in the dust when it comes to more complex wines. They have deeper, more layered taste, and their better acidity levels make Oregon and Burgundy Pinots more fulfilling when pairing them with snacks or meals.

Time Posted: Jun 30, 2020 at 8:36 AM
Pacific Rim
 
June 25, 2020 | Pacific Rim

Is Pinot Noir Sweet?

What makes a dry red wine? What's the difference between dry and sweet? Let's take the pride and joy of Oregon wine, pinot noir. Red wine like this tastes full of fruit like cherries and sometimes blackberries. So how is it that something with sweet flavors isn't actually considered sweet? These questions have simpler answers than you think.

two young women enjoying wine

Why Dry or Sweet?

Wine that's referred to as dry has less than 5% of residual sugar. More than 5% of residual sugar and the wine is referred to as sweet. Our taste buds obviously pick up on this. A dry red wine like pinot noir will almost always have less than 5% residual sugar. Why not add more? Pinot noir is finely balanced to bring out its fruit flavors in a way that doesn't overwhelm. As a dry red wine, you can taste its entire flavor profile and enjoy each. As a sweet red wine, these flavors would be overwhelmed, and the textures and tannins that bring them out on your tongue would become lost.

Sweetness with Less Sugar

This doesn't mean that there's no sweetness in pinot noir. Red wine doesn't often need sugar to have a sweet note. Elements like alcohol content, acids, and tannins are just a few that also influence how sweet a wine tastes. Pinot noir's own flavor profile already features sweetness, so keeping it dry keeps it tasting like a full-bodied wine instead of candy.

How to Ask for Dry Red Wine

Most reds wines are kept dry because of this. It never hurts to ask, but if you're self-conscious about making sure a red wine is dry, or not wanting as strong a taste of fruit, try asking for one that's earthy. This is essentially super-secret wine code for a dry red wine that isn't as fruit-focused in its flavors.

One of the advantages of pinot noir is that many varieties feature a robust and darker fruit focus that has depth beyond simple sweetness, all balanced against with earthy, dry qualities.

What About White Wines?

You may encounter wines with variations on dry and sweet. White wines especially will often be quoted as “medium sweet.” Treat this like it sounds: it's sweet, but not too sweet. You may encounter wines with almost no sugar whatsoever...or you may encounter incredibly sweet wines with sugar that approaches 20%.

Do you like dry or sweet? There’s no wrong answer when it comes to wine!

Time Posted: Jun 25, 2020 at 1:36 PM
Pacific Rim
 
June 25, 2020 | Pacific Rim

Are Wine Corks Compostable?

Can you compost wine corks? Or do you recycle wine corks? Both are possible. Cork itself is an incredibly unique wood that can be harvested in a sustainable manner. It doesn't even harm the tree. If you understand what makes cork so special, you'll also understand the proper ways to compost or recycle it.

compost wine corks

Why Cork is Special

Cork is made from cork oak, a tree that grows up to 65 feet tall. Yet the tree doesn't need to be cut down in order to harvest it. It can keep on standing and growing. Cork oak regrows its outer bark. About once a decade, the bark can be stripped off an adult tree without causing any harm. On average, a single cork tree can see its bark safely harvested 16 times in its lifetime.

Cork Oak Stewardship

Many cork producers are also working with the Rainforest Alliance. While these trees grow in Southwest Europe and Northwest Africa,  the Rainforest Alliance itself is helping cork producers to earn Forest Stewardship Council certifications. These educate producers and place requirements on them to meet both social and environmental standards. This will help conserve cork oak safely into the future.

What makes cork so special? Why can't you use any old product to seal wine? Cork is light and possesses elastic qualities. This allows it to serve as a stopper in many bottled products. It's also impermeable so gases and liquids can't pass through it. This keeps whatever is sealed in a corked bottle fresh and unspoiled.

How to Compost Wine Corks

Make sure that the cork isn't actually a synthetic material made to look like cork wood. You can cut the cork open to check. Synthetic corks are foamy and look very uniform inside. Do not compost a synthetic cork.

If it's a real cork, remove anything artificial attached to it. This can include foil covers, plastic, or screw lid material. Anything plastic, from a synthetic cork to a plastic screw cap, can go in the recycling bin.

To compost wine corks much more quickly, chop the cork up to help it break down. As in any compost material, the more green elements (like grass, plant clippings, or leftover vegetable scrap) added into the compost, the quicker non-green materials will break down.

You can even do this with other cork materials, such as a notice board. Just make sure that they don't have glue or paint on them. You can cut these parts out and still recycle the parts without paint or glue.

How to Recycle Wine Corks

Real cork can be recycled, but don't throw it in the recycling bin. Many stores have programs to recycle wine corks – you can take your corks into Whole Foods, for instance. Look for a store with Cork Reharvest Boxes.

There are also companies that have drop-offs at other businesses, such as ReCork and Cork Forest Conservation Alliance. You can search online for the nearest drop-off locations. If these locations are too distant, you can mail your corks in at no cost to CorkClub. There are other businesses that may offer these services, so don't be afraid to check. These are simply the ones that are accessible to the most people.

Of course, you can also reuse corks in home art projects. If you're recycling corks that were used in these projects, cut any parts with paint or glue off them before bringing them in for recycling.

So uncork a bottle of your favorite wine and explore your possibilities!

Time Posted: Jun 25, 2020 at 1:28 PM
Pacific Rim
 
June 25, 2020 | Pacific Rim

What Is the Driest Wine?

“Dry” is a word often used when describing wine, but it can be confusing. Some people use it to mean that the wine “feels” dry in the mouth or will, in fact, dry it out. This is not the case! A dry wine is one that has no residual sugar, so it is not sweet. If this appeals to your taste buds, you may want to consult a white and red wine sweetness chart to ensure you are getting the driest white wine or driest red that will suit your palate.

Dry White Wine

Alcohol is produced during the fermentation process as yeast eats the sugar that is contained in the juice. Depending on the varietal, winemakers stop this process before the yeast can finish the feast. This leaves “residual sugar” behind. For dry wines, the process is allowed to finish.  To make a very broad generalization, most Americans are acclimated to a diet with a higher sugar content than our counterparts overseas. As a result, many do not prefer truly dry wine; they like a hint of sweetness or a “semi-dry” option. Luckily, there are options all along the spectrum. The driest white wine, for example, is Muscadet. This is a bone-dry French wine with a mineral taste and citrus notes. From there, in order from dry to sweet, are some popular dry white wine choices:

  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Pinot Gris
  • Chardonnay 
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Viognier 
  • Torrontes 
  • Gewürztraminer 
  • Riesling
  • Moscato
  • White Port 
  • Ice Wine

For dry reds:

  • Sangiovese 
  • Tempranillo 
  • Cabernet Sauvignon 
  • Pinot Noir
  • Syrah 
  • Merlot 
  • Malbec
  • Garnacha 
  • Zinfandel 
  • Lambrusco Dolce
  • Port 
  • Tawny Port

Wine Folly has a great white and red wine sweetness chart with other varietals that you can try. If you want to try a dry, sample Natura’s Cabernet Sauvignon or try our Rainstorm Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. While we wouldn’t say they are the driest of the dry, they give you a nice entry into this world. Let us know what you think!

Time Posted: Jun 25, 2020 at 1:20 PM
Pacific Rim
 
June 25, 2020 | Pacific Rim

Is Pinot Gris Keto Friendly?

Many people think a keto diet means they can't enjoy a drink any more. You still have a pretty wide range of drinks in which to indulge. This starts with pinot gris white wine on keto. You can move from there using a low carb wine chart you'll find below – one for white and one for red wine.

Pinot Gris On Keto

What Makes a Low Carb Wine?

Not all wines are keto-friendly, as many have a high residual sugar content. Some you can enjoy with limitation, some are just no-gos when on a keto diet.

What you're looking for are dry wines. A dry wine has less than 10 grams of sugar in every bottle. Sweeter wines have a shorter fermentation period. Since yeast consumes sugar in alcohol, this shorter fermentation period means not as much of the sugar has been consumed. 

Seems easy, right? Wines usually don't have nutrition facts printed on them. That means keeping a handy low carb wine chart around. Here's one for red wine:

Red Wine Carb Chart

Pinot noir 3.4g per 5 oz.
Merlot 3.7g
Cabernet Sauvignon 3.8g
Syrah 4g
Red Zinfandel 4.2g
Port 9g
Sherry 9g

If you're allowed 20 grams of sugar per day, a 5 oz. glass of pinot noir or merlot should be easy to factor in. Yet port and sherry will take up nearly half your daily allowance of sugar.

White wines can be a little better, but not by much:

White Wine Carb Chart

Sauvignon Blanc 3g per 5 oz.
Chardonnay 3.2g
Prosecco 3.8g
Pinot grigio 3.8g
Pinot gris 3.8g
Pinot blanc 3.8g
Riesling 5.5g
Rose 5.8g
White Zinfandel 5.8g
Moscato 7.8g

Champagne can vary, but is typically in the 3.8 gram per glass range. You can enjoy 2 glasses of pinot gris and still be below the sugar content of a single glass of moscato.

Good Guidelines

A good general rule to keep on the keto diet is to hold your wine choice to those below 5 grams of carbohydrates per glass.

Now one advantage of wine is that you typically have it later in the day. You already know how much sugar you've had throughout the rest of the day. If wine is one of the last things you'll have that day, it's easy to pull out your low carb wine chart and see what you can have.

Pinot gris white wine on keto is a great choice and goes with a lot of healthy meals.

You should know that products made from wine – such as alcohol pops or wine coolers – will have much more sugar. They'll come in at more than 30 grams of sugar apiece. Avoid these.

Wine, though, is one of the safer treats you can have in terms of sustaining your keto diet.

Time Posted: Jun 25, 2020 at 1:09 PM

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