Looking for a way to spruce up your next holiday gathering or girls night in party? Look no further, Twin Cities Wine Sommelier Leslee Miller of Amusée, has just the right answers to adding a little pizzazz to your wine for your next event.
What ingredients are best for making your own signature ‘Wine-Tail’ or ‘Winter Sangria’?
Check it out for yourself and use these easy, fun and affordable tips yourself at your next gathering!
Don’t miss this super fun, yet informative ‘How to Entertain with Wine’ video with Twin Cities Sommelier, Leslee Miller of Amusée. Learn what pairs best to a number of different cooking techniques to poultry, what wine with chocolate and fun items like shrimp cocktail and other entertaining goodies.
Simply Science: Picking the right glass for drinking wine
GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Many of us tend to drink all of our wine out of the same type of glass. But local sommelier Leslee Miller from Amusee Wine says the glass really does make a difference in how a particular wine tastes. She explained that the shape of the wine glass determines the path the wine takes through your mouth and which taste buds the wine reaches.
Although wine glasses can be traced back to the 1500s, the science of glass shape goes back to the 1950s when the now-popular Riedel family did major research on the palate and how wine was best emphasized. Today, Riedel glasses are sold in shops across the world and they are known as the experts in their field. They found that there are four areas of the tongue that sense the wine: Sweet in the front, acid/salty in the middle, minerality in the back and acidity on the sides.
While Leslee has a countless number of glasses, each awaiting a pour from a specific bottle, there are two main shapes that the average wine drinker should know about. And as I learned, it’s way more than just a red glass and a white glass.
The globe shaped glass that we typically think of for red wines is called a Burgundy and is great for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It directs the wine to a wider path through your mouth, letting it hit the sides of your tongue that sense the wine’s acidity.
But on the other hand, Cabernet, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc should be fully enjoyed from a taller and narrower wine glass – think the typical white wine glass – called a Bordeaux shape. This encourages the wine to take a path straight from the front of your mouth to the back, skipping the more acidic taste buds on the side. It pulls from the sweet taste sensors on the tip of your tongue and then pulls through what Leslee calls the minerality of the wine from the back of your tongue (where the bumpy part is).
Before meeting Leslee, I didn’t know much about how the wine glasses shape affected the taste of the wine. But I first sampled a Cabernet from its correctly shaped glass (tall and narrow) and it tasted great… sweet and smooth. Then I sampled the same wine from a globe shaped glass (the one that takes the wine on a journey to the land of acidity). It tasted horrible compared to the first glass. I would have guessed it was a completely different bottle!
I did the same test with a Pinot Grigio and was equally amazed.
Bottom line: I’m a believer in properly picking the wine glass based on the grape and not the color of the wine. Whether or not a glass has a stem is not important. That’s personal style preference. (I love the stem-less glasses because they give off a much more casual vibe, in my opinion.)
Here’s Leslee’s quick list for pairing wines to their proper glass:
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This week I had the fabulous opportunity to taste through a large selection of Washington State Wines at the WA Trade Tasting held at Stella’s in Minneapolis. Already a huge Pacific NW fan myself, I knew I’d fall in love with many of the vintners that attended.
From delicate Rieslings, round and lushy Pinot Gris(s), to supple, unctuous Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet, Malbec & Petite Verdot – the room had it all.
A few wineries that truly stood out…
Dusted Valley Vintners
All with wines that spoke with structure, character & length. Ranging from round whites to big reds, each had their own niche that truly spoke to the state of Washington.
While there, I actually had a minute to catch up with Winegrower/Owner of Dusted Valley Vintners, Corey Braunel, and get his full thoughts on these varietals, with a full lay out of his winery with WI food pairings to boot! Happy to connect to a fellow Midwesterner, Corey, like myself is a wino born & raised in WI. Think the subject of Fish Fry doesn’t come up and what wine to pair to it? Guess you’ll have to watch it and see for yourself! In HD
Last nite I spent some time with the Minnesota Grape Growers Association at the Cold Climate Grape Conference held at the Crowne Plaza, St Paul.
With over 20+ wineries in attendance, and between the number of fabulous conversations I had with Minnesota wine growers across the board, I had just a small window to taste getting to about 8 of the local wineries featured. While the varietals and blends ran deep, with each winery hosting over 15+ wines to taste, some of the most important University of Minnesota grape varietals: Frontenac, Marquette, La Crescent and Frontenac Gris were hi-lited.
As the range of flavors from each grape ranged from very dry to stewy sweet – one of the most important lessons I learned of each, was that each winery worked hard to bring ‘balance’ to a variety of their bottled wines. Some wineries laid a heavy hand to their barrel regime, while others let the grape varietals speak for themselves. Some by the use of French oak and most with variations of American oak. Styles were broad, grape varietals were plenty and blends were of interest, yet one of the most interesting projects I came across was from winery, Millner Heritage. A Minnesota bubbly, quoted by the winemaker as being produced in a ‘Methode Champenoise’ style. Sweet, with a foxy backbone, the bubbles seem to be a big hit with the winery booth.
The conversations I shared across the board were heartfelt, spoken from true Minnesotan farmers that were simply there to show their wares. Some, brand new to the industry and others that had been in the business for over 10+ years, like the owner of the Fieldstone Winery. All with passion, interest and love for their industry.
I did, at the same time, talk two of the Minnesota Grape Growers Association members into sharing a few live minutes with me about the event, the Cold Climate Conference with some description as to a few of MN’s most known varietals WITH food pairings to boot! In HD
I teach a number of great Twin Cities Food and Wine classes across the board, but really our Vines to Reefs Series at Cooks of Crocus Hill is always a ton of fun! Chef Mike, culinary director for Cooks, and I team up to teach a full five course menu paired to all things seafood, explaining that it is not always the color of your protein that dictates the wine you choose, but the cooking technique.
Step outside the box with your pairings with this fun culinary/libation combo!
If you happened to miss last nite’s class, here’s a quick 4-1-1 on the dishes and the wines paired to each course. Chef Mike explains the combination of flavors, as I shoot you the best tips for pairing to all things ‘reef’ to vino.
The best part…5 out of the 6 wines we showed here are all under $20!!
See what food/wine combos take the cake…In HD
A to Z Pinot Gris ~ Oregon $12
Chamisal ‘Stainless’ Chardonnay ~ Edna Valley, CA $12
Poggio Morino Morellino di Scansano ~ Tuscany, Italy $15
Vega Rioja Tempranillo ~ Rioja, Spain $12
Michel Picard Sancerre ~ Loire, France $25
Toad Hollow Risque ~ Limoux, France $15