Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The History of California Wine

California has a long and rich history of wine making. The wine industry marked its beginning in 1769, when the first grape vines were planted at Mission San Diego, by the Franciscan missionary Father Junipero Serra. This black-skinned grape variety, which was called Mission grape, played a significant role in California wine production until 1880.

In 1833, the first documented imported European wine vine of California was planted in Los Angeles by a French winemaker Jean-Louis Vignes. Later in the 1850s and '60s, Agoston Harazsthy - a Hungarian soldier and merchant - imported original vine cuttings from around 165 European vineyards. Altogether, he introduced 300 different grape varietals in California.

Harazsthy made the most outstanding contribution to the development of the wine industry, which made him known as the "founder of California Wine Industry." He founded the Buena Vista Winery, which can still be seen at Sonoma. Great efforts were made in promoting vine planting throughout North California. Moreover, he introduced the idea of non-irrigated vineyards and also constructed many caves for wine cellaring.

During the 1890s, most of the European vines were destroyed due to the attack of Phylloxera - a destructive root louse. The attempts taken to eradicate the pest were mostly unsuccessful. Finally, Thomas V. Munson - who was regarded as the "father of Texas viticulture" - fostered the idea of grafting European wine vines onto American rootstocks.

California wine industry faced a major decline due to National Prohibition (1920 - 1933). The major portion of the industry, which initially had up to 713 bonded wineries, was wiped out during the prohibition. By the end of 1933, California wine industry managed to revive gradually. The common grape varieties of the time were Thompson seedless, Emperor, and Flame Tokay.

Today, the California wine industry is one among the finest in the world. It contributes to around 90% of total U.S. wine production. The industry boasts approximately 2,445 wineries, which produce more than 500 million gallons of wines every year. Chardonnay is the largest grown variety, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and White Zinfandel.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/411121

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mankas Tapas Bar & Steakhouse Banquet Testimonial

Mankas Tapas & Steakhouse just catered my wedding at the Blue Victorian Winery last weekend! My biggest compliments to Chef Peter and company- they orchestrated our plated dinner with outstanding grace and elegance! 

Our menu: The hand-passed appetizers were a huge hit- .Abondigas with Tomato Jam and Basil Aioli, Vegetarian Summer Roll with Sweet Chili Sauce, Tuna Tartar with Fried Wonton and Watermelon! The simple and delicious spring salad with goat cheese and walnuts started the meal off on the right foot, and for entree guests chose between braised short rib with stone ground polenta, salmon with baby bok choy, black forbidden rice and ginger soy glaze or tofu "scallop" with pilaf. 

The guests said their food was hot and delicious! They especially liked the fish and beef short rib dishes. One of my guests told me that the service was so friendly- she was splashed with a small droplet of wine from a pour and the server at fault offered her own name and personal contact information should my guest want her blouse to be cleaned. My guest said that hardly any wine ended up on her blouse- just a tiny droplet, but still- I have never heard of such cordial service- really impressed!

Before the wedding, Chef Peter offered us a tasting dinner so that we could try all of the dishes we would have at the wedding. We edited our catering menu when we came for the tasting. With each edit, chef Peter was supportive and encouraging. 

Chef Peter also stopped by the Blue Vic with our wedding planner to make sure the venue had the proper set-up and equipment needed for smooth catering service.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Table Manner Tips for Guys When on a Dinner Date

Good table manners are very important when dating single women. If you want to make a good impression on your date, practice proper dining etiquette. Just the opposite, if you really want to turn your date off, practice bad table manners.
Listed here are some very important tips on proper table manners:
  • If your date has some leftover food that you would like to eat, don't reach over with your fork and start eating off her plate. The proper thing to do is to ask your waiter or waitress for an extra plate.
  • Don't let your waiter or waitress remove your plate until your date is finished eating.
  • Got something hung between your teeth? Whatever you do, don't cover your mouth with one hand and use the other hand to try and dislodge whatever is stuck in your teeth. It's best to dismiss yourself from the table and go to the restroom and take care of your problem.
  • If your date is still eating and you've finished eating, don't push your plate out of the way. Wait until your date is finished eating before you push your plate back.
  • While you are talking to her, don't wave your eating utensils in the air. You are there to eat, not to conduct an orchestra!
  • When your mouth is full, don't talk. Nothing is more gross than watching someone talk with their mouth full of food.
  • If you discover that your silverware is dirty, don't use your napkin to try and clean it. Just ask your waiter or waitress for a replacement.
  • What do you do if you notice that your date has some food stuck between her teeth? Just tell her quietly. This is the proper thing to do.
  • It's very important that you eat quietly. Don't make any unnecessary and embarrassing noises.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/107637

Thursday, October 18, 2012

60 Second Wine Expert: White Wine Color

America's premier wine expert, Kevin Zraly explains what you can tell about a white wine by looking at it's color.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mankas Tapas Bar & Steakhouse Testimonial

I came here yesterday for the very first time and have to say that I was extremely impressed. Everything from the menu to the service to the wine was fantastic and I look forward to coming back!

My lunch consisted of the roasted caprese salad, which was absolutely delicious. I love that they use buffalo mozzarella, instead of just regular mozzarella. For my entree I had the truffle mac and cheese, which I highly reccomend if you're a fan of truffles! For dessert, my table shared the lava cake and cheese cake, both of which were superb.

Last but not least, I have to mention how great the wine was. They even have a nice little wine tasting bar next door to the restaurant where we visited after our meal.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed myself here and hope to return soon!

Friday, October 12, 2012

60 Second Wine Expert: White Wine

America's premier wine expert, Kevin Zraly talks about white wine with  Elizabeth Shepard. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

60 Second Wine Expert: Cabernet Sauvignon

America's premier wine expert, Kevin Zraly talks about Cabernet Sauvignon with Elizabeth Shepard. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Well-Done, Medium-Rare, Rare - What Do They Mean? Explanations and a Quick Tip For Cooking Your Meat

Medium-rare, well-done, rare...sometimes it seems like these terms are all relative. When you ask for a well-done steak at a restaurant and it comes back pink, is it okay to complain? If you're preparing meat for guests, how can you cook it to their desired doneness? We'll tell you exactly what each term means and share a helpful tip for perfectly cooking your meat!

Here are the generally accepted definitions of each level of doneness:

Rare: A rare piece of meat will have a bright red center, and its outside will be brownish-gray. The center will be warm, but not hot. (approximately 125 degree core temperature)

Medium-rare: The center of a medium-rare piece of meat will be slightly warmer and reddish-pink instead of red. (approximately 130 degree core temperature)

Medium: A medium piece of meat will have a large band of pink through the middle, but will be primarily grayish-brown throughout. (approximately 145 degree core temperature)

Medium-well: A medium-well piece of meat will just have a slight hint of pink in the middle. Otherwise, it will be primarily cooked through and will feel quite firm. (approximately 155 degree core temperature)

Well-done: A well-done steak should show no hint of pink whatsoever. Its center will be grayish-brown throughout and the outside will be nicely charred. (approximately 165 degree core temperature)

If you want to tell how done your meat is without cutting into it, use this easy trick: Feel the heel of your hand (that's the fleshy part between your thumb and your wrist). When your hand is open and relaxed, a rare steak will feel as soft and tender as the heel of your hand. Now pinch together your thumb and forefinger and feel the heel of your hand again. It's a bit firmer now. This is what a medium-rare steak feels like. You can then move down the line, pinching each finger, and feel the heel of your hand get firmer and firmer. When you pinch with your middle finger, the heel of your hand is the firmness of a medium steak, your ring finger a medium-well steak, and your pinky a well-done steak. Now all you'll have to do is poke your steak a little bit and you'll be able to tell its level of doneness.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4792453

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

60 Second Wine Expert: Pinot Noir

America's premier wine expert, Kevin Zraly shares information about the Pinot Noir grape with Elizabeth Shepard.