It's time to clear up a common misconception: just because your bottle of sake is served hot doesn't necessarily mean that it's cheap shill. At least, it's not that simple. Until fairly recently, most sake in the US was served hot because of its questionable quality, and this tactic is still employed by many restaurants, as heat masks bitterness and enhances sweetness. Nowadays, higher-quality sakes are far more accessible stateside, but that doesn't mean that the practice of enjoying a glass of warm, cozy sake is obsolete. Keep these guidelines in mind instead.
Our office is in the midst of a renovation, so we've made it a mission to sample as much of our ever-growing wine collection to lighten the load before moving floors. With that in mind, we recently sampled all of the Rieslings on our shelf; these seven bottles, listed from dry to sweet, were our favorites. Keep reading to learn more about each.
Have you ever heard of a ramen broth with Pinot Noir in it? Well, now you have, courtesy of the wacky Food Network chef Justin Warner. He recently teamed up with Robert Mondavi Private Selection to develop funky and seemingly far-fetched recipes for the winery.
If adding Pinot Noir to a ramen broth sounds particularly eyeball-crossing, hear Justin out: "Most ramen has pork, and I think that Pinot Noir, especially central coast Pinot Noir, has bite, really great acidity, and some backbone to it. With a good ramen, you have a lot of lipids and fat in that broth, which is what makes it taste excellent. You need something that is going to be able to take it down [so you can] revisit [each bite] with a clean palate."
The ramen broth is the nectar of the gods . . . probably because it's doused with a hefty pour of Pinot Noir. As Justin mentions, the Pinot Noir adds acidity to the fatty broth, thus balancing out the richness. It may sound complex, but don't worry; this recipe isn't too complicated. "I made a classic shoyu-style ramen broth. I don't see this as being scaled back, I see it as being inventive and for some reason simple. I made a great tonkotsu pork-style broth where you have to saw bones in half using a skill saw. I've done it. But I mean really, is that something anyone wants to do? It's fun for reading like a fluffy magazine about people who do that professionally, but for a home cook, we'll make a shoyu broth," says Justin.
Poached egg, pork tenderloin, bacon, corn, and salty, fatty broth . . . the ramen certainly lives up to its tricked-out name. The recipe only calls for four ounces of wine, meaning there is plenty to sip on while slurping the ramen. I could tell you my wine tasting notes — that the cherry and smoky oak flavors complement the sweet corn and carrots, smoky bacon, and soy sauce. But I won't bore you with those details. This isn't SAT wine prep, after all. It's good food and excellent wine, thrown together in a beautifully disastrous way.
It's been a year since we last spoke to Justin Warner, a Brooklyn-based chef and winner of season eight of Food Network Star. At the time, he had a fireball personality and was quick to defend his feisty love-me-or-leave-me attitude. But it's clear that the year of newfound celebrity chefdom has pacified chef J-Dollar Sign a little. His calendar, inbox, and Twitter feed may be slammed, but he's showing all signs of gratitude for his fan base and hopefulness for his future on food TV land, as he calls it. I spoke to Justin on the phone to hear about his year in review (he requested link outs; don't worry, man — I got your back!) and his current projects, including a partnership with winery Robert Mondavi Private Selection and, of course, more appearances on the Food Network.
POPSUGAR Food: How much has life changed since you won Food Network Star?
Justin Warner: I’m pretty much the same person as I was before, I’m just incredibly busy all the time. I do a lot of work with email, phone, and yadda, yadda, yadda that your average Brooklyn hipster chef doesn’t really deal with. But you know what else is really nifty? Once you are a Food Network star, people really treat you with a lot of respect and think of you as an expert. I never really thought that I was an expert in anything — especially cooking, because I’m, for the most part, self-taught. It’s really great to have people come up to you on the street and say “How do you do this?” and “What do you recommend?” Someone will send out a tweet to myself, Michael Symon, and Alex Guarnaschelli, and say “How do you recommend I defrost this?” Because I’m a Twitter junkie, I’m always the first one to respond and then Michael Symon says, “Yes, I agree with Justin.” And it’s like, what? That’s nuts. You know Danny Meyer retweeted me. That’s bonkers. I used to work for the guy as a waiter, and to have your former boss endorse you . . . that’s crazy.
PSF: How has your relationship with Alton Brown evolved over the course of the year?
JW: Oh you know, pretty much the same. We hang out when he’s in town. We’re often at the same events like Food Network’s 25th Anniversary Party and New York City Wine and Food Festival. We just text, hang out, bat ideas around, play around with Twitter. We just try to keep each other entertained. I did a podcast with him, I don’t know if you heard that, you probably could link to that if you wanted to. Our relationship has probably gotten better now that we don’t have to have a semi-produced relationship in any aspect.
PSF: Do you still consider him your mentor?
JW: Oh yeah, absolutely. There are a lot of people that have influenced my life, but Alton Brown is probably one of the first people to say, "Look kid, maybe you don’t have to think you can do this, but I think you can do this. Because they think you can do this, you can do this. So go do it." And, I never thought about entertaining outside of my restaurant as an opportunity or as something that I would be even remotely acceptable at. You know, here we go. That’s what I do now. Cool, huh?
PSF: When can we expect to see more of you on TV?
JW: It will happen. We’re working out a lot of kinks. Rebel Eats was a really great special. We built it to be a stand-alone hour of hyper-interesting and super fun TV programming. I have a feeling that maybe Rebel Eats will come back as a periodic special when I get a wild hair. We’re also just trying to figure out who I’m speaking to on food TV, because my demographic, the people that are into what I do, is so broad it blows my mind. I have 14-year-olds getting onto Twitter, like “You’re my hero. Can you please tell me how to make ranch?” I didn’t even know you were allowed to have Twitter when you were 14. And it’s freaking great. So, soon. When you’ll see me again? Soon. We’ve got a lot of things that we’re tricking up. It’s tough to make TV. It takes time and you have to do it right. There’s nothing worse than bad TV.
PSF: What other projects are you working on?
JW: I’m definitely doing a demo at the New York City Wine and Food Festival with the next Food Network star, Damaris Phillips, and that’s going to be pretty nifty. I’m not going to give away exactly what I’m doing there, but it will be cool. I’m also hosting Mixology Masters for New York City Wine and Food, which is about cocktails because I’m really into cocktails. You know, other than that just showing people the good life, getting people jazzed about all facets of gastronomy, and palling around with my Mondavi gang drinking wine.
PSF: Tell me about your partnership with Robert Mondavi Private Selection. How did you get involved?
JW: Back in the day, before I was the new Food Network star, I thought for a while actually that wine was going to be my thing, because I used to write rap songs about wine, which I’m sure you can link to in your publication. So word travels [that] we [Robert Mondavi and I] kind of think the same way. I try to make crazy stuff that’s still delicious, approachable, and appropriate. I think Robert Mondavi, with his selection [of wine], kind of does the same thing. They make great wine that is not intimidating and pairs really great with food. It’s not something that you have to stare into the glass and think and lament. You don’t have to get so sommelier about it. You can just have a glass of wine and relax.
PSF: What weird and unlikely food pairings have you discovered?
JW: It’s tough to say, because I drink wine no matter what happens. People would say red wine with meat and white wine with fish and poultry. I fundamentally do not believe that that’s the case. If I think that a wine is super concentrated and really intense, man, I put an ice cube in it. I’ll treat it with Scotch. You know, with Scotch, you can't taste the subtleties until you add a little bit of water. So I don’t really follow any of the rules. What’s the weirdest thing? I’ll just have a glass of wine with french fries. Some chardonnay or sauvignon blanc and french fries. It’s the bomb, so freaking good and comforting. I don’t like to have to get too cerebral when I’m trying to have a good time. That to me is not a good time. That’s like SAT prep. Wine should not be like SAT prep.
Ever wondered what goes into making quality sparkling wine? The answer — aside from lots of grapes, of course — is a lot of labor. Méthode Champenoise (or méthode traditionnelle when referring to sparkling wines made outside of Champagne, France), is the traditional French method of producing sparkling wines, and while at Mumm Winery in Napa, CA, during harvest, we snapped up photos of the step-by-step process. Take a look; the involved méthode may inspire you to savor your next glass of bubbly more slowly.
Whether you're looking for an easy way to entertain guests at a housewarming party, backyard barbecue, or low-key dinner, pitchers of strawberry-peach sangria are the ideal liquid solution. The rainbow assortment of fruit makes for a stunning display — plus it's fun to get a little buzz from munching on the wine-soaked ripe Summer fruit.
Simply make the pitcher(s) in advance, let the lovely fruit marinate and cool in your fridge for a few hours, and get ready to fiesta the easy way. To look at the recipe for this strawberry-peach sangria, read more
- The smell is off. If a wine's aroma is moldy or resembles a musty basement, wet cardboard, or vinegar, it's turned. A heavy raisin smell is another bad signal.
- The red wine tastes sweet. If the bottle of red wine has the aroma of Port or tastes like dessert wine (even though it is neither of those two things), it has been overexposed to heat, and is therefore undrinkable.
- The cork is pushed out slightly from the bottle. That's a sign the wine has overheated and expanded within the bottle.
Keep reading for more signs that show a good wine has gone bad.
It seems like no one can get enough of red wine, scientists included; every day there seems to be another study touting the amazing benefits of plum-colored beverage. Lucky for us, the proof is in the long-stemmed glass (just one, since drinking more may be detrimental to your health). Here are five reasons why unwinding with a glass of red after a long day should be on your list of to-dos — one reason for every workday!
- It's good for your heart: Antioxidants in red wine called flavonoids have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and increasing the production of good cholesterol. According to researchers at the University of California, Davis, certain varietals have more concentrations of flavonoids than others. Of the most common red varietals, cabernet sauvignon has the most flavonoids, followed closely by petite sirah and pinot noir, then merlot and red zinfandel.
- It can lower depression: While heavy drinking has been linked to mental health problems, drinking a glass of red wine a day may do the opposite. A recent study found that moderate drinkers (those who drank two to seven small glasses of wine a week) were less likely to suffer from depression than those who drank more or less.
- It can help your gut: That morning bowl of Greek yogurt isn't the only thing that's helping your gut. A study found that drinking red wine increases the amount of good bacteria levels in your digestive tract.
- It may help you lose fat: New researching is studying the effects of piceatannol, a compound found in red wine that is converted from the antioxidant resveratrol, has on fat. A recent lab study found that piceatannol blocks fat cells from forming, and more studies are looking at how the compound can help us slim down.
- It can improve memory: Polyphenols, also found in tea, nuts, berries and cocoa, can improve your memory and may also decrease the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Now is the perfect time to find a chic yet practical carrier to tote your wine bottles. With a mix of sleek leather options, colorful containers, and a few accessories for your outdoor sips, we're helping you bring style to all your alfresco meals. Prep for sunny lunches by taking a look at these adorable wine bottle carriers!
The market's flooded with gadgets that have been designed to make opening a bottle of wine easier, but the most trusty of them all is also one of the most basic: the waiter's key corkscrew. If you don't know how to work this pared-down tool, no worries. Watch the video to learn the method, so you can look like a pro the next time you're opening a bottle of wine.