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Rice Wine: What’s the Deal?

You’ve probably heard of rice wine. While not technically ‘wine’ as it’s not made of grapes, rice wine is the staple alcoholic beverages of many parts of the world. While it’s likely that you’ve tried sake at a hibachi restaurant and have a passing familiarity with it, it might surprise you just how expansive the world of rice wine is! From Japan to India, the styles and varieties have almost as much variation as more familiar grape based wines.

How is it made?

Despite its alcohol content generally matching wine (most are actually a little bit stronger), the process for making Japanese sake or Korean Makgeolli is actually closer to that of beer. Rice and water is combined with a fungal culture that converts the starches and sugars into alcohol. The brewer can modify this process however they like to change taste, texture and alcohol content.

What are the varieties of rice wine?

Japanese sake is the most famous rice wine, and it comes in two general categories: a sweeter unfiltered variety and a smoother filtered variety. While it’s a little harder to find in the west, Korean Makgeolli can also be fairly easily acquired. It boasts a much lower alcohol content and has a thicker texture- while it is traditionally unpasteurized and thus continues to ferment in the bottle, some pasteurized varieties make up for the loss in flavor by introducing fruit juices and other outside flavors. If you’re interested in getting really deep into the world of rice wine, there are variations of it made and drank all across Asia: China, India, Vietnam, and more all boast several varieties that look and taste surprisingly different from the clear or milky liquid than you might expect.

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Winter Wine

Wine can be enjoyed at any time of the year, but if you’re like me you like to keep your beverages in a loose seasonal rotation. You can enjoy a hearty potato based stew in the summer but that doesn’t mean that it won’t feel a bit better in the fall or winter. The same is true of wine! As the nights get longer and the days get colder, you may find yourself taking stock of your wine reserves and thinking: What will warm me up best in this chilly, chilly season? Solid winter wines tend to be drier, higher in alcohol content, and often taste good heated or mulled.

How about a rich red?

When deciding on a wintery wine to pair with a seasonal feast, its usually pretty hard to go wrong with a full bodied red like a cab sav or a syrah. Not only do these pair well with richer, heavier winter fare, but the higher alcohol content will make your body think it’s a good deal warmer than it actually is. 

If you pick a red that has a little extra sweetness alongside its full body, you’ve found a perfect candidate for mulling. Great with a meal or as an after dinner treat, wine heated up with mulling spices is a divine experience, and can be done at home at little extra cost.

Are whites on the table?

You don’t normally think of white wine when you think of winter wine, but that doesn’t mean that they have no place in a seasonal meal. If you haven’t tried orange wine, this winter might be the time! Orange wine is made with white grapes, but like a red wine it allows the grape skin to remain in contact with the juice during the winemaking process. The result is a richer, fuller body, much better suited for a winter wine. Sort of like a reverse rosé!

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What is Natural Wine?

If you have your ear to the ground in the wine world, you’ve probably heard of something called ‘natural wines.’ But wait, aren’t all wines natural? Or do they mean naturally occurring wines, like grapes that crush themselves, ferment, and then miraculously flow together into the perfect blend? While that would be cool, unfortunately there are no documented cases of a smooth red blend occurring in nature. So what are natural wines?

Natural Wines: A Brief Explanation

The emergence of natural wine happened in the 1960s, when some winemakers decided to dial back on some of the modern complexities of the craft and get back down to basics. The result is natural wine, created without any of the additives or processing that modern wine uses to refine the look and flavor of their products. As a result of using traditional wine making techniques, the natural stuff is a lot more variable in quality than regular wines- which can be a good thing or a bad thing!

What Do They Look Like?

The first big difference you’ll notice is their cloudiness. The wines we know and love today are clear because of the purification and filtration processes that we use, but natural wines forgo these extra steps, leaving a lot of sediment behind to give the wine new and interesting flavors and textures. 

What Do They Taste Like?

If you’ve had a wild ale or a ‘sour’ style beer, you might have an idea as to the unique flavor profiles of natural wine. The extra ‘funk’ that the natural wine might develop might not be for everyone, but it certainly adds a new dimension to wine tasting. And while there’s no science right now to back this up, some people report that they don’t feel hungover after a night drinking natural wine. It could be nature’s loophole!

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Thanksgiving and Wine

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means wine lovers around the are once again faced with the life altering, world shattering question: What wine should you serve at Thanksgiving? Should you choose a buttery white to complement the white meat of the turkey? Should you opt for a dark red to match the grim approach of winter? Should you give up, admit that both the world and you have gone insane, and serve each guest at your dinner table a can of original-strength Four Loko? If you feel lost in the world of Thanksgiving and wine, worry no longer: Amarose Wine Through the Grapevine Blog has got you covered.

Option 1: A Single Bottle

If you take great pride in your ability to put on a dinner, there is nothing that says cool confidence more than offering only a single type of wine for your friends and family to drink. If you decide to walk this path, you should know that it is less about the type of wine you provide and more about the statement made by not giving your guests options. Whether you’re pouring a dry zinfandel or a light pinot grigio, you must commit to your choice 100%.

Option 2: Give the Folks Some Options

If you’re not up for delivering a bold, holiday-defining statement by only opting for a single type of wine, don’t worry! It’s perfectly acceptable, and usually even preferred, to offer some options to your guests. While this option is a little less gutsy than the first one, it requires more work than you might think. You should pick your wines prudently, so that while you’re accommodating several tastes you are also complimenting your dishes.Go for a refreshing, tangy white like a Chenin Blanc or a Riesling, as well as a lighter red like Pinot Noir or a Zinfandel. While you’re at it, maybe even sneak a bottle of Amarose in there. Thanksgiving rosé could be the next big thing!

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The Ultimate Conundrum

There are two wolves that live inside every person. One wolf wants everyone to think that they are a cool, tough badass who fears nothing and chews rocks for breakfast. The other wolf loves rosé. But how can these two primal forces coexist? How will people believe that you are a self sufficient girl boss, or a sigma prowler on a single minded mission of self advancement if you’re out at a wine bar every weekend with a light and fruity glass of rosé?

Option 1: Deny

If someone comes up to you and asks why you’re drinking rosé, pretend like you are drinking something else. Rosé? No way. You’re drinking whiskey, or moonshine, or something badasses drink. It just looks like rosé because of the light. If you act sufficiently badass, this should intimidate them into silence and you can enjoy your rosé in peace.

Option 2: Deflect

If you don’t think you’ll be able to bluff that hard, theres another option. This isn’t your rosé. You’re just holding it for a friend. They are in the bathroom, and as their coolest most badass friend they trust you to hold their drink. If you employ this option, you run the risk of the person interrogating you sticking around to see if your ‘friend’ is real.

Option 3: Embrace

There’s only one option that can truly ensure that you won’t look like a fool in this wine bar when someone asks you what you’re drinking. Tell the truth! You may think that this will cause your cool and collected image to shatter, but the truth is that rosé is badass. Tell that to yourself. Absorb it. If you believe that rosé is badass, then so will the world around you. The two wolves within you do not need to be fighting. Make peace with yourself.

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Wine Theft Prevention When Living With Roommates

Living with other people has a lot of benefits. Roommates makes rent cheaper, but they also offer a sense of camaraderie that people in their twenties and thirties might otherwise be missing. Humans are communal creatures and having a roommate or two is in many ways essential for a single adult in the modern world. However, there is a dark side to the world of roommates. If you have a wine stash, it can be endlessly stressful trying to keep your roommates from pilfering it. Wine theft is a crime, but sometimes it can be hard to prove that your roommates are stealing your wine. Don’t worry. As always, we’ve got you covered.

Wine Theft Protection Essentials

There’s a few basic steps you can take to prevent wine theft. Place markers on your bottles of wine so that if the amount of liquid inside goes down, you can tell. Keep a careful inventory of each of your bottles, and update it daily to make sure that none go missing without you knowing. Keep your wine clearly marked so that a well meaning roommate doesn’t accidentally steal some.

What if that doesn’t work?

If you’re following all these steps and still losing wine to your horrible thieving roommates, don’t worry. There are further steps you can take to ensure your rights as a roommate and a collector of wine are being respected.Think about hiding your wine, under a loose floorboard or behind the hot water heater. If that fails, you can also pour your wine into innocuous containers that your roommates would never expect. A carton of milk? Nope, it’s wine. Be sure to disguise your wine as something your roommate would never touch.

They are still stealing my wine.

In that case, there may be no solution other than to make piece. Wine theft is terrible, but wine given freely is joy for all parties. Or you could start spiking your stash with low grade rat poison and make them really sick. Entirely up to you

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How to Have a Rosé Halloween

Halloween is coming up, and that means that everyone is going to need a costume! Whether you’re going out on the town or waiting by the door for trick or treaters, any self respecting holiday enjoyer knows that there is no greater shame than being dressed up as just a regular person, rather than a fun ghost or a sexy Frankenstein. But what do you do on Halloween if you literally can’t stop thinking about rosé? What if your partner wants to do a cute couples costume where they are a big pair of pants and you are a big shirt, but you just can’t get interested in something that doesn’t have an obvious connection to sweet, light rosé? Don’t worry. We’re here to save your rosé Halloween.

Costume 1: A bottle of Amarose

An easy idea to rosé-ify your halloween is to go as a bottle of Amarose. This is a pretty hefty costume, and unfortunately it would probably be pretty tough to create, but the results would be magnificent. At any halloween party you go to, there would be no question as to who the biggest rosé lover at the function is.

Costume 2: A glass of wine and its drinker

If you’re looking to do a couples costume, this one is great: Your partner could go as a glass of wine, and you could be its drinker! You wouldn’t need to change your outfit at all, but they would have to walk around as a living vessel of wine, and might need a breathing apparatus depending on how much you fill them up. If they really love you, though, they would do this in a heartbeat.

Costume 3: Every type of grape used in Amarose

As all Amarosé fans know, Amarose is made up of an equal blend of Grenache, Cinsaut, Carignan, and Mourvédre grapes. By making a costume out of this exclusive knowledge, you can filter your friends at the party by who is a true lover of Amarose and who is only pretending. The quantity of your social circle may shrink, but rosé Halloween isn’t about that. It’s about quality.

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Ancient Greek Wine: An Inquiry

As anyone with knowledge of wine history will tell you, the wine we drink today is a lot different than the wine people drank hundreds or thousands of years ago. Back in ancient days, people were a lot less discerning about grape varietals, and even grape color. Red grapes and white grapes were often mashed up together to create a single, pinkish wine rather than the wide spectrum of colors we have today. Another key difference, at least in Ancient Greece, is that wine was customarily diluted with water to create a much less potent mixture. In fact, when the Greeks encountered cultured who drank undiluted wine, they often recoiled in horror. But what does Ancient Greek wine taste like? Is it any good? Lets find out.

How Are You Making Ancient Greek Wine?

To approximate Ancient Greek wine, I purchased a cheap red blend and an equally cheap pinot grigio and, in an act that hopefully will not get me kicked out of the Society of Venerable Wine Bloggers, poured an ounce of each into a water glass, and then another ounce of each into a wine glass. From there I took the water glass and filled it up the rest of the way with water. This way I have, hopefully both an undiluted approximation of ancient wine and the kind that people usually drank.

The Straight Wine

First up, I tried the undiluted stuff. How did it taste? Fine. It wasn’t disgusting, but neither was it very memorable or complex. It tasted like a bad rosé. Could this be because both bottles of wine I used in the combination were less than 5 dollars? It’s possible! Someone willing to try this experiment with higher quality wine might yield better results, but it would probably safer to just buy a nice rosé.

The Watered Down Stuff

Next, it’s time to try the real Ancient Greek wine. What sorts of mysterious flavors inspired Socrates? What did Alexander the Great drink after a long day of being The Great? Will this wine experience unlock new levels of the human experience for me?

Nope! It tastes bad. It tastes like flat wine flavored seltzer. Again, perhaps higher quality wine might yield a better result, but if you have higher quality wine I sincerely doubt that adding water will improve it. I guess because the alcohol content is lower you can drink more of this than regular wine, but why in god’s name would you want to?

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Make Autumn Rose Work For You

Its official: Summer is over, and Autumn is here. Beach days, short sleeves, and beach balls are the stuff of yesterday, and today is all about changing leaves, apple pies, and Halloween. This poses a problem for us rosé lovers. Spring and summer are the seasons of rosé, and it can’t be difficult to find aesthetic justification for our light pink nectar in the season of pumpkin spice lattes and hot apple cider. But don’t worry! We have a few tips and tricks for you to incorporate rosé into every element of your fall experience.

Get rosé with apple notes!

While lots of rosé can emphasize summery berry, peach, and melon flavors, it’s just as common for one to contain hints of crisp apple. A nice autumn rosé with apple notes will feel right at home with the stiff breeze, bright foliage, and crunchy leaves of fall. Drink a glass on the porch or take a bottle on a late season picnic, and let the fall vibes roll!

Mull your rosé!

Previously on this blog, we’ve shared a recipe for mulled rosé– and while it might seem unconventional, it’s just as delicious as a more typical mulled wine. As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, your rosé obsession can continue apace with some mulling spices and a nice mug. Just picture it- in a few months, late November, as fall starts to turn into winter, you can be curled up under a blanket by a window, sipping a steaming mulled rosé. Beautiful!

Tell your friends about autumn rosé!

Rosé might be considered a spring and summer treat, but you have the power to change that! By embracing autumn rosé, you can help start a trend to make rosé a year-round beverage. Throwing a 21+ halloween party? Rosé. Going for a walk in the crisp fall air? Bring a discreet cup of rosé. The options are endless.

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Sweet Wine vs Dry Wine

Rich vs poor. Liberal vs conservative. Sweet wine vs dry wine. These are the greatest divides of the modern era, but because this is a wine blog I’ll only be talking about the last one. Red wine vs white wine can get a lot of attention, but in many ways the real debate in the wine world is whether you like your wine sweet or dry. It’s a complicated debate, and one that you will likely find yourself on both sides of over the course of your life. In this post, we’re going to break down the flaws and virtues of sweet and dry wine and decide once and for all: Which one should you be drinking right now?

What Makes a Sweet Wine Sweet? A Dry Wine Dry?

Usually, the sweetness of a wine comes down to how long the grape juice is fermented. As the fermenting process continues, sugar is converted into alcohol. So a wine that needs to be aged for 6 months or a year will generally be a lot less sweet than one that only ferments for a couple of weeks to a month. Tannins can also affect the sweetness of wine. Higher tannin content means a drier wine, and vice versa! That’s why red wines are often (but not always) drier than white wines.

Which Type of Wine is Best?

Unfortunately, I have led you astray- there is no definitive answer to that question. Drinking sweet wine vs drinking dry wine really comes down to circumstance and personal preference. Many cheap wines can seem overly sweet, but some higher quality stuff is also pretty sweet, and hey, sometimes cheap wine is just what the doctor called for. Likewise, while a dry red wine might seem complex and refined when served with a fancy dinner, but will probably feel out of place on a casual picnic with some friends. When it comes to wine dryness, let your heart guide you.

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