Well, there’s some good news and some bad news regarding our recent Wine FAQ contest, which officially ended on Monday.
The good news is that we have a winner – Stuart Yaniger, who sent us two great questions:
1. What’s all this sulfite stuff? Is it true that only American/French/Australian/ Slavokian wines use them?
Every wine has sulfites – yeast produce sulfur compounds along with alcohol, carbon dioxide and other substances. Most wineries can or do add sulfites to help preserve wine because it resists spoilage by other organisms. So even German and Italian wines will have sulfites.
2. Why do I get headaches when I drink red wine? (often mistakenly coupled with question 1).
Allergic reactions to sulfur are common. But nitrates and nitrites can trigger reactions and they are present in wine through natural processes. Since the skins are what give red wines their color, the problem may be in compounds that were in the grape skins.
The bad news is that we didn’t get enough entries to pick more than one winner. Sorry about that.
But if you still have a question, by all means, please send it to us. And we might just try another contest in the near future.
It’s really interesting how many people have questions about wine – even folks who don’t drink or can’t drink at all.
Take Wallace Langham, who plays lab tech Hodge on CSI.
“I stopped drinking wine,” he told Anne at a party at the TV Critics Press Tour. “I stopped drinking altogether. But I can think of one. Ah. Is it all right to drink rosé all year round?”
Langham was asking on behalf of his wife, who loves rosé. We say you go, Mrs. Langham (assuming that’s your name). Rosé is a great option all year long. Admittedly, we’re not talking white zinfandel, which does have a tendency to be over sweet and medicinal.
A dry pink has some of the fruit of a red wine, but it’s also light and dry like most whites – a perfect summer compromise when you want something to stand up to a great grilled steak, but it’s too hot for a red. And great in the winter when you want something to go with your scampi and spaghetti alfredo, but a red wine’s too much and a white wine just isn’t up to the heavy garlic and cream in the alfredo.
When a lot of us think of rosé, we think about the sugar-laden pinks of the past, such as Lancers and Mateus. And, yes, white zinfandels. Well, if that’s what you like, then drink with pride. A good wine is the wine you like. But do check out some of dry pinks that are becoming more and more available. They’re often a real bargain, too, and definitely great all year round.
A cool concatenation of circumstances are happening this week and next. Anne is attending the Television Critics Association Press Tour, because Anne has another life as a TV critic (you can check out her TV blog at YourFamilyViewer.com). So, in honor of the OddBallGrape Wine FAQ contest, she’s asking some of the actors she’s hanging around their Wine FAQ.
Up today is Kunal Nayyar – Raj on The Big Bang Theory on CBS. (Anne did get a chance to interview Jim Parsons – aka Sheldon – but didn’t remember the Wine FAQ in time.) But Kunal’s a really nice guy and was happy to share his question with us.
“What is a sweet red wine. I love rieslings and gewürztraminer grapes from Germany. So what is a sweet red wine that a white wine drinker would enjoy?”
Lambrusco wines from Italian producers have some sweetness and some fizz. Okay, some re-treads from the 1960s – Riunite springs to mind – don’t have the fizz, so look for one that has the wire cage over the cork.
And there are red wines – Zinfandel comes to mind – where some of the fruitiness may be tied to residual sugar leftover from the winemaking process. Ports are always an option as well.
One of the coolest part of this experiment is that even the folks who don’t drink had really great questions. Which means some of you guys have great questions, as well. So be sure and send us your entry. The contest ends August 9. Click here for more information and rules.