Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ask Corque: What are some Product Recommendations for Saving Wine?

We received a question tonight from a reader!

Reader: If you don't finish your bottle of wine, what do you recommend for a product to store and preserve the wine?

Thanks for this question! I'd like to spend a bit more time on answering this because, I'm sure more than a few of us wonder.

Unfortunately, when wine is expose to air you are already losing the battle of wine preservation. There are a few things and gadgets you might want to consider purchasing for short term storage, but overall I'd probably say that its not really mandatory. You could even just put the original cork back into it and be done.

If you are still considering some options for wine storage you can look at a couple that I've tried and had some mild success.

The first one is the Vacu Vin wine stopper / pump system that removes the excess air from the bottle. It's relatively inexpensive and easy to use. The kit comes with multiple stoppers for both reds and whites. We found this in multiple places online, including Amazon and Wine Enthusiast.

I thought this was fine for one of your regular drinking wines rather than a special collectible wine from your cellar. The reason is that I don't really think you want to chance this system taking out 'too much' air and then sending the wine past its prime. That'd be a big waste. (photo credit:

The next one is the Metrokane Champagne stopper. This one does a reasonable job with holding the bubbles back in the bottle. When a cork comes out of a sparkling wine it won't fit again, so either you drink it all, or you invest in one of these to hold your wine for at least a day or so.

You probably still won't get the same result as the first day opening but maybe it'll give you one more day or two to still enjoy it. I found this item on Amazon. It's another inexpensive gadget to get for in home wine storage. (photo credit:

There are a ton of other popular wine preservation methods which I haven't tried. One would be the decorative bottle stopper. Isn't that just a glorified wine cork? I say stick with just using the original wine cork, it probably seals it better anyhow.

Give any of these a try and see what you think? One thing I do want to advise everyone is to keep your wines stored in a cool place like your home fridge. The kitchen counter is not the place to store wine, especially after its been open. You'll wind up having an ample supply of cooking wine by being negligent.

To our reader - we hope this helps you. Let us know if you have any other questions! Send an email to

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Corque Advice: Why You Need a Wine Cellar

For those of you who are starting to collect and accumulate a few bottles of wine, it might be a good idea to start thinking about purchasing a specialty wine cellar / fridge for your home storage.

In our modern built homes, we are well insulated with no real place to store wines in a cool and dark place; at least that's how it is in our house.

We decided to buy a self standing wine cellar when we moved into our new house, because we started purchasing wines that needed to be stored and aged in the bottle, gradually over time. I was reading all these articles about wines being ruined from improper storage, and that got us thinking about the wines we owned. If we are willing to plunk down the money for such high end products, we should then take necessary steps to preserve the wine just like at the winery.

If you've had the opportunity to visit a winery or even a wine store that has a special cellar built, you'll notice that wines are stored at a cool 55-58 degrees in a dark room. Wineries who direct ship won't even send any wines unless the weather cools down. The winemakers and wineries take their craft very seriously to create a beautifully tasting and properly stored wine for their consumers.

An in-home wine cellar / fridge will emulate the similar storage facility of a winery cellar where you will get to set temperatures to the 55-58 range, the humidity will stay balanced for the appropriate cork moisture, and the cellar / fridge will be nice and dark just the way the wines like it.

Quick Definitions:

  • Wine Fridge: Short term storage for wines that don't need long term aging. The unit will usually be smaller than a cellar
  • Wine Cellar: Long term storage for collectable wines
Now what type of wine cellar or fridge do we recommend? It really depends on your budget. We happen to have a Eurocave that we bought from Wine Enthusiast. What we do recommend is that whatever size you 'think' you need for your cellar, just double it and you'll see that it'll fill up quickly!

Let us know if you need any help with wine cellar shopping. We've been through the process and it can get confusing. Just ask us!

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Corque Link Sundays - July 25, 2010

There is a lot of great information out there on the internet and Twitter. We want to share a few with you weekly on Corque Link Sunday.

If you are in the LA area, this is our second post with more summer events. There are just so much to do, we love this time of year:

In other news:

  • Beer Cocktail Recipes Chelada / Michelada
  • Vintage Cocktails mixed together and then aged in barrels like wine. Very interesting.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hello Summer

If you live in Southern California, you'd know that our June gloom sort of turned into July gloom for the first part of the month. Summer came a little later this year, and Jeff couldn't stop complaining, "WHERE's the SUN?!?!".

Well, the summer had finally arrived a couple of weeks ago and we thought we'd just put together something easy and enjoy the warm weather for a little bit.

A nice giant plate of salad's usually my food of choice on a summer night, so I tossed some salad greens, chopped up an apple, sliced an orange, tossed in with some almonds slivers & raisin.. and Voila~ Dinner is served :)

Before you call me the laziest housewife, let me tell you how I went to our local beverage store and started searching on something cool and easy to drink for the occasion. I searched high & low and thought about Belgium and Japanese, eventually the Anchor Steam Summer Ale caught my eye. Since I'm a big fan of Anchor Steam, and I've never had their summer ale before~

And look at the bottle!!

Isn't it adorable? Don't you feel nice & refreshed already?

We paired the salad w/ the beer and it was definitely a light meal for the both of us. The Summer Beer tasted a little more bitter than my palate is used to, but it was a nice change regardless. We now have it fully stocked in our fridge along with a dozen others..

Think you and your fridge is ready for the summer?

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Lakers Victory Meal Revealed - Prime Rib, Beer and Wine!

For those of you who have been following this whole Lakers vs. Celtics bet, you'll know that Chris and I finally paid off our debt in the form of a homecooked meal.

We polled our readers and asked for your opinions on food and wine pairings with each course. Thanks to everyone who decided to cast a vote on their preferred choice for the wine pairing! We really appreciate your feedback and it's kind of nice to know you are out there reading our blog!

The white wine received an overwhelming vote for Joseph Phelps, 2008 Viogner, Napa Valley. The Viogner was paired to go with the Tuna Carpaccio first course.

The red wine didn't get as many votes so game time decision was made to go with the Pride Mountain, 2006 Spring Mountain, Napa Valley. This wine was paired with the main star, Prime Rib served with purple and gold potatoes, and a side of sauteed asparagus.

Both wines were really nice accompaniments with their paired dishes. The Viogner had a lot of vanilla, some oakey flavorings and smelled so crisp. It was a very delicious. In addition, the Cabernet Sauvignon was black cherries and floral on the nose. It was delicate and yet still strong at the same time. My mouth was singing when I had it along side the prime rib.

If you know us well, you'll know that we won't just be drinking the two bottles of wine with dinner. In fact, while we were preparing dinner, the boys decided to polish off three 22oz beers together. After that, we had a bottle of Champagne Blanc de Blanc to kick start the meal.

When we finished off the Champagne, we then had a bottle of Sancerre. If you aren't familiar with Sancerre, Chris described it to us as a Sauvignon Blanc. I could related to a Sauvignon Blanc, so when I drank the wine I knew exactly what she was talking about.

Finally after those, we were ready to pour the reader's choice wines during the meal service. I must recap here some of the key things that our husbands said to us in regards to our cooking skills. We got glowing reviews of the tuna carpaccio, "You've never made this before? It's really good!" Finally when we served up the prime rib, the boys actually didn't really speak much. All we got out of them was mostly silence and the clanking of forks and knives and their ooo's and ahh's between bites of prime rib with mashed potatoes. One thing Jeff did manage to say was that "our prime rib was better than Lawry's." I got to say, that is a HUGE compliment, because I love Lawry's! At the end of their cut of prime rib, the boys were like animals when the two of them picked up the large beef rib bone to eat as much as possible. Afterwards, they were both in pain. That was funny to watch.

In total, we had 3 large bottles of beer, followed by 4 bottles of wine. Now that I put them all together, we really look like lushes. We were in good company and so good wine was just flowing throughout the night.

Look for our detailed reviews of the wines that we drank throughout this week and next. We just wanted to make sure you got some information on the dinner after all this hype! Maybe the boys will even post about their perspective on the meal. They were after all the lucky ones to get a gourmet meal made at home!

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Corque Link Sundays - July 18, 2010

There is a lot of great information out there on the internet and Twitter. We want to share a few with you weekly on Corque Link Sunday.

It seems like with summer upon us, there are a ton of festivals going on:

If you happen to be traveling this summer, maybe one of these festivals will fit into your travel itinerary, and also support small, local food, wine and beer makers.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Note Exchange 101

We are going to start a series called the Note Exchange, it's basically what we txt/im/write short email to each other when we are apart. It's meant for ourselves to chronicle all things that happens from this point on, and we'd like for you to share it with us! Yes. This is how us girls are, over-communication is key to a successful relationship, especially between girlfriends :)

Bette Bette,

I miss you. Is it weird that I miss you since I just saw you last Friday and I'm seeing you again on Saturday? Maybe it's the Laker games. I'm used to seeing you every other day and having our cook-off during the playoffs. I miss you dearly~ And I'm so glad that we'll be seeing each other soon! (even tho we'd be the boy's cooking slaves ...Lol.)

Then I thought about Willamette. How it was just the girls, venturing throughout the wine country. How much fun was that? It's probably the best bachelorette a girl could've ever asked for, and it was then that we thought we'd just GO FOR IT. And thank goodness, we haven't killed each other.

Let's try and do a girls trip every other year. There are too many places to go and not enough vacation time, but I thought every other year isn't too much to ask for. Right? Now where should we go? How about some Spa resort?

You know, where the boys wouldn't be caught dead going, but the girls would have a grand-o-time :)

See you on Saturday!!

xoxo, C

In Willamette, OMG I look so chubby! ~ Chris

C -

It's been a tough week and I am glad that it's almost over. Thank goodness for wine being my friend this week. I really can't believe some of the dumb stuff that went on over the last couple days. Oh well, not going to think about it anymore. It's over.

Oh, I ordered the prime rib for Saturday. I'll be picking it up tomorrow. I loveee this butcher for his dry aged prime rib roast meats. Now you'll get to see what all the fuss is about with special ordering this cut of meat. We haven't had a dinner night in with the boys in a while so I can't wait!

Did you see the picks that our readers selected for our two courses? It looks like Joseph Phelps Viogner is the winner for the white wine. What happened to the red one choice?

The trip to Portland was so nice. Our dinner at the Painted Lady was so amazing. I think we tried everything on the menu and oh the wine pairings were spot on! Do you still have that list? I'd love to buy that wine list and relive that meal again. Hopefully we get to do something like that again soon?!

Yay to Saturday's dinner and to lovely company!


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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wine can Help You Relax after a Bad Day

Tonight, I came home after an exhausting and frustrating work day. I think instinctively, and from reading my furrowed expression; my husband poured me a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Spring Mountain, Napa by Chateau Chevalier.

I had my first sip and I instantly felt better. It had been a bit warmer out today than the last few weeks, so white wine really hit the spot. It was a light, refreshing, and crisp on the tongue and a fragrant and mild nose. It's like the bad feelings of the day just melted away.

I found a Yahoo! article on the 8 Perfect Sleep Better Foods. This is what they had to say about wine:

It's called a "nightcap" for a reason--a glass of wine really does take the edge off. University of Toronto researchers discovered that one alcoholic drink caused people's blood vessels to relax--but two began to reverse the effects, so limit your intake. Relaxed blood vessels means lower blood pressure, slower heart rate, and greater ability to relax in general."

This does support my feelings tonight after I had my single glass of Sauvignon Blanc. I do appreciate that they mentioned that one is the magic number when wanting to relax, because moderation is key. I wasn't interested in getting drunk.

By the way, have you tried this wine I described tonight? It is a bottle we picked up at good old Trader Joes for $10. I really liked it, and I would whole heartedly recommend this pick for a summer go to wine on top of my other picks. Add this to my list!

*If this label sounds familiar to you, then maybe you remember that the winemakers of the Wan/Fiore project recommended the Cabernet Sauvignon of this same wine label in their interview with us.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Prime Rib Recipe and the Wine Used when Cooking

I asked a few readers if they were interested in seeing my Prime Rib recipe. Turns out there was some interest, so I'm posting it here today. Also, I am going to describe the red wine that I will be using to make the au jus sauce. If you happened to have read my earlier post about only using wine for cooking that you would drink, you could understand why I want to write about it here.

Prime Rib Recipe: serves 8-10 people

  • 9-12 lb Prime Rib on the bone – should be about 4 bones
  • 3 Carrots, peel and chopped into large chunks
  • 2 Onions, chopped into chunked pieces
  • 2 cups of water, add more if necessary
  • Horseradish for dipping

Herb Blend

  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 Tbs fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs salt
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 15 oz cans of beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine, Cabernet or Pinot Noir
  • 2 tsp butter

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Prepare the spice rub in a small bowl to ready for the meat. Trim some of the fat off the prime rib. Rub olive oil on the meat and then take the spice rub and evenly spread around the meat.
  3. Take a large roasting pan with rack. Add vegetables to the bottom of the rack and place the meat on top of the vegetables. Pour the water onto the vegetables.
  4. Cook the meat at 450 degrees for 40 minutes. Turn the heat down to 275 degrees for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the internal temperature reaches 130. Check that the pan has enough water for au jus. add more if needed.
  5. When it is ready, remove from the oven and cover and allow to rest before eating.
  6. Reserve 2 cups of drippings for au jus. Strain and defat the drippings into a pot and deglaze on the stove with the beef broth and red wine. Add the butter towards the end, and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Carve tableside or onto a platter. Serve with the horseradish. I am also going to roast potatoes to go along with this great meat.

Now for the wine. For my birthday a few months ago, I received a number of wines as gifts. It was nice that everyone brought so many different wines to try! One of the bottles was actually a Cabernet Sauvignon by Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Claret {1910 Type) 2007 Black Label. I believe this is a wine you can find at Trader Joe's for about $15. For a Cabernet wine, that price is decently affordable.

Tonight, I did a sample test with small glass. The nose was black cherry, blackberries and some tobacco. I also got some alcohol scent too. There was a short finish in the middle of the tongue, and then after tones of alcohol. I think this wine is probably going to be an average drinking wine, but a good wine to cook with because of the potential sweetness from the reduction. The alcohol taste will also cook out, but the fragrant nose will remain for us to enjoy in our prime rib.


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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Corque Link Sundays - July 11, 2010

There is a lot of great information out there on the internet and Twitter. We want to share a few with you weekly on Corque Link Sunday.

Hope that everyone had a nice 4th of July holiday! Chris and I were both away for weddings. She went to Hawaii, and I went to Las Vegas! Vegas for a wedding was definitely a new experience, but a lot of fun! Did you have a chance to look at our BBQ and summer picnic tips last Sunday?

This week we saw some South African wine articles in honor of the World Cup Finals. We hope you enjoy reading a bit about the history of wine in South Africa.

The people of South Africa are very proud of their wine. My sister's father in law made sure that my husband and I received a few bottles Kanankop Pinotage wines as a wedding gift. It was even carried back to the states from Cape Town!

Happy World Cup Finals Day! Whatever the result, it will be a long hard fought battle to declare the winner. Good luck to both teams!

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

True or False: Only Cook with Wine You Would Drink?

I just had this thought today when reading over my prime rib recipe. As some of you readers may know, Chris and I are going to be making a multiple course meal in a couple of weeks. One of the steps in the recipe calls for a cup of red wine to be added to the beef stock and drippings for an accompanying au jus sauce.

For many years, I've always heard the saying that "You should never cook with wine that you wouldn't drink." How extreme should you take that statement?

Am I supposed to pull out wine from our cellar to slow braise osso bucco? I really wonder whether or not its an accurate statement. When you cook wine, or food for that matter, for several hours at a time it tends to break down and meld its flavoring together. The original wine taste is no longer the star of the dish. Now, you have the combination of meats and wine tastes forming a separate new delicious flavor.

Maybe our food blogger friends and chefs can weigh in on this question. I'm no chef, but I do consider myself a pretty decent home cook. I have experimented plenty enough in the kitchen to know that certain wines that I may not drink, I would not hesitate to cook with it.

It has nothing to do with price, there are plenty of affordable wines that we love to drink. Think about the $13 Italian beauty that Chris wrote about a couple months ago. It's more about the wines that do not have the desirable aromas or the flavors to my liking.

One thing I do want to note is that there are some types of wines that I wouldn't even cook in food. The ones that are called "cooking wines" are not worth the money and wouldn't you just grab a $10-$20 bottle of wine you thought was passable to drink a little and then cook the rest? There's really no need to have a special wine just for cooking. The only caveat I see to this would be some of the Asian rice wines that have a special flavor that grape wines can't really imitate.

Lastly, if you really love a bottle of wine wouldn't you want to keep it to actually drink it? I know this is what I would prefer to do anyday.

What's your experience with cooking with wine? Do you agree/disagree with my perspective and opinion?

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Corque Link Sundays - July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

There is a lot of great information out there on the internet and Twitter. We want to share a few with you weekly on Corque Link Sunday.

By the way, some of the suggested links were from a reader! Thanks so much Mark L for helping us with the 4th of July - Summer BBQ and Picnic Edition.
  • 7 Myths about Grilling Steaks
  • Keep the bugs at bay without bug spray
  • Shower curtain liner doubles as a picnic blanket liner
  • Summer cocktail recipe made with beer and vodka. Interesting...
  • Esquire Magazine: Summer beer upgrades - pick something new to try
  • Homebrew Beer to save money
  • Esquire Magazine: The 9 worst beers in America - Beer + Clamato? Ugh.

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Reader's Choice: Which wine shall pair w/ the prime rib?

see how the boys won their meal in part 1.

see which wines we have in store for the Tuna Carpaccio in part 2.

The guys asked that we make Betty's famous Prime Rib for their main dish.
photo credit: Lawry's

Prime Rib isn't difficult to make, but to achieve a prime rib that will last in one's mind forever & ever? Betty tells me that the secret is a good slab of meat from a trusted butcher and a lot of patience. Since it is Betty's signature dish, we thought we'd accompany the recipe & process on a later post.

We know that to pairing with the Prime Rib will need some substance and boldness in the wine~

So we decided that it'll be a race between the Cabernet Sauvignon:
  • 2006 Pride Mountain Vineyards, Spring Mountain, Napa, Ca
  • 2005 Chateau Montelena, Calistoga, Napa, Ca
  • 2004 Nickel & Nickel, Coombsville, Napa, Ca
Help us decide which bottle shall accompany the feast that we're about to make in 2 weeks!!

Either leave us a comment on the post, via Facebook or Twitter 

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sometimes you're just really wine'd out.

I drank more beer than I did wine on my trip to Philadelphia this past wk.
Thinking it has something to do with hot summer days.

Beer just seems to work..
Especially when you're really hot, and REALLY THIRSTY.

Luckily for me, Philly is a very beer friendly town!

Knowing how much I dedicate myself to the Corque mantra (wine, beer, stories), my friend D took me to four beer spots in 2 days!!

Next time you're out in Philly, don't forget to visit these places!!

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