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Frost Bite? Ice Wine Is More Than Just Frozen Grapes

Frost Bite? Ice Wine Is More Than Just Frozen Grapes

Rodríguez participó de reunión ampliada de ministros de Obras Públicas de todo el país
Source: Flickr

One of the most rapidly growing trends in the world of wine seems to be with the rise in popularity of ice wines (or eiswein in German). This is interesting because these wines have been around for almost 200 years yet have not had much time in the spotlight until recent history. The most famous ice wines are from Germany, however many other countries such as Canada, Austria, and even Australia have been known to produce ice wines of their own. Because Canada is much colder and is capable of more consistent freezing temperatures has actually surpassed Germany in the production of ice wine.

Ice wine is a dessert wine that is made from frozen grapes. Only the water freezes in the grapes, so when they are pressed frozen, the juice that is extracted is very concentrated and very sweet. This freezing must happen before fermentation, and the grapes need to be pressed frozen, otherwise the water will melt in the grapes and you will not have the concentrated juice required for ice wines.

Natural ice wines require a hard freeze to occur after the grapes have ripened. In Canada, this temperature is a minimum of 17 degrees Fahrenheit while in Germany this temperature is 19 degrees. This means that the grapes must remain on the vines for several months after a normal harvest and risk being lost to rot if there is no freeze. At the other extreme, if the freeze is too severe the grapes can not be harvested and pressed. Because the fruit must be pressed while it is still frozen, pickers must work late in the night or early in the morning and work while the cellar workers must work in unheated spaces to ensure the grapes do not thaw.

Sometimes wine makers prefer to use cryoextraction. Cryoextraction is a mechanical freezing that is used to simulate the effect of the natural frost that occurs so that grapes can be picked sooner and made into wine. In Germany and Canada, wine created this way can not be called ice wine, only wines which have been frozen naturally are allowed to be called as such.

Whereas regular wines might take days or weeks to ferment, ice wines can take months due to the higher sugar content. Even though it is normal for the sugar content in ice wine to run from 180 g/L up to as high as 320 g/L ice wine remains very refreshing because of the high acidity. Ice wine usually has a medium to full body, with a lingering finish while the nose is oftentimes reminiscent of peach, pear, honey, caramel, and green apples depending on the varietal grape. Pineapple, mango, and even lychee are quite common aromas with white varietals however this list is by far not exhaustive.

Because the juice from the grapes is more concentrated than regular wine, there is a much smaller yield. It is for this reason as well as the methods used that make ice wines more expensive than table wines. Ice wines can cost as much as $300 a bottle, which is why it is often sold in half bottles for as little as $50. Grapes that have insufficient brix (sugar) content can not be made into ice wine and are therefore usually sold under the label “special select late harvest” or “select late harvest” at a fraction of the price of true ice wines.

When to drink ice wine is a matter of personal taste. Some people believe that ice wine improve with age and supporters claim that the very high sugar level and high acidity preserve the content for years after bottling. There are then others who believe that with age the wine loses its distinctive acidity, fruitiness, aroma, and freshness. Being that ice wines are very versatile in this, when you decide to drink your ice wine depends on when you feel it tastes best.

Ice wines are becoming the latest trend in the wine world and it is easy to see why. Delicious and refreshing, ice wines are a delicacy and a testament to the skills of the wineries. More expensive than a traditional wine, it is not something that the average person can afford to purchase on a regular basis, but are an essential addition to a special occasion or meal.

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Top Beach Vacation Spots In The World

Top Beach Vacation Spots In The World

Sydney Opera house roof
Source: Flickr

One of the most telltale signs of going on a luxurious vacation is having a tan. If you want to impress your friends when you return from your next vacation you should choose one of these great beaches.

1. Copacabana Beach, Brazil

With clear sandy beaches and sparkling water it is rated as one of the best beaches in the world. With a backdrop of the rolling hills of Brazil, you will not only find yourself tanning here but also enjoying the beautiful scenery. In addition to being a great place for tanning and for enjoying the landscape, Copacabana Beach is rarely quiet. There is always something happening on this beach so get out there if you can.

2. Waikiki Beach, Oahu (Hawaii)

This is a paradise for vacationers. You will be able to sit in the sand and watch the surfers along the two mile long beach. Hawaiian beaches offer soft sand and spectacular sun. Be sure to stick around at night to see the beautiful sunset across the horizon.

3. Crete, Greece

Greece is naturally one of the most beautiful areas in the world to vacation. As a coastal area, it has over 100 miles of luxurious beaches for you to enjoy. Try the area of Rethimno on the islands northern coast. The beach is beautiful but tends to be crowded, as it is one of the most popular spots on the island. If you are looking for a place to tan in solitude then try elsewhere, as there are plenty of small, secluded beaches scattered around Crete.

4. Baby Beach, Aruba

The soft beaches of Aruba are one of the best beach vacations because the water is so calm and shallow. You can put out a low beach chair for the day and just relax and read a book. If you would rather work on your tan than take a dip, you can spread your beach towel out in the soft Arabian sand that lines the shore of Baby Beach.

5. Newpoprt Beach, Southern California

As one of California’s top beaches, Newport provides a hint of the American dream. Lounge with other vacationers and sunbathe or slip into the water for a while. Lifeguards are only on duty during some times during the year.

6. St. John Island, Virgin Islands

St. John Island is technically a National Park. It is located in the beautiful Carribean and the lands are highly undevelopped. Beaches such as Cinnamon Bay are beautiful and also very remote. Bring your significant other or your whole family.

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Recipe: sourdough sopapillas

Source: Flickr

Sourdough Sopapillas
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons shortening
Cooking oil for frying

Measure starter into a large bowl. Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles cornmeal. Add starter mixture to dry ingredients. Stir quickly with a fork to moisten dry ingredients. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, adding small amounts of flour as needed. Cover with clean cloth and let dough rest for 5 minutes.

Roll dough out into a 12 x 15-inch rectangle about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick. Cut into 3-inch squares or triangles.

Drop a few pieces at a time into deep, hot cooking oil at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Fry about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Sopapillas will puff up like pillows. Drain on paper towels.

Serve warm with honey and confectioners’ sugar or cinnamon and sugar. Or you can serve as an entree topped with chile verde or chile colorado.

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Hitting The Links In Aruba

Hitting The Links In Aruba

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Though much of Aruba is dominated by an arid landscape, there are still several stretches of green ideal for one of the world’s favorite pastimes.
Despite the fact that the small island of Aruba has fewer golf courses than some other Caribbean destinations, the sport has long been a popular activity for locals and visitors alike. Beginning golfers and children can participate in lessons and golf clinics at a number of sites, while true enthusiasts can enjoy an 18-hole gem designed by one of the world’s leading architects. As you enjoy the sites in Aruba, consider taking a break to hit the links amongst some of the most beautiful scenery on earth.

The finest of Aruba’s golf courses – Tierra del Sol – rests amongst the picturesque desert beauty of the island’s northwestern coast. Designed by world-renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., Tierra del Sol is notable for its harmonious integration with the natural landscape. With fairways weaving through patches of cacti and impressive rock formations, the course offers players a golf experience unlike any other in the Caribbean. One of Tierra del Sol’s signature holes – the perilous 3rd – lies atop an imposing cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Tierra del Sol is also known for its vibrant wildlife, including lizards and salamanders that spend their days basking in the sun and a community of elegant egrets that inhabit the salty marshes of the 14th hole.

If that isn’t enough to lure you to the championship-caliber links at Tierra del Sol, the course has plenty more to offer its visitors. Regardless of season, the greens fees include the use of high-tech golf cart equipped with communications systems. In addition to serving as both caddies and scorekeepers, the carts allow golfers to order food and drinks from the clubhouse while on the course. Before heading out on this challenging course, novice golfers and children may want to take advantage of Tierra del Sol’s half-day golf clinics. Offering several hours of instruction and priced at just $45, the package even includes a free lunch in the clubhouse.

Another great place to work on your skills while visiting the island is Aruba Golf and Leisure. With a 300-yard driving range, an 18-hole putting green complete with a chipping area and affordable club rentals, Aruba Golf and Leisure provides everything you need to enjoy a relaxing Caribbean afternoon. As the practice facility is open daily from 7am to 11pm, Aruba Golf and Leisure serves as a great way to unwind after a day of shopping or sightseeing. Much like Tierra del Sol, the site also offers golf clinics throughout the day. These reasonably priced lessons typically last an hour-and-a-half and include a voucher to the neighboring House of Cheng Restaurant.

The newest course in Aruba is the charming 9-hole spread known as The Links at Divi Aruba. Designed by celebrated Caribbean golf course architects Karl Litten and Lorie Viola, The Links at Divi Aruba chose to incorporate paspalum grasses – one of the best surfaces for seaside golf courses. Set amongst the luxurious resorts of Oranjestad, nearly every hole makes use of shimmering natural lagoons and incredible Caribbean scenery. When you’ve finished your round, you can enjoy a luxurious meal at the on-site restaurant Windows or visit the bistro for a quick snack.

Located near Aruba’s second-largest town – San Nicolas – the Aruba Golf Club is a simple 9-hole course that has been a local favorite for years. What the course lacks in distance and difficulty, it makes up for in scenery. Residing in the undeveloped countryside on the far side of the island, Aruba Golf Club allows golfers to enjoy a relaxing round while admiring the cacti, waltzing goats and endless Caribbean horizon.

For those that enjoy golf on a smaller scale, Aruba’s Adventure Golf and Fun Park can’t be missed. Holding the self-proclaimed title as the world’s largest miniature golf course, Adventure Golf and Fun Park also features attractions such as paddleboats and other water toys. Located in central Oranjestad, the park has long been a favorite destination of both local and visiting families.

While Aruba is still in the process of becoming a premier golf destination, there are plenty of great courses to visit for a relaxing day in the sun while in Aruba. Furthermore, as most of Aruba’s golf sites are family-friendly, you won’t find a better active pursuit to unwind after a day experiencing the sites on of one of the Caribbean’s most exciting islands.

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Printed Postcards vs. E-Postcards (Which prevails?)

Railpage Albion Camera #3 Rail Movement Detection
Source: Flickr

Postcards have gone a long way already. From the first printed postcards used in Austria at around 1969 to the state-of the-art postcards that we are having now, we can say that postcard printing industry has accommodated immense changes and growth.

The very first printed postcard was used to provide a chief means for brief communication. They were famous in Austria and because of its practicality, it was copied by the European countries including Great Britain. These printed postcards were just plain and unadorned. The message can be found on the other side while on the other half is the address of the recipient. It was only in 1902 that pictures was introduced to postcards. The early photographic cards were printed in Germany. This is because the latter was more advanced when it comes to photo-reproduction that the rest of the states.

With this innovation, printed postcards became more picturesque and comprehensive. They included different subjects like places, people, cartoons and fine arts. This change made printed postcards popular not only in Europe but in other continents as well. In addition, some of these postcards were made collectors items.

Since the inception of the Internet, e-postcards are slowly replacing the printed ones. Finding the right message and image is not that taxing when it comes to e-postcards. They Net displays a wide-variety of postcards from different occasions, places, people and other artsy stuffs. Sending them is not that burdensome anymore. You just click on the mouse and there it goes. You do not have to haggle with a postcard printing company. Another advantage is that e-postcards are cheaper. Sometimes you can even send it for free.

However, a great percentage is still in favor of the conventional printed postcards. They are saying that printed postcards make them feel special. Hand or mail delivered postcard is still more personal. This is because you can actually feel it, hold it, keep it, display it on your board or ref. You do not need electricity to send it on. Printed postcards also carry more personal designs and formats. They reflect the effort to show how special the recipient is to the sender.

Whether we like the classic or the modern way of sending postcards, the choice is ours to keep and enjoy!