The Melancholy Seewinkel

Lighthouse on Lake Neusiedl

For the title (and the rest of this article) to make any sense at all, I need to start this post with a quote, lifted directly from the website of the Neusiedllersee DAC Association  (or, as they like to call it, the Verein Neusiedlersee DAC):

“The Neusiedlersee vineyards are situated along the eastern shore of the Neusiedl Lake, ranging from the hills of the county capital, across the large wine growing community of Gols, over the flats of the Heideboden, down in to the melancholical Seewinkel.”

For those of us who are not too well-versed in the wines of Austria, let me break this down a bit:

  • Neusiedlersee is a politcal region as well as a DAC wine region located in the Austrian state of Burgenland.
  • One of the main geological features of the area is its namesake Lake Neusiedl—a large endorheic (closed-basin) lake that extends in a long, narrow swath between the  wine regions of Neusiedlersee and Leithaberg, and crosses over into the neighboring country of Hungary on its southern edge. The large water surface of the lake heats up in the summer and releases stored heat at night. Certain areas planted around the lake are conducive to the growth of botrytis, and the area is known for both dry, red wines and sweet, botrytis-affected white wines.
  • The vineyards of the Neusiedlersee are planted across an area of about 15 miles (25 km)—when measured from north to south—and are centered around the east side of the lake and extend slightly eastward from there.

  • Gols (located near the northern tip of the lake) is a town of about 4,000 people that is largely centered on wine in addition to lake-centric tourism (bird watching, lake excursions).
  • The Heideboden is a flat area located just to the south of Gols.  The name Heideboden does not show up on the wine map (or most other maps) as it is not an actual town or appellation, but is the traditional name given to the area between Lake Neusiedlersee and the Danube River.  Heideboden covers parts of both modern-day Austria and Hungary.
  • Seewinkel (which means lake [see] corner [winkel]) is the area located at the southern end of Lake Neusiedlersee, closest to the Hungarian border. The area has a unique microclimate due to the presence of many small lakes and ponds, and is well-known as a producer of botrytis-affected sweet white wines.  While grape varieties vary, Welschriesling is the focus. (The famous sweet-wine-producing town of Rust is just to the west, on the opposite side of the lake.)

Neusiedler See-Seewinkel National Park

The area of Seewinkle is well-known for its natural beauty which includes—in addition to vineyards—the Neusiedlersee-Seewinkle National Park that serves as both a park and a nature reserve. The park is unique in that it stretches across the borders of Austria and Hungary, where it is known as Fertő-Hanság National Park. Combined, these areas encompass the Fertö / Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. The park is famously home to over 340 species of birds and a landscape of sand dunes, reed beds, and shallow salt water ponds. Year-round activities include guided hikes, cycling, canoe excursions, photography classes and llama walks (yes, llama walks).

Once I figured out all of the above, I was still obsessed with why Seewinkel is described as “melancholy.” Hours of research failed to provide a solid answer, but I did find a few references to a certain melancholy beauty of the sunsets and a melancholy edge to the folk dances and traditional music of the area.

Reed Belt landscape in Neusiedler See-Seewinkel National Park

It certainly isn’t the wine!

Note:  The Neusiedlersee DAC is approved for Zweigelt-based red wines only, so the sweet wines of the area are labeled with Burgenland as their region-of-origin.

References/for more information:

The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas… missjane@prodigy.net

 

The Hunt for Red Mountain

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During the years when I taught my Professional Wine Studies class at a local culinary school, I had a standard set of wines I used on tasting days. Red wine day always included Napa Cabernet, Argentine Malbec, Australian Shiraz, Sonoma Zinfandel, Oregon Pinot Noir, and Washington State Merlot. You have to admit, it’s a pretty good flight for wine newbies.

My favorite wine to use for the Washington Merlot was from Fidélitas Wines. Fidélitas Red Mountain Merlot, to be exact. I adore that wine—rich with aromas of blackberry, strawberry, pomegranate, and dried cherry—with a hint of sage, tobacco, and rose petal as well. It was a great example of Merlot for my students, and remains one of my favorite red wines.

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When my husband and I decided to embark on a road trip after this year’s SWE Conference in Portland, we had the idea to drive through Oregon and Washington, down through Idaho, and onward to Salt Lake City (we’d fly home from there). This was a great trip, and we planned some wonderful experiences, including hiking though the Columbia Gorge, seeing the actual “rocks”of Milton-Freewater, lunching at the Crossings Winery in Idaho, and visiting Shohone Falls. But I had one main goal—to seek out and find the source of my long-time favorite Washington State wine: Fidélitas Red Mountain Merlot.

And thus began our hunt for Red Mountain.

To begin the hunt, we headed west from our hotel in Richland assisted by our handy rental car GPS device and anticipating an easy 15-mile drive. The first part of the drive was a bit confusing, as we rolled past suburban strip malls and then a whole lotta nothing…but then we experienced one of those magical wine touring moments where the lazy highway looped around a corner and suddenly we were at the bank of the Yakima River staring at an expanse of vineyards as far as the eye could see.

Obviously, we were getting warmer and when the GPS squawked at us to take a sharp turn off the highway and head north, we obliged. It wasn’t long until madame GPS told us get off the highway altogether and make a sharp U-turn and turn south, followed by a quick turn east. It made sense, seeing we were surrounded by vineyards, but the very road we had been ordered to take soon turned to gravel, and then to dirt, and then to cinder blocks, abandoned tractors, and  a few discarded washing machines. This was not the place.

Without beating the story to a pulp, let’s just say that after four more tries, we gave up on GPS and switched to iPad navigation—with the same results. After giving that a try, we decided to just drive around and see what we could find. We soon found a street called Antinori Drive. Well…what wine lover could resist a drive down Antinori Drive?

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We didn’t know it yet, but we had driven around in circles enough to find ourselves in the heart of the Red Mountain AVA, and as we slow-drove down Antinori Drive we passed Force Majeure Vineyard, Longwinds Canvasback Vineyard, and the Hedges Family Estate. We turned on North Sunset Road and stumbled upon Red Mountain Vintners and the Kiona Ranch at the End of the Road.

We decided to make our way home and opted for more scenery by taking a different road out—and drove directly into the parking lot at Fidélitas Wines’ Red Mountain Tasting Room. Of course, we made an afternoon of it and sampled an array of delicious wines—the Malbec and the Chardonnay were among my favorites—they were almost as good as the Red Mountain Merlot. They had a large map of the Red Mountain AVA on the wall and we were able to figure out where we had been (and how to get home in one piece). We purchased a slew of bottles, enjoyed the amazing view from their back patio, and even ran into some folks from the SWE Conference that had ended just a few days earlier. All in all, it was a pretty good day in wine country.

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Here are a few fascinating fast facts about the Red Mountain AVA:

  • At just 4,040 acres, Red Mountain is the smallest AVA in Washington State.  Just under 3,000 of these acres are planted to vines.
  • Red Mountain is a sub-appellation (along with Rattlesnake Hills and Snipes Mountain) of the Yakima Valley AVA (which is itself a sub-appellation of the Columbia Valley AVA).
  • The AVA  has an elevation of 1,410 feet (430 m) at its highest point.
  • The name “Red Mountain” derives from the invasive Cheatgrass that covers parts of the mountain—it turns a reddish color in the summer.
  • The entire AVA is located on the south/southeast slope of Red Mountain (which really looked like more of a hill to me) that faces the Yakima River. This combined with the northerly latitude (46°N) and minimum rainfall (just 7 inches in a typical year) means the area has long days, an extraordinary amount of sunshine during the growing season, and a large diurnal temperature variance.
  • Red Mountain is largely planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, but Syrah, Viognier, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Sangiovese and a smattering of other grapes are seen here as well.
  • In 2002, Quilceda Creek Winery used Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the Red Mountain and Heaven Hills AVAS to produce the first American wine from outside of California to earn a 100-point score from Robert Parker.  As of this year (2017), Quilceda Creek Winery has produced six wines that have earned “100 Parker Points.”

References/for more information:

The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas… missjane@prodigy.net

In my Mind I’m Going to Porto Santo

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Porto Santo is a Portuguese island located in the Atlantic Ocean, 27 miles (43 km) northeast of the island of Madeira. It forms the Madeira Archipelago along with the island of Madeira and a small string of islands known as las Ilhas Desertas (literally “the Deserted Islands”).  Porto Santo is a small island, measuring 9 miles (14 km) long and just 5 miles (7.7 km) across.

The earliest record of the history of Porto Santa dates from 1418, when a group of Portuguese ships were (accidently) blown into its sheltered harbor. The ships were in the service of Infante Henrique of Portugal, and had been blown off-course by an intense storm. They named the island Porto Santo (“Holy Harbor”), as their arrival in a sheltered bay during the storm was seen as the result of divine intervention. .

The Ilhéu de Baixo along the unpopulated northern coast

Geologically, the island is divided into two parts—the mountainous northeast, and a relatively flat coastal plain in the southwest, which includes a 4.5 mile-long (7 km) golden sand beach. Laid-back tourism is one of the main industries, and visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, motorbiking, off-roading, windmills, forts, or golf; and may choose to take a two-hour boat ride to Madeira aboard the ferry Lobo Marinh. Waterfront wining and dining may be found in Vila Baleira, the one and only “city” on the island.

History buffs can pay a visit to the Christopher Columbus House Museum and learn that Christopher Colombus was once married to a Portuguese woman and that they lived on Porto Santo for a period of time. Colombus’ wife, Filipa Moniz, unfortunately passed away during childbirth just a few years after their marriage.

Topographical map of the Madeira Archipelago by Bourrichon via Wikimedia Commons

In the 1420s, the Portuguese King sent a group under the command of Captain Bartolomeu Perestrelo to colonize the island. The group planted grapevines and sugar cane, and introduced rabbits to the island. The introduction of rabbits turned out to be not such a good idea, as they rampaged their way across the island and soon dominated the local environment. In a matter of a few (rabbit) generations, they basically ate everything else up.

Another not-so-smart move by these early settlers involved the local Dragon Trees. The valuable sap of the trees, known as “dragon’s blood” is a type of resin used for medicine and dyes. The colony chopped down the trees and literally bled the trees dry to the point that they became extinct on the island. As such, the island lost its original wind protection—and with the help of the ravaging wild rabbits—the area was left rather rugged, wind-blown, and barren. While it certainly has  its own style of natural beauty, the island has never recovered to its original lush state.

Despite the challenges, there is some viticulture on the island of Porto Santo. As Porto Santo is included in the geographic territory of the Madeira DOC, the Madeirense DOC and the VR Terras Madeirenses, these wines may be produced on the island of Porto Santo. Despite the limitations, grapes are a pretty big deal here—agriculture is limited on the island, making grapes, melons, and rabbit the three biggest commodities.

Grapes or wine from Porto Santo may also be sent to the island of Madeira for use in the wines bottled there. There are some obvious logistical challenges to such a project, however—it has been known to happen. For instance, the Madeira Vintners used Listrão and Caraco grapes from Porto Santo in their 2013 vintage. That same year, Porto Santo grower J. Santos produced a sweet white wine from locally grown Listrão as well as an off-dry white wine from the Porto Santo-grown Caracol grapes. You can read reviews of both of these wines on Niklas Jörgensen’s Mad about Madiera blog.

References/for further information:

The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas… missjane@prodigy.net

March of the Hybrids

Hybrid grape varieties—they are loved in Canada (Vidal) for icewine, in New York State (Cayuga) for sparkling wine, and in Texas (Blanc de Bois) for deflecting Pierce’s Disease.

In the European Union? Not so much. The EU has very little love for hybrid grapes, and only a handful of them are approved for use in quality wines—meaning they have made it onto the all-important Register of Approved Varieties. Ouch.

However….hybrid grapes are not entirely shunned in the vineyards of the EU. Here are three examples of hybrid grapes that marched right into the European Union where they were greeted with (somewhat) open arms.

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Baco Blanc: Baco Blanc is a hybrid of Folle Blanche (vinifera) X Noah (a seedling of Tyler—a natural riparia X labrusca hybrid discovered in Henry County, Kentucky—that for some spooky reason has a DNA profile identical to the Basque grape Hondarribi  Zuri). Baco Blanc was created in 1898 by François Baco, working in the Landes in southwest France, in response to the fact that Folle Blanche was not taking well to grafted rootstock.  The inventor actually named the grape Maurice Baco in honor of his late son, but the name Piquepoul du Gers was widely used in and around southwest France, leading to some confusion about the progeny of the grape. Baco Blanc is a light-skinned white grape with fairly neutral flavors and just a hint of the “foxy” shining through.

Baco Blanc’s claim to fame: Baco Blanc is one of the ten grapes authorized in the production of Armagnac, and is listed as an approved variety on all four of the decrets concerning the great brandy: Armagnac AOC, Armagnac-Ténarèze AOC, Bas Armagnac AOC, and Blanche Armagnac AOC. This makes Baco Blanc the only hybrid grape used in a French appellation d’origine controlee (AOC/PDO) product. Not bad.

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Regent: Regent (a red grape) was created in 1967 in Pfalz, Germany by a scientist named Gerhardt Alleweldt. Bred to be resistant to diseases of the fungus/rot/mildew variety, it is a hybrid of Diana (vinifera—Silvaner X Müller-Thurgau) X Chambourcin (itself already a complex French-American hybrid).  The grape was named after a famous diamond that once embellished the Crown of Louis XV (and now resides in the Louvre).

Regent’s claim to fame: Regent makes darn good wine. It ripens to high sugar levels, and can produce full-bodied wines with velvety tannins and aromas of red fruit (cherry, red currant, red plum). It’s so good that it often is described—in complimentary terms—as “vinifera-like” and “you can’t even tell it’s a hybrid.” Germany even managed to get it listed in the Register of Approved Varieties as a vinifera variety. There are currently over 5,000 acres (2,020 ha) planted in Germany, with additional plantings in Switzerland and England. In Belgium, it is an approved variety in the Côtes de Sambre et Meuse, Hageland, Haspengouw, and Heuvelland AOCs.

Rondo grapes photo credit: Dr. Joachim Schmid (Geisenheim University) via Wikimedia Commons

Rondo: Rondo, a red grape, is a hybrid of St. Laurent (vinifera) X Zarya Sevra (a Seyants Malengra X Vitis amurensis hybrid). Rumor has it that it was originally created in 1964 by Czech Professor Vilém Kraus, who later offered the grape to Dr. Helmut Becker of the Geisenheim Grape Breeding Institute—which explains why the grape is known as a German hybrid.

Rondo’s claim to fame: Rondo has been listed in the EU’s Register of Approved Varieties since 1997—interestingly enough, with the entry for “species” left blank (cue the theme to The Twilight Zone…) But all conspiracy theories aside, it seems that Rondo is a vigorous vine with excellent disease resistant, and as a bonus the grapes have red-colored flesh—making it a good blending partner for many cold-weather red grapes. It seems that despite its amurensis-linked heritage, the wines it produces are vinifera-enough in style to give it a spot on the roster.  Rondo is currently the number 4 red grape (by vineyard plantings) in England, and is planted in Germany (particularly in Baden and other areas near the southern portion of the country).

References/for more information

The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas… missjane@prodigy.net

All Out for Inulin!

Agave tequilana weber

Tequila owes its soul to inulin.

As such, perhaps many of us also owe our souls—and our marriages, friendships, and just-barely-made-it-out-of-college-alive stories to inulin as well.

Inulin is the substance present in agave sap that, after a bit of finagling, is fermented into alcohol and distilled into tequila. However, just like the starch found in barley, wheat, and rice—inulin has to be broken down into fermentable sugars before the magic of fermentation begins. This process is known as saccharification, which is just a fancy way to saying “breaking a complex carbohydrate down into its component sugars.”

Inulin is a type of complex carbohydrate known as a polysaccharide—meaning that it is a large, chain-like, sugar-based molecule. Starch, the well-known polysaccharide abundant in wheat, barley, and rice (as well as the foods produced from them) is a polysaccharide consisting of a many short chains of glucose molecules held together by molecular bonds. Grains (and other starchy foods such as potatoes) are typically soaked, ground, heated, and/or allowed to sprout in order to activate the enzymes that will split apart the molecular bonds and free the glucose molecules for fermentation. In humans, most people digest starch well—digestion breaks apart the molecular bonds and releases the glucose to be used as energy (if we get off the couch).

Common Chicory (cichorium intybus)

Inulin is a polysaccharide consisting of many short chains of fructose molecules held together by a unique type of molecular bond and bounded on each end by a glucose molecule. Inulin is used as a form of carbohydrate storage in plants that do not store or create starch. In plants, inulin is found mainly in the roots and underground stems (rhizomes). In humans, due to the nature of its molecular bonds, inulin is largely indigestible and is considered a type of soluble (water absorbing) dietary fiber.

In addition to agave, inulin is found in over 36,000 species of plants, including asparagus, artichokes, onions, bananas, and chicory. Inulin was first observed in 1804 by a German scientist named Valentin Rose. He noticed a “peculiar substance” in the roots and stems of the horse-heal herb—a relative of the sunflower plant that goes by the latin name of Inula heleniu.  After the substance was isolated, he named it “inulin” after the name Inula.

Inulin-rich agave hearts

In that wonderful circle-of-life process we know as tequila production, the heart of the blue agave plant is split open and slowly heated to release the sap.  But as we liquor store archaeologists know, what is really happening is that inside a long-chain polysaccharide known as inulin, the molecular bonds are slowly loosening their grip on the sugar molecules they once held so tight, soon to release a flood of fructose (and a little bit of glucose) into the world as simple, fermentable sugars ready to be transformed into tequila.

P.S. We do not advise anyone to rush to the grocery store and try to make liquor out of inulin-rich asparagus. But if you do, please let us know about it in the comments section (above).

References/for more information:

The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas… missjane@prodigy.net

 

 

 

Butterflies, Bubbles, and Birds: Christopher Merrett

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Christopher Merrett (1614–1695) is something of a hero to wine lovers, as we know him to be the first person to figure out that you could add sugar to a bottle of wine, cause it to re-ferment, and make bubbles! Put in more technical terms, he is acknowledged as the first person to deliberately create a sparkling wine via the addition of sugar.

So, cheers to Christopher Merrett, on that merit alone! However, as is generally the case with these scientists of yore, he accomplished much more than just bottling bubbles: he was, in fact, a member of the Fellowship of the Royal Society and studied metallurgy, glass making, plants, birds, and butterflies.

Merret was born in Gloucestershire in the southwest of England, and earned his medical degree at Gloucester Hall (which later became Worcester College of the University of Oxford). He practiced medicine in London, becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, and later became a founding Fellow of the Royal Society—the full name of which is officially “the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge.”

In other words, Merret became a founding member of the oldest “learned society” in the world. The Royal Society views its role as “promoting science and its benefits, recognizing excellence in science, supporting outstanding science, and providing scientific advice for policy.”

Christopher Merrett

Merrett was a keen scientific observer of the natural world and became quite famous for publishing one of the earliest taxonomies of the plants, animals, and minerals of the British Isles. Published in 1666, this work—Pinax Rerum Naturalium Britannicarum—is now acknowledged as the earliest work to contain a complete list of the birds and butterflies of England. He also had an interest in glass making and translated Antonio Neri’s L’Arte Vetraria (“The Art of Glassmaking”—written in 1612) from Italian to English, while adding 147 pages of his own.

A few things going on in the scientific community as well as English society helped to lead Merrett to his discovery. For one, the English glass-making industry had become quite adept at producing hard, durable glass through the use of coal (which burns hotter) rather than wood for fires. English-produced bottled were thus sturdier—and less likely to burst—than French bottles. In addition, the English imported cork from Portugal to seal their bottles while the French were still using wooden stoppers and cloth. Finally, the English had already acquired a taste for apple cider, which was sweet and flavorful—more so than the wine imported from France.

As such, English people became accustomed to adding molasses and sugar to their imported French wines. Soon enough, Christopher Merrett—a keen observer of the natural world if ever there was one—noted that if you added sugar or molasses to French wine, and stored it in a sturdy, coal-fired English glass bottle stoppered with a tight-sealing Portuguese Cork, you ended up with a lively, flavorful, bubbly wine that was a tasty as English cider. That was an “a-ha” moment if ever there was one!

The title page of Merrett’s Pinax Rerum Naturalium Britannicarum

In 1662, Merrett delivered an eight-page paper to the Royal Society detailing the use of sugar or molasses to give wine or cider a bit of fizz. In the words of Merrett, this was “to make them brisk and sparkling.” Keep in mind that this paper was delivered in 1662, several decades before Dom Perignon’s famous “Come quickly, I am drinking stars!” moment, alleged to have occurred in 1697.

Merrett was only mildly interested in wine, and soon returned to his observations on the rest on the natural world. In addition to his studies of birds and butterflies, he went on to present several more papers on many topics to the Royal Society. These included papers on such diverse topics as fruit trees, tin mining, and coastal geography. His interests, it seems, knew no bounds.

Note: Much of the information about Christopher Merrett and sparkling wine came to light courtesy of the British wine writer Tom Stevenson.

References/for more information:

The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas… missjane@prodigy.net

The Long Pour: Sidra de Asturias

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Apple cider and Perry (pear ciders) hold a dear spot in many European cultures: Normandy and Brittany are known for cider as well as apple brandy, the West Country of England prides itself on their unfiltered “scrumpy” cider, and a trip to Ireland is incomplete without a taste of Magners.

Spain is considered to have the longest continuous cider culture in Europe. Spain’s cider (sidra) production is centered in the regions of Asturias and Basque Country, located in the northern part of the country. The climate, cooled by ocean breezes and with decidedly more rainfall than much of the rest of Spain, makes for the ideal growing conditions for apples.

Asturias makes 80% of Spanish cider, produced by more than a hundred small producers with the help of over 250 growers. Sidra de Asturias was awarded denominación de origen (DO) status in 2003. According to the DO guidelines, the cider must be made exclusively with cider apples of specified varieties grown within the Principality of Asturias, and produced under strict quality controls.

There are currently three styles of sidra allowed to be produced under the Sidra de Asturias DO. They are:

  • Sidra Natural (Natural Cider): Natural cider is produced from any of the 22 approved cider apple varieties. The process begins with the harvest, grinding, and pressing of the apples to create juice. Next, the juice is allowed to ferment—typically in stainless steel, or perhaps in large chestnut barrels. The newly-fermented cider is then allowed to rest for a few months, after which it is typically decanted to remove some sediment. Sidra natural is fermented to near dryness and is unfiltered. Sidra natural benefits from a “long pour.”
  • Nueva Expresión (New Expression Cider): New expression cider is produced in a manner similar to natural cider; the difference being that new expression cider is filtered and stabilized before being bottled.
  • Sidra Natural Espumosa (Natural Sparkling Cider): Sparkling cider may be produced via the tank method or by a second fermentation in the bottle. These ciders are also fermented to dryness and can be classified as “brut” in style.

Sidra natural and other artisanal Spanish ciders benefit from aeration just before drinking; this helps to bring out the inherent complexities of the beverage as well as release some dissolved gas. This has given rise to a few colorful traditions, such as serving cider via a “long pour” with the bottle raised high above the server’s head, while the glass is held at arm’s reach below. This is termed escanciar la sidra, or “throwing the cider.”

Race of the pouring of sidra de Asturias in the town of Gijon

The long pour is serious stuff for sidra enthusiasts, and there are certain rules to achieving the perfect long pour. For starters, the glass is held with the thumb and forefinger, with the middle finger supporting the bottom of the glass (and the ring and pinky finger tucked away in the palm of the hand). The arm holding the glass must be stretched down straight with the glass held at the center of the body. The arm holding the bottle must be stretched straight and high above the head. When the bottle is tipped and the cider is poured, the stream of cider must find the glass while the glass stays still. It’s the responsibility of the cider-pourer to ensure that the cider foams.

The next time you are in Austurias, you’ll want to seek out a sidrería (cider house). It’s possible that your friendly neighborhood sidrería will serve nothing but cider, but it is also possible that they may serve a few pintxos and maybe even other types of drinks. If you visit in January, you can participate in the beginning of the txotx (pronounced “choach”) season. During txotx season, cider is served directly from the large wooden cask—actually, it is allowed to ‘shoot” in a very thin stream straight out of the barrel—while thirsty bar patrons take turns “catching” the cider in their glasses (held out at arm’s length).  Asturias sounds like a good place to be.

Well-known brands of Sidra de Asturias include J.R. Cabueñes, Herminio, Cortina, and Castañón.

References/for more information:

The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas… missjane@prodigy.net