Sunday, December 28, 2008

Break out the Champagne!

Happy New Year everybody!

If part of your new years celebration includes raising a glass of champagne with your friends here are a few brief things you might find interesting about this celebratory wine.

  • Champagne is produced in the region in France that bears its name. Generally champagne grapes are either chardonnay grapes, which are white, or pinot noir or pinot meunier grapes, which are red (the process using the red grapes produces white champagne wine).
  • The bubbles and "pop" in champagne is traditionally produced by a process of double fermentation. After the initial fermentation, at which time the wine looks and acts like regular white wine, a little sugar and yeast are added to the bottles for a second fermentation. The bottles rest for at least a year before they are given another little dose of sugar and wine, corked and then rested again for months or even years. This process creates the long lasting tiny bubbles that look so cool in your glass.
  • If it's not made the traditional way or is produced outside of Champagne, France it's not true champagne; it's called sparkling wine.
  • To properly open a bottle of champagne, and avoid wasting wine and possibly hurting someone or something with a flying cork, hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle, hold the cork tightly, and rotate the bottle rather than the cork as you separate the two.
  • Champagne should be served chilled, at around 45 degrees, and in a champagne flute, the tall stemmed glass that highlights those beautiful tiny bubbles so well.
  • Bottle sizes vary greatly with champagne. Many bottles larger than a magnum are named after biblical figures, with the Nebuchadnezzar sized bottle being the equivalent of around 20 regular bottles.
  • Dom PĂ©rignon, the famous Benedictine monk, didn't invent champagne, although he was born in Champagne, France and did have much to do with further development in the method of producing champagne. An English physician by the name Merret is credited with being the fellow to first document the process of making champagne or sparkling wine.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday wines, mmm...mmm...good

I can't believe how quickly this month is going by. It seems like it was just a day or two ago that we had the Holiday Wines & Tapas event. Attendance was sparse, with only five or six people joining the fun because of the weather, but fun it surely was. I can honestly say that whether the group is large or small I fully enjoy these events. We always have a good time and always come away learning something new and tasting something delicious.
The mulled wine was a huge hit with everyone. We used a delicious Von Stiehl apple wine for the mulled wine. The recipe we used is in the previous post on this blog, and this is surely going to be a regular holiday wine for us from now on. Of the regular, "un-doctored" wines, again it was two Von Stiehl wines that were the clear favorites: their Naughty Girl red and their Christmas Blush (you might say that Von Stiehl winery was the star of the night).

Naughty Girl is a red grape wine with 20% raspberry wine, with an extra kick from the addition of a grape brandy. Christmas Blush is a semi-dry white, blushed wine made from Door County Montmorency cherries, very smooth with just the right amount of mellow sweetness. If you're looking for a delicious holiday wine, something that everyone will find delightful, you can't go wrong with these. And to make them even more appropriately Christmasy the labels on their Christmas Blush and Christmas Wine show wonderful vintage holiday scenes.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Today's Special & Mulled Wine

Check out today's "12 Days of Christmas" special over on our main Stumpjack Coffee get $5 off Thursday night's Holiday Wines tasting. BTW, it's a today-only-special so you have to be quick.

What a wonderfully frosty evening (the thermometer says 1 degree right now) for some mulled wine. Here's one recipe:
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1 bottle wine
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 6 to 8 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • orange peel from 1/2 orange
  1. Pour wine (non-oak barrel aged wine) into a pan and heat on low.
  2. Cut the zest off half an orange - remove the bitter white pith part.
  3. Lightly pound the pieces of zest to release the aromatic oils. Add the zest and a little juice to the wine.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients.
  5. Stir occasionally, but don't bring to a boil.
  6. It's ready to serve once it gets hot. Ladle into a mug but strain all the spices out first.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Intimidated By Wine?

Do you enjoy wine but find it all a bit intimidating? should not be intimidating or pretentious! One of our goals at Stumpjack is to be a wine bar without the intimidation. Wine should be something you enjoy for your own personal taste preferences. If you don't know much about wine, not to worry, you've come to the right place. Learning about wine can be quite pleasant and fun. As you try more and more wines, your awareness of flavors and personal preferences will develop. With a little experience (the fun kind, like you get at a Stumpjack wine tasting) you can start down the road to being a true wine aficionado!

Holiday Wines & Tapas

Join us for
Holiday Wines & Tapas Tasting
Thursday, Dec. 18th

members $15
non-members $20

Friday, December 12, 2008

Anytime Fitness party

Last Saturday we had the pleasure of hosting a wine tasting party for the gang of Anytime Fitness. Thank you Mike Langley from Anytime Fitness.

Enjoying wine and friends

Anytime Fitness pals

Kim talking about the wine and tasting notes

Tim Hand "Rising Star Award", Jolynn Jones "2008 Club of the Year - Manitowoc",
Mike Langley Owner

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pastry and Coffee = sooooo good

Here's Brian Powell's thoughtful review of tonight's tasting:

"It was fun to meet Jennifer and taste her treats. I'm not a big sweets fan, but hers are more natural with the organic ingredients and extra effort she puts into them. She has many subtle flavors and textures that make each bite fulfilling and adventurous at the same time.

There were a couple of items (such as the raspberry topped cherry cream mini-cheesecake cup) where I just closed my eyes to avoid being distracted so I could concentrate on the senses that were being tantalized, namely my taste buds. The apple crumble was also one of my favorites, but the raspberries that were precisely placed on top of this treat looked too perfect to be real, so before you bit into it you had to admire its natural beauty.

The coffee made for a natural balance or contrast of flavors. We enjoyed the whole experience..."

Click the image above to enlarge and get a closer look at some of Jennifer's creations. Click here to visit her tantalizing blog.

A couple spots still open

It's almost 11:30 at this post. Tonight's tasting of holiday flavored coffees and Uniquely Yours pastries kicks off at 6:30 and we have four spots open yet. If you want to partake just give us a call to reserve your spot (553-5282) before 6:30.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holiday pastry and coffee tasting

Thursday Night Tasting
Join us for a
Holiday Event...
Stumpjack Coffee &
Uniquely Yours Pastry
Thursday, Dec. 4...6:30-8:00pm
members $10*
nonmembers $15*

Sample decadently delicious seasonal coffees and out-of-this-world pastries specially made by Jennifer of Uniquely Yours Pastry Shoppe. Let us know if you are planning on coming.

Becky Markvart will be serenading us with beautiful Christmas music.