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November 7, 2014     Cape Gazette
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November 7, 2014

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] i IiE jlJfl~ I tL~ ! I I ~U I ,i ~98 FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7- MONDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2014 Cape Gazette IIII nce again, it's time for I produce managers at our grocery stores to .... tock their shelves with bags of fresh cranberries. Since the fruit is typically harvested between Labor Day and Hal- loween, we're beginning to see them at the market - just in time for the holidays. Cranberries belong to the same botanical family as blue- berries, and both join Concord grapes as the few native North American fruits that continue to be commercially cultivated. Originally called craneber- . ies, they were named for their blossom's resemblance to the sandhill crane. Native Americans were well acquainted with cranberries, re- lying on the fruit for food, dye and medicine. Cranberries were a key ingredient in the original version of a high-energy bar known as pemmican, a combi- nation of deer fat, dried meat and crushed cranberries. The cranberry's deep scarlet color roved an excellent textile dye, and its astringent proper- ties were helpful in treating wounds. Early European settlers who came to North America learned the various uses for cranber- ries, including their value as a bartering tool and export crop. Whalers and fishermen learned the importance of cranberries in preventing scurvy, and the bright red fruit found a niche on sea voyages. One of the unique features of the cranberry is how the vines are grown. They favor condi- tions that include acidic soft, flesh water and bogs compris- ing sand, peat and clay. Natural- ly occurring bogs were formed by glacial deposits, and com- mercial cultivation mimics this environment. Contrary to the common misconception, they aren't actually grown in water, but beneath a layer of damp, sandy soil. To mature their fruiting buds, cranberries require a grow- ing season that includes a long dormancy period of cold tem- peratures - a feature of northern New England and Canadian winters. This hardy vine does not need to be replanted each season, but can survive indefi- nitely if not damaged. Some of the vines in Massachusetts are said to be over 150 years old. Harvesting techniques have not changed much over the years - the berries continue to be scooped from the bog - but CRANBERRY AND APPLE TART is just technology has improved the tools. Berries for the flesh-food market are dry-harvested with walk-behind machines that comb the berries from the vines into burlap bags. The berries are graded by color and bounce: they're tossed against barriers made of slanted boards where the firmest berries bounce over the barriers while too-soft specimens fail the test. right for Thanksgiving. Cranberries destined for juic- ing, drying and other processing are wet-harvested. The bogs are flooded with water which is stirred with reels (called egg beaters) to separate the ripe berries from their vines. Small air pockets inside the cranber- ries cause them to float to the surface where they're collected, lifted onto conveyor belts and sent on their way to fill cans JACK CLEMONS PHOTO and jars. When selecting fresh cran- berries, choose firm berries with a uniform red color. Avoid any that are broken or mushy. If you don't plan to use them within a few months, spread the berries on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze them; store them in zip-top bags for up to a year in a freezer. Continued on page 99 wrote this before the elec-r tion had finished, so I'm unsure if it's the thrill of ,victory or the agony of defeat. Just to be on the safe side, I am reviewing wine appropriate for the thrill of victory so at least "fhe winners will be fueled up for Return Day. I've found the defeated will take solace in aearly anything with alcohol. If you are one drinking from the bitter cup, please don't drive or ast aspersions toward the op- position I saw a bunch of long- time pals working the election points under $68. station. Thank you all for taking When many read Niepoort, time from your busy schedules they think of Port. However, to provide this important public Niepoort Vertente Douro service. 2010 opened my eyes to the Tanzer writing in IWC diversity of this old line Port recommended Frank Family mainstay. Priced under $20, Carneros PN 2012. Winemaker 92 points. Needs a bit of cellar Todd Graft kept it 10 months on time. It spent 18 months on oak. 35 percent new French and the Ruby color, opens to berries, rest in one and two fill French black pepper, plum and cherry oak. Ruby red, it opens with aromas. A complex wine with strawberries, black cherries, a a nice mineral, acid, tannin bit of eucalyptus, floral notes structure with tannins slightly and some oak-driven spice. On elevated, indicating cellar time. the palate cranberry, vanillin, Finish is very long. some roast nuts riding a nicely Arnaldo Caprai Montefalco balanced frame with soft tan- Rosso 2010 is another inter- nins. Bountiful fruit drives a esting wine. Blended of 70 clean, sweet finish, 89 pts when percent Sangiovese, 15 percent bought under $35. Sagrantino and Merlot, it is Frank Family was named dark ruby-colored. The nose Winery of the Year in 2012 by is complex with raspberries, Connoisseurs Guide to Cali- violets, tea, and licorice. On the fornia Wine in the December full-bodied palate, look for crisp 2012 edition. Big buckaroos may acidity, blueberry and sour want to buy up to their Lewis cherry flavors. The finish is acid Vineyard Reserve 2012, 93 bright with a dose of smooth tannins, 90 with 2 price points under $21. Tua Rita Perlato del Bosco RossoToscana 2011 has great QPR on sale under $25. Gal- loni said 93 and WA 91. A nice Sangiovese in the old Chianti style with dark cherry, roses and dried lavender bouquet. It is a soft wine, smooth and full bodied, with a lovely finish that has hints of cherry and licorice, 91 points under $29, drinking well now through 2020. Nice article from Snooth on the work of harvesting wine. Kind of dispels some of the romantic notions and enforces others, articles/5-reasons-working-har- vest-is-harder-than-you-think/. The 2009s are finally declin- ing in price as the hype wanes in intensity. If you compiled your list, now's the time to start buying Bordeaux, Greece and parts of Italy. I found a real bargain Greek wine, Ktima Biblia Chora, priced under $15. Nice dark ruby-purple colored with a smoky black cherry nose that has hints of cedar and toasted oak. On the palate, ripe black fruit flavors with firm tannins and spicy nuance. Long, clean finish 88 points. Zachys late fall auction Oct. 21 went off on the very high end. For those who occasion- ally write to scoff at my posit that smart wine people can make big bucks, check out these few numbers. A case of 2005 Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2005 went for $18,375. Initially sold in 2007 for $ 7,250. Lalou Bize-Leroy Criots Batard Montrachet Domaine d'Auvenay 2001, released in January 2007, sold initially at $682/bottle, At the auction, six sold for $13,475. Just remem- ber this is not a no-brainer, as my gin-playing buddies may say, but the downside is being forced to drink great wine. Go here to see auction numbers: http://www.zachys. com/auctions/Default. aspx?Auctionld=171, if you love fine wine, you should visit this auction or a comparable one, at l least once in your lifetime. Email John McDonald at chjonmc@yahoo. ? i com.