Thursday, October 1, 2009

Helpful Wine Tips

“You can’t drink wine all day... if you don’t start first thing in the morning.” - Dan Burke-

Storing an opened bottle. People often ask me how to store an unfinished bottle of wine. Having never experienced an unfinished bottle of wine, I had to do some research on this predicament so that I could pretend that such an occurrence had happened at least once and that I knew what to do.

White wine is easy.....just stick the cork or screw top back in (or on) the bottle and put it in the refrigerator. It should last up to 4-5 days. The wine air pumps have become popular but I find them unnecessary. The wine tastes the same to me with either method, at least up to 4-5 days. Longer than that, a pump may be an advantage.

Red wine has two options; if the wine will be consumed the next day, put the cork or cap back and leave it on your counter overnight. Not only should it be drinkable the next day, but often, red wine actually improves because of “breathing” due to contact with air and the wine may soften overnight. If the wine will not be consumed the next day, then put it in the refrigerator. It will not soften as much as the previous option but it will last 2-3 days, usually. After that length of time, the wine will slowly oxidize to a point that it becomes undesirable.

Removing a wine label. Literally, this is a very HOT TIP. Ever want to remove a label either because it is attractive or because it will help you remember a wine that you really enjoyed? You don’t need to soak it for hours in the sink before trying to pull or scrape it off which often results in a cute little pile of label confetti. First, fill the empty bottle with hot tap water and let it sit for two minutes. Next, empty the tap water and refill the bottle with boiling water and let it stand for 3-4 minutes. Grab a corner of the label and gently pull. The label should easily peel off in one piece for your wine scrapbook.

Wine Serving Temperatures: The proper temperature for serving wine will show off the particular characteristics of the varietal. If served too cold, the flavors are hidden. It’s like eating a frozen pizza while it’s still frozen. If served too warm, the taste of the alcohol can be overbearing. When serving red wines, “room temperature” really means “cellar temperature,” which is 55 degrees.

Red wines should be served between 60-64 degrees.
Ports - 55-58 degrees.
Rose’ - 55 degrees.
Viognier - 52 degrees.
Chardonnay - 48-50 degrees.
Riesling - 45-48 degrees.
Champagne - 45 degrees.

Okay, okay, how do you distinguish between 52 and 55 degrees without a wine thermometer? I can’t. Just chill your reds in the fridge for half an hour or so before serving and chill your whites in the fridge overnight (then let them warm in the glass) or put them in the freezer for an hour before serving. Don’t over-chill chardonnay, though, as the aroma and taste is really dampened if too cold. Maybe a wine thermometer is the way to go...

“Wine gives a man nothing... it only puts in motion what had been locked up in frost.” -Samuel Johnson-


At November 19, 2009 at 12:40 PM , Blogger Angie said...

Loved your description of the Livermore trip. Think we'll plan a stop there when we are up the coast visiting family in Tiburon!
PS Impressed with your "Raven" theme and variation!
Angie and Brad

PS The wine tips were VERY helpful. Learned a lot!


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