Branch Manager for PRP Wine
A majority of wines sold today are to be enjoyed young. Most mid-priced wines stored in a rack survive around 12 months. They begin losing peak flavor if kept much longer unless stored in a cellar or specialized wine refrigerator.
Red and Old World wines benefit from cellaring (storage in a controlled light, temperature and humidity environment.) Racks should be solid as vibration can damage complex chemical reactions during the maturation process.
Certain high quality wines (mainly red and Bordeaux) benefit from decanting, which means introducing oxygen to the wine to improve flavor. Methods include mini aerators that fit on the bottle, or handheld aerators held over a wine glass.
Another type of decanter is a large glass open-topped container. Carefully open the bottle after it has been standing upright for 24 hours. Using a candle or bare light bulb as a back light, gently pour the wine into the decanter, stopping when unwanted sediment nears the neck of the bottle. Don’t decant wine overly long as too much oxygen ruins flavor. Sample until you like the taste and then enjoy.
There is a proper order for serving wines. One way is to pair the wine with foods. However, for a multi-bottle wine tasting, there are several considerations to keep in mind:
- White before red
- Dry before sweet whites to avoid making wines taste more acidic
- Light before heavy reds since heavy reds make light reds too light
- Lower quality before higher quality
Most wines call for similar glassware styles. As a general rule, the glass should have a stem to avoid contacting the bowl. The bowl should be large enough to allow for swirling the wine and have a narrower rim for directing the bouquet to your nose. The glassware should not be cut, colored or etched to allow for the best viewing of the wine. The only wines that absolutely require a different glass are sparkling wines or champagne. They should be tall, thin, straight glasses that show off and retain the bubbles.
Drink wines at whatever temperature you enjoy best. However, here are some guidelines:
- Sparkling Wines should be around 45 degrees.
- Light, heavy aromatic wines should be around 50 degrees.
- Chardonnay and white burgundy should be around 53 degrees.
- Light and medium body reds should be around 55 degrees.
- Full bodied reds should be around 60 degrees.
As a general guide, I use the rule of 20. Put reds in the refrigerator 20 minutes before drinking and take white wines out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before drinking. You can always experiment on your own with your favorite wine by taking it out of the refrigerator and sampling it every 15 minutes until you find the temperature that works best for you.