am often asked the following questions:
At what temperature should wine be served?
Should I decant the wine before serving?
How should I store an opened bottle of wine and how long will it
stay before it goes bad?
examine the standard industry figures for serving wine.
Based on my research I find that most of my industry books say
white wines are too cold right out of the refrigerator. Sweet wines such as White Zinfandel and Rieslings are usually
better colder but delicate and Oaked wines tend to loose flavor when
they are too cold. This
fact is true for most wines served when they are too cold.
The overly chilled wines will seem flat and tasteless.
I have friends that will only drink red wine cold, because the
cold masks all the flavors they dislike.
Now this isn’t the classic way to enjoy red wine but if it
works for you, great!
for your white wines chill them in the refrigerator and take them out
about 15 minutes before serving.
will allow them to shake off the extreme chill and start to show more of
the fruit they have to smell and taste.
quick chill a bottle of any white or sparkling wine don’t put it in
the freezer, use ice water. That’s
right, be sure to use lots of ice and add water, this will chill the
bottle cold in 15 minutes. This
is much quicker than using ice alone.
red wines are served at “room temperature”.
However, when most of the books were written about storing wine
at “room temperature”, they weren’t keep rooms at 70 degrees.
If you get a red wine too warm it suddenly gets sweet and very
mild tasting. A lot of the
books now say to serve wine at cellar temperature or about 55-60
degrees. My cellar is set
at 61 degrees and I find that serving my wine right from the cellar is
just a bit too cold. I will
allow the wine to open for a while or shake off the chill and then
serve. The same properties
for serving white apply to serving reds, if its too cold it will mask
the wines flavor. I don’t
check the temperature of my wine to get it perfect, although one of my
friends did give me one of those gadgets that do that as a gift one
year. Just use common
sense. If you put a wine
outside in 80 degree heat, it’s not going to taste like its suppose
purpose of decanting wine is to allow oxygen to enter the wine, thus
breaking open it’s fragrances in order to experience the full
character of the wine. Once
oxygen has entered the wine, it’s fragrance and taste will continue to
change over time. To see
how a wine changes once its opened, the next time you open a red wine
and don’t consume the bottle in one night, make observations of the
wines subtle changes over the next days.
wines should not be decanted.
are delicate, even though some have a lot of Oak, the act of mildly
swirling in a glass is more than enough.
really depends on the wine and your previous experience with it.
If we are dealing with a Talus Cabernet, usually a $10 or less
bottle of wine, the need to decant is highly unlikely.
That’s because most of the average grocery brands are ready for
immediate consumption. 99%
of the worlds wine productions are meant for immediate consumption.
1% is meant to be stored for later consumption and improved
quality of taste.
a 1997 Far Niente Cabernet. This
wine shows an extremely dry character and softens with age. By putting
the wine in a decanter and vigorously swishing it, the wine will begin
to open up and show its fruit character.
every wine is different. The
character of the wine when opened will determine its path as it turns. I find that most wines are good going into the third day.
After that, most of the time distinct changes are occurring
making the wine very different that when first opened.
Some people like a wine better after its been opened a day, and
there’s nothing wrong with that.
You can sometimes achieve the same changes in a wine by decanting
it when opened.
last longer by putting opened bottles in the refrigerator.
The coldness slows down the process of degradation.
Store opened whites in the refrigerator if your not going to
finish consuming them within two to three days.
Then pour a glass as you want from the refrigerator and allow it
to warm up slightly to get the most flavors from your wine.
Red wines will last weeks if stored by using an item called
Private Preserve before corking the bottle. We use this everyday at our
shop. The Private Preserve is a Nitrogen gas blend that when sprayed
into the bottle puts a blanket of heavy gas that floats down and lies on
the wine. This puts a gas layer between the wine and the air in the
bottle, allowing the wine to stop turning bad. When used every night
when done, we have had a bottle last up to three weeks and taste as good
as the day we opened it. Most wine shops can acquire it for about $9.99
a can that protects up to 35 bottles.
increase the life of opened sparkling wines, store them in the
refrigerator either with 3 raisins in the bottle or with a silver spoon
placed upside-down in the bottle.
don’t know why it works, but it does.