The How To’s of Wine


How To Make Wine Food Pairing More Interesting

White wine pairing with fish, or was it chicken? Red wine normally goes best with steak, or is it pork? What should I serve with ribs? How does lamb even fall into this category? Sometimes pairing food and wine can be a complicated job.

Have you ever been left with the task of creating an important dinner party, and had no idea what wine to serve with the food? Have you ever felt lost while standing at your local wine dealer knowing that this dinner has to be perfect, but not having the background to select the perfect wine? Don’t fret, as you join the ranks of those who have come before you, take a deep breath and read on to help you understand complimentary food and wine pairings.

The Basics:

To begin and understand food and wine pairings, look no further than your own senses. Naturally, your tongue picks up the overall tastes: it tells you what is sweet, salty, bitter or acidic. Although, it is your nose that will help you to determine whether you like the wine or not. Some wines are more fruity and others seem to taste more “earthy”, and all of them can have you react differently dependent solely upon your sense of taste and smell. The reason this is important, is due to the fact that there can be a stark and unpleasant contrast when combining uncomplimentary flavors and smells.

Pairing Food And Wine:

A general rule of thumb in food and wine pairings is that red goes with red. What this usually means is that steak, ribs and even pork are best complimented by a red or heavier wine like cabernet, port or a pinot noir. Even though the pinot noir is a little lighter in color, it is a heavier wine and can compliment a dish like steak or pork quite well. While many people would serve beer with ribs, you can dress up that table by serving a similarly heavier wine or with a chilled white zinfandel.

When, however, you are serving lighter type meats, a lighter wine is normally the best compliment for your guests’ palates. So, when the plan for the evening is oysters, poultry, or cream sauces on pasta, then reach for the lighter wines: try serving a chardonnay with oysters, chenin blanc with poultry and those lighter pastas with sauvignon blanc. There are other possible combinations you can try, but these offer a good place to start.

Picking that perfect food and wine pairing for that dinner party should not be a difficult task. Just remember that it is going to be a palate thing dependent upon your sense of smell and taste for success. When you become more confident with your choices, feel free to experiment, because there are no food and wine pairing police to criticize you. Until then, you may confidently use the tried and true combinations given here to relax and enjoy preparing that party.

 

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How To Manage A Wine Cellar Successfully

If you own a wine club or are an avid wine collector, then it’s a must that you know the different aspects and benefits of a wine cellar. So read this article and study the meaning and various management aspects of a wine cellar.

Basically, a wine cellar is a kind of storage room or storage lot for wines in barrels or bottles. The wines could also be plastic containers, amphoras and carboys. The cellars are generally and prominently situated completely underground. These also have a direct contact with the surrounding soil following small gaps in the initial foundations.

These wine cellars provide the opportunity for protection of alcoholic beverages from prominently and typically harmful external factors. Moreover these provide a constant apt temperature and darkness to the wines. These are also used as modish surrounding for tasting of wine.

Well, the cellar management and wine management systems are reciprocals and dependent on each other. So let us study the various aspects of cellar management in the context of wine management system.

There are 4 basic elements that you need to manage in the wine cellar for elongated and effective storage of wine. These four elements are basically position, light, temperature and humidity. These four aspects need to be taken care off well, so that that every wine that comes out of the cellar tastes fine and people can enjoy it.

Position and Peace

The first thing which plays an essential part in cellar and wine management is the peace and position of the wines. The bottles need to be kept safely in a horizontal manner, so that they are not disturbed in any case. The reason that the bottles should be laid horizontally is that they should always be in touch with the cork and thus get prevented from drying. If the cork dries out, then the bottle would get affected by the bacteria, fungus and yeast, and this would later create off flavors in the wine.

It should be also ensured in the cellar room that the wine remains undisturbed for a very long time. As the time would pass, the wine would age and change itself in the bottle. It would continue to form sediments and these sediments should sink to the bottom of the bottle.

Temperature

Cellar management also requires that an appropriate temperature be maintained in the cellar. The wines in any case should be kept away from extreme cold temperatures and heat sources. The wines should not be stored in freezing temperatures which could cause the bottles to break. The wines should not be exposed to heat above 64F so that wines don’t get cooked up in the bottle and develop off flavors. So there should be maintenance of a constant temperature.

Light and Humidity

Wine should be protected from strong and direct sunlight as it could have an adverse effect on the body and aroma of the wine. Darkness is the best option that should be maintained in a wine cellar. The humidity factor should also be kept in mind and the humidity level should be maintained high to avoid cork shrinking from the outside.

 

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How To Play Cupid For Food And Wine

When it comes to food and wine, most people are brought up with the rule stating “red goes with red, white goes with white”, which means red wine goes with red meat while white wine goes with fish and poultry. Then came the “postmodern” maxim which says that ‘if you like the taste, the match is perfect’.

Despite the presence of these simplistic guides, many people still don’t know how to match food and wine well. The truth is, many really don’t know what tastes good and what doesn’t. Fortunately, the art of food and wine matching follows a simple logic that is quite easy to follow.

The bottom-line with food and wine matching is that the food should have an equal fighting chance with the wine and vice versa. Simply put, one shouldn’t dominate the other. When you bite into food, its tastes and pleasures should be enjoyed. When it is the wine’s turn to be sipped, it should evoke an equally pleasurable sensation. Now, when it is time to bite into the food again, it should be the star of that moment. And finally, when it’s time for the wine to draw, it should rise up to prominence once more. Learn the art of Wine Tasting

In short, the food should be able to replace the flavors of the wine with every bite, and conversely, the wine should be able to replace the taste of the food with every sip. When the combination isn’t good, one will overpower the other.

To achieve this, you have to take in consideration the dominant tastes found in both the food and wine. Sweet food, such as dessert, goes with sweet wine. Food with hints of bitterness, such as charbroiled meat, would go better with a bitter wine. Acidic foods or those foods that go great with a dash of lemon or vinegar, go with acidic wines.

Here is a short overview of wine flavors:

Acidic wines include Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, White Bordeaux for whites and Pinot Noir, Red Burgundy, Sangiovese, and Gamay for reds. Acidic white wines usually go well with seafood because of their delicate flavor. Acidic red wines go well with tomato based dishes and grilled seafood.

Wines with bitterness include Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Bordeaux, Red Zinfandel, and Merlot. These usually go well with steaks and roasts.

Sweet wines include Vovray, Asti Spumante, Chenin Blanc, or most German wines for whites and Lambrusco, Port, Sherry and Vermouth for reds. These usually go well with dessert or by themselves.

Matching wine with food is not that complicated with this simple guide. Happy matchmaking!

 

How To Pour The Perfect Glass Of Wine

To pour the perfect glass of wine you must take several steps:

Temperature Of The Wine:

The temperature at which a wine is served makes an immense impact on its taste. Serving wine while cool will mask some imperfections which is good for younger or cheaper wines. However, a warmer wine temperature allows a more full expression of the wine’s characteristics which is favourable when serving an an older or more expensive wine.

A bottle of wine will cool at about 2 °C (4 °F) for every ten minutes in the fridge, and it will warm at about this same rate when removed and left at room temperature. Obviously, the temperature of the room will affect the speed with which the wine warms up. If you need to chill a bottle of wine quickly, 35 minutes in the freezer will do the trick. Just don’t forget to take the bottle out!

Decanting The Wine:

Decanting is pouring wine into a container before serving. Decanting is typically only required with older wines or Ports, which contain sediment that can add bitterness to the wine.
Wine decanters may improve the flavor of older red wines.

Younger wines also benefit from the aeration that decanting provides. Of course, a wine decanter may also be used simply for aesthetic reasons.

Before decanting a wine that contains sediment, allow the bottle to rest upright allowing any sediment to sink to the bottom. Then slowly pour the wine into the decanter keeping the bottle angled so that no sediment makes its way into the decanter. The wine may be poured through cheesecloth to assist in filtering out any unwanted particles. Decanting wine should be done out of sight of any guests.

Pouring The Wine:

Still wines should be poured towards the center of the glass, while sparkling wines should be poured against the side, like a beer, so that unwanted bubbles do not show up.

To control drips, one can twist the bottle slightly while tilting it upright. When pouring wine, glass should be filled no more than two-thirds. This will allow guests to swirl the wine and smell the bouquet. A glass can always be refilled if desired. Of course, serve wine to the women and older guests first, then the men and end with your own glass.

Types Of Wine Glasses:

As important as serving temperature is the type of glass in which wines are served. The shape of a wine glass can affect the taste of the wine, and for this reason different types of wine are served in specific glasses. The three main types of wine glasses are as follows:

White wine glasses : shaped like a tulip

Red wine glasses : rounded with large bowl

Sparkling wine flutes : tall and thin

A suitable all-purpose wine glass should hold about ten ounces and be transparent to allow the taster to examine the color of the wine as well as its body Moreover, it should have a slight curve in at the top to hold in the bouquet. While an all-purpose wine glass is fine for serving a red wine, be sure not to serve a white wine in a red wine glass.

 

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How To Serve Wine

Perhaps you have selected an occasion to open that special bottle of wine that you have been saving, or maybe you are hosting a dinner party. Knowing how to properly open, serve, and enjoy your wine will make the experience that much more memorable, as well as allow you to experience the wine that much more fully. Wine service has a few basic elements of importance, including temperature of the wine, opening the bottle, allowing the wine to breathe, choosing glasses, and pouring.

The temperature of the wine when it is served is imperative. White wines should be served chilled, which can be accomplished in your refrigerator. Place your whites in the refrigerator one to two hours before serving, allowing their temperatures to drop to about fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit. White wines are served chilled due to their high acidity levels, which are moderated when cooled. Be sure not to store your wine in the fridge, however, as this can destroy the flavor, making it dull and flat. If you do not have two hours to spare, placing the wine in a bucket of ice water will effectively cool the wine.

Red wines are served differently. They can be chilled via refrigerator for thirty to forty-five minutes, until they have reached about sixty-two degrees Fahrenheit. This is considered “room temperature.” Reds are served at a slightly cooler temperature because it slows down the evaporation process, which will improve the bouquet and flavor of the wine. If you serve red wine at an overly-chilled temperature it will take on a bitter taste.

Should you forget about the red wine in the refrigerator and it becomes too cold, there are various remedies to this situation. Try pouring the bottle into a warm decanter or warm wine glasses. If you are in a real jam, you can use the microwave, but use caution; cooked wine is not good. Place the bottle in the microwave for only about fifteen to twenty seconds.

After you have prepared your wine to the proper temperature, it is ready to be opened. Begin by removing the metal foil that surrounds the cork. This can be accomplished with either a specialized foil cutter or a sharp knife. Most all in one corkscrews will be equipped with this type of apparatus. Be sure that no jagged pieces remain, as they can be very sharp and cut your fingers when you are pouring, or cause the wine to dribble out all over. Remove the cork with the corkscrew. Should you experience problems with the cork, such as splitting, you may be left with no choice other than to push the cork back into the bottle. Using a small skewer to hold back the cork, pour the wine into a decanter, straining it with either small vegetable steamer or coffee filter. This will ensure that any damaged cork does not appear in your next glass of wine.

If you are de-corking a sparkling wine or champagne, use caution. These bottles are opened by twisting off a metal guard. Use a spoon to achieve this as it is much easier on your fingers and nails. Untwist the guard carefully, and then pop the cork off with the bottle facing away from yourself and other guests. Be sure not to have shaken up the bottle in the process, or the instantaneous contact with the open air will cause an eruption of your wine.

You may choose to allow your reds to breathe directly after opening, especially for that serious bottle. Pour the wine into a decanter and allow the wine to open up for a couple of hours.

After pouring, you are ready to choose the stem-wear for your wines. The most common of glasses is the tulip shape due to its wide bowl and narrower top with long stem. This makes an ideal glass for swirling the wine, as it gets a lot of movement with little fear of spillage. The narrow top also traps the bouquet, making it more able to deliver the fragrance. A long stem is advisable for holding the glass during enjoyment, as this prevents any change in temperature. Using this type of glass is usually acceptable for both reds and whites, especially if you do not want to have to clean more than one round of glasses.

There are a new variety of wine glasses available; those without stems. They sit up on the bowl of the glass. They allow the wine to breathe wonderfully during consumption and display remarkable aroma. They can cause the drinker to leave fingerprints on the glass as well as change the temperature by constant handling, but the choice is yours.

Be sure to fill your glasses about half way, especially since most of the glasses we use are considerably large. This also gives the wine a chance to breathe upon pouring, as well as allow for swirling. Be sure to serve light bodied before full bodied wines, and young before olds. This keeps the palate fresher longer.

 

How to Store Wine

Having invested possibly hundreds of dollars in your latest bottle of vintage wine (ah well, we can but dream), the next important decision is where to store this prized possession?

The main issue when it comes to storing wine is that it needs to be maintained at a cool temperature of between 12 and 16 degrees Celsius. Shoved under the bed won’t do.

Many modern wines do not need to be aged over a great period of time; therefore extensive cellars are often unnecessary. Having said this, if you have the time, space and resource to excavate a cellar, your wine will surely benefit. A purpose built cellar is not normally an option for most households and so suitable alternatives must be explored.

Ideal areas for storage include a corner of a garage, garden shed, an unused fireplace or a cupboard that is against an outside wall.

Wherever you choose to store your wine, a few basic criteria are worth keeping in mind.

Choose an area that is less likely to be subjected to fluctuating temperatures caused by household heating systems.

Wines benefit from being kept in dark conditions. Although this is not always practical, wine should certainly be stored in an area that is not exposed it to direct sunlight.

As a final point, always store your wine bottles on their side. Corks are designed to be kept moist, so that they remain airtight and do not crumble when a corkscrew is inserted.

Bear in mind that some wines do not benefit from being stored at all. If you have poor or no storage facilities available, consider purchasing wine that matures quickly such as most white wines or new technology reds or, possibly, a new Beaujolais.

Move wine as little as possible once it has been placed in storage, unless of course it is being moved into a glass!

If you have a particularly special wine collection, it may be worth engaging a specialist company to store your wine for you (Oops, I’m dreaming again). Good storage has been recognized as vital for many wines and as such, many companies now provide storage facilities. Of course, this does not come cheap and is best reserved for those very special bottles or for those experts who are considering selling their wine on, at a future date.

 

Jason Smith

Former Marine, IT Guy & Builder of Websites.  I have 5 US states left to visit. I enjoy hot springs, adventures, hiking, photography, sci-fi, wine, coffee & whiskey.  I am fluent in sarcasm, name that tune, & speak in movie quotes.  I spend most of my time building websites, fixing computers, metal detecting, magnet fishing and gaming occasionally.

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