Tips

Wine selections at Scotties LiquorWine Tips

How to get to know the true character of a wine? Here you’ll find out how to help a wine express itself in full, enriching your tasting experience.

Temperature
It is often said that red wine should be served at room temperature, but this is the case only if this temperature is not above 18ºC (64ºF). Also keep in mind that some lighter reds, like Pinot Noir, can be drunk at slightly cooler temperatures so if the day is hot or you prefer such wines a little cooler you can chill the bottle in the fridge for a few minutes before serving.

White wines need to be mildly chilled but don’t overdo it because freezing cold will subdue some of the aromas and flavours.

  • Sparkling serving temperature 8°C to 10°C (46°F to 50°F)
  • White serving temperature 8°C to 12°C (46°F to 54°F)
  • Red serving temperature 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F)

Glasses
Yes, the shape of the glass does affect the taste of the wine. Find one that’s narrow at the top and fill it halfway up. By releasing the aromas, then trapping them in the narrower opening they’ll become more concentrated. Sparkling wines deserve a similar glass to still wine. Having a slightly tapered top to the glass will help to maximize the bubbles and the aromas.

It is also recommended to only wash your wine glasses in warm water, to prevent detergent residue affecting the flavour or impacting bubbles in sparkling. If possible, allow to drip-dry or use a good quality cloth to avoid getting lint on the glass. If using a dishwasher do not wash with food utensils or soiled plates and remove glassware after the rinse cycle to ensure residue in the steam does not redeposit during drying.

Storing
Wine is best stored under cool, dark, airy conditions, free from vibration, odours and dampness.

The most important factor is temperature stability. Keep the temperature constant between 12°C to 15°C (54°F to 59°F) with a relative humidity of 65% to 75%. Temperatures above 18°C accelerate the development of your wines. A wine fridge or efficient cellar is a great way to ensure you can keep the temperature and conditions as consistent as possible.

For screw-cap wines, this optimal seal means there is no requirement to store bottles on their side and they can be kept upright or on their side.

For cork, however, bottles should only be stored on their side, with the neck sloping slightly upwards so that the cork remains wet otherwise it increases the chance for oxidisation and damage to your wine.

Cellaring time
The optimum drinking time is different for every wine and is impacted by a number of factors including grape type, wine style, wine quality and vintage, packaging, cellaring conditions and winemaking techniques.

Some people prefer the taste of younger wines which may offer more fruit characters, others enjoy a little age to offer some softening while still having fruit and others love the layers, integration and changing flavours of wines aged to their threshold.

Regardless, there is no exact way to determine when the true ideal time will be because every wine is unique. However the characteristics of the wine interpreted by winemakers, combined with their experience, can give some good indications, so it is best to refer to the back label or tasting notes as a guide. A number of wine media will also taste and recommend an ideal cellaring window.

For those serious about cellaring wine, the best thing is to do research on the variety and wine to understand the predicted window for optimal drinking, get a few of the same wine and try it throughout its lifespan to make your own decision on when you think it is best.

Evaluation
Always remember, your palate is like your fingerprint, everyone is different. As such, be comfortable in what you smell and taste. Assessing a wine is basically about three things.

  1. How does the wine look?
  2. What does it smell like?
  3. How does it taste?

Above all, wine should never be confusing and intimidating. It should be enjoyed. After all, the most important wine critic is you.

Article courtesy of Jacob’s Creek (link)