You have selected the best possible wine you could find, have assembled the equipment you need and have chilled your wine in that cooler that has gotten rave wine cooler reviews. Now all that is left is to open the bottle. For some people, the mere thought of opening a bottle of wine can invoke sheer terror. All they can think about is struggling with the cork in front of guests, or even worse, breaking off the cork in the bottle. That doesn’t have to be the case, however.
Opening a wine bottle doesn’t have to induce symptoms of anxiety. All it takes is having the right equipment, knowing the proper technique and a little bit of practice. This guide will help you with these first two parts, but the practice is all up to you.
The Traditional Corkscrew
I have found that the easiest corkscrew to use is the traditional corkscrew, otherwise known as the waiter’s corkscrew. These corkscrews come with four components that make them ideal for opening a bottle of wine effortless. They contain a curved body that matches the angle of your palm, a foil cutter blade, a screw and a hinged lever that provides leverage to pull the cork out of the bottle.
To use this corkscrew to open a bottle simply follow these steps:
- Cut away the foil from the top of the bottle. You don’t have to remove all of the foil, only about a ½ inch or so. This prevents the wine from coming into contact with the foil as you pour, which can alter the wine’s taste profile.
- Insert the screw into the center of the cork and begin to slowly turn it clockwise. Be sure not to go all the way through the cork as this will introduce pieces of cork into your wine. Just enough so that the screw is securely anchored in the cork.
- Rest the lever’s small hook on the edge of the bottle. This will create a pivot-point and give you the leverage you need to pull out the cork.
- Pull out the cork and you are all done.
The Butterfly Wing Corkscrew
Another tool used for opening wine bottles is the wing corkscrew. To use this tool, first cut the foil off of your bottle using a Sommelier Knife. After you’ve done that, push the tip of the wing corkscrew into the center of your wine’s cork. Put down the wings of the corkscrew on the neck of the bottle and begin screwing. As you do this, the wings on the opener will begin to rise. When they have reached a 90 degree angle with the rest of the bottle, then you can push them down with force. This will cause the cork to slowly pull out of the bottle. And that is all there is too it.
As you can see, opening a bottle of wine is not as complicated as it seems. In fact, with a little practice it will seem like second nature. Once you’ve mastered it, then you will no longer have those dreaded panic attacks when your remove your wine from your best wine cooler and begin to open it.
In the first part of our guide How To Buy A Wine Cooler, I showed you some of the basic features you need to consider before purchasing a cooler. The things which were covered include temperature range and bottle capacity. That article also covered the need to compare units on wine cooler reviews, so if you haven’t read that first part, then you should definitely check it out.
On the other hand, if you read the first part of our guide and are ready to learn about some of the other features you need to keep an eye out for before purchasing a cooler, then let’s get down to it. We have some invaluable tips for you today.
Another thing to look out for when purchasing a cooler is whether it has UV protection or not. Many people mistakenly think that since a wine cooler is only intended to be used as a short-term wine storage solution, that it doesn’t matter if it has UV protection. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Experts agree that most of the UV damage that may occur to wine happens in the first few hours of storage. Therefore, you should always choose a model with UV protection whenever possible.
Compressor Or Thermoelectric?
The two basic methods of refrigeration that most wine coolers use are either a compressor based system or a thermoelectric system. Each of these systems has their own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s check out some of these pros and cons.
Compressor based systems are more efficient at cooling down your wine and are better at withstanding temperature extremes than thermoelectric based systems, but they do have their drawbacks. One, these units are usually louder than the thermoelectric systems and since they have more moving parts they tend to wear out sooner. They may also produce a vibration that may be unsuitable for ideal wine storage conditions and although they cool more efficiently they often use more electricity.
Thermoelectric models have several advantages over compressor based models. They are usually silent and produce little to no vibration, they have less moving parts and therefore don’t wear out as fast, and they use very little electricity. Plus, since they don’t use CFC’s to cool down the wine they are often more environmentally friendly. The downside of these models is that they are often very sensitive to room operating conditions and often take a long time to get the wine down to temperature.
Single Zone Vs. Dual Zone
Another thing to consider is whether you need a single zone cooler or a dual zone cooler. The one you need really depends on the variety of wines you consume. If you only drink one kind of wine, then a single zone is probably the best wine cooler for you. However, if you drink different types of wine, then you will probably want to get a dual zone model because you can keep one type of wine at one temperature and another type at a different temperature.
And that is all you need to know in order to buy the best cooler unit for yourself. Follow these guidelines and you’ll most certainly find the perfect wine cooler for you.
The world of wine can be a confusing place. It seems like there are so many different types of wine that it would be impossible to learn about all of them. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. While there are a lot of different wines on the market today, you don’t have to know the details about them all. If you educate yourself in a select variety of wines, then that will arm you with enough information to make an educated wine purchase. Today, we are going to begin your wine education by giving you an explanation of the different wine types.
The first thing you should do is to educate yourself on some of the terms and practices used in the wine world. You can do this by reading the articles we have on this site and by reading wine cooler reviews. Once you have done that, you can finish your education with this article right here and learn about some of the available types of wine.
Red Versus White Wine
Okay, all of us here can tell the difference between a red and white wine, so I am not going to waste your time telling you something you already know. What I am going to do however, is tell you why red wine is different from white wine, and vice versa.
Wines get their color depending on whether the vintner leaves the grape’s skin in contact with the wine as it ferments. Skins contain tannin, a bitter substance that gives wine a dry, slightly bitter taste. If the vintner leaves the skins to ferment with the wine, then it will begin to color because of the accumulation of tannins. White wines are wines where the skin never ferments with the rest of the wine. The longer the skins ferment, the more tannin that’s released and the darker the color of the wine. The wine will then change color from white to blush to pink and then finally, to red. Red, of course, has the highest tannin content of all the wine varieties.
Red wine’s tannin content is the core of the wine. It not only affects taste but it also affects texture. The general rule is the darker the red wine the bolder it’s taste is. Because of their tannin content, you really want to avoid putting your red wine in your best wine cooler and lowering its temperature too much. That’s because tannin compounds get more bitter at lower temperatures, so be sure to never serve a red wine ice cold. Popular red wines include: Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.
White wine’s tannin content is very low. It has some but not enough to change its color. That is why white wine has a slightly acidic taste to it. Popular white wines include: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling.
And that is all you really need to know about wines. Of course, this article is just a primer for newbies, so as you get more experienced you will want to further your education even more.
If it’s your turn to buy the next bottle of wine and don’t really know how to go about it, then don’t worry I am here to help. I am going to show you how to buy a bottle of wine that will not only invigorate your senses but will floor all of your friends at your next party. Choosing a wine may seem like a complicated endeavor but it really isn’t if you know the basics.
Before I give you the low-down on buying that perfect bottle of wine, I want to take a few moments to remind you that you need a few basics in order to properly open and serve that awesome wine you just picked up. Hopefully, you have gone through wine cooler reviews and chosen the perfect cooler, have bought a Sommelier Knife and have a good corkscrew. If you already have all of those things, then congratulations you can go through the process of buying your wine. If not, then gather all of those things together before continuing.
Wine And Food Pairings
Choosing the right wine type to go with what you are serving can get a bit complicated, but I can simplify things by giving you a few simple guidelines that will get you started on your way. I have listed some of the more common wine types and paired them with sample meals so you can get an idea of the type of wine that goes well with certain dishes.
Pinot Grigio or Arneis: These go very well with light fish dishes such as white fish.
Chardonnay: Tends to go well with fattier fish dishes. Examples include salmon or dishes with rich sauces.
Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti: Goes well with fruit based desserts
Rosé Champagne: Is a very versatile wine and can go with just about any meal.
Dry Rosé: Goes with any dish where cheese is the main ingredient.
Pinot Noir: Pair earthy foods such as mushrooms and truffles with this wine.
Cabernet Sauvignon: Goes well with red meat and Italian dishes.
Read The Wine Label And Check The Bottle
Everything you need to know about the wine is right there on the bottle. If you pay close attention to it, then it will give you the information you need to decide if the wine is a good or not.
The first thing you should check is the location of where the wine was made and bottled. You want to buy a wine that was bottled where it was made. Avoid wines that are made one place and bottled someplace else.
The next thing you should look for is a cork. While I realize that a lot of wine bottles have screw-off caps, you should still avoid them. Vintage wines are corked, while cheaper wines usually aren’t. It’s one of the biggest indicators of quality you can glean from the bottle.
If quality matters to you, then you might want to buy a bottle of wine that is over $20. There simply aren’t many quality wines that are cheaper than that.
The last thing you should look for is the punt on the bottom of the bottle. This indentation is there to distribute pressure within the bottle and helps along the aging process. The better the quality of wine the bigger this indentation will be. Cheap wines generally don’t have an indentation – or if they do – they are very small.
That my friends is everything you need to know to buy a quality bottle of wine. Follow the above steps and gather together your equipment (corkscrew, knife and best wine cooler) and you can rest assured that you will be capable of giving your guest the wine experience of their life.
If you’ve ever wondered what the correct process for decanting wine is, then don’t worry because you are not alone. Not many people outside of expert wine circles know much about decanting and it can have an almost mystical quality about it. And that isn’t helped by the lack of quality guides on the subject. All over the Internet you can find wine cooler reviews, advice on selecting and serving wines and even tips on selecting glass ware. However, there isn’t a whole lot of information on the subject of properly decanting a wine. I aim to change that today.
The purpose of this guide is to demystify the decanting process and show how it can improve the quality of your wine. If you read this guide closely, then you will not only learn about the purpose of decanting but you will also learn how to properly do it.
What is Wine Decanting
Wine decanting is merely the process of transferring the wine from the bottle into another container; a container called a decanter. There are two reasons to decant a wine. First, it acts to aerate the wine. Second, it removes sediment from the wine.
Red wines tend to develop a sediment in the bottom of the bottles as they age. This sediment not only clouds the wine but it can impart tannic or bitter compounds into the wine, therefore making it less enjoyable to drink. That is why wine decanting is so important.
Prepare To Decant
The first thing you need to do before you begin the process of decanting is to locate a proper decanter. There are many different varieties available, but they can be generally broken down into two categories. The old fashioned versions that are basically just glass vessels, and the modern versions that strain the wine as you pour it through. It doesn’t matter which one you choose, either one will work.
The next thing you will want to do is to place your wine in your best wine cooler and cool it to proper temperature at least 24 hours before you open it and decant it. While you are storing it, it should be placed upright so the sediment can settle on the bottom of the bottle.
Time To Decant
Now you can begin to decant the wine. Pour it slowly into the decanter until you have emptied about half of the bottle into it. When you reach this mark, slow down your pouring even further. When the sediment reaches the neck of the bottle, then you should stop. Discard the remaining sediment laden wine from your bottle.
Wines that are 10 years or older should be decanted for about 30 minutes. Younger wines can be decanted for a longer period of time, but should never be decanted for more than an hour. You might want to try out different times to see which is best for your particular wine. Once you’ve done that you can then enjoy the fruits of your labor.
You see it all the time in movies and television shows. Wine connoisseurs spending a large amount of time inspecting and fussing over their glasses of wine. It is almost a cliché and might just seem to be wine snobbery at its most grandiose. However, I assure you that there is actually a purpose to tasting wine, and it isn’t so you can make yourself look like a wine expert.
Wine tasting allows a person to not only inspect the general quality of the wine, but also allows them to experience the notes of the wine with all of their senses. When a person properly tastes a wine, then they are embarking on a sensual experience like no other. It is not snobbery, it is making wine drinking an all-around experience.
Your wine should be cooled to temperature in unit that has received a lot of wine cooler reviews. This is the first step to enjoying any wine. By making sure that your wine is cooled down to the precise temperature in your best wine cooler, you are assuring it will be at its peak. Once it has reached optimal temperature, then you can uncork it, and this is where the actual wine testing begins.
The first thing you are going to want to do is to inspect the cork. At this stage you’ll want to examine the cork to make sure that the wine wasn’t exposed to the elements. The cork should be fully intact and have just a little wine on the bottom. If it is cracked, moist or has wine stains on the top or the sides, then the wine may have been exposed to air. This is also true if the cork is hard and dry. At this point, you can also smell the cork. If the cork has a moldy or vinegar smell to it, then most likely the wine is no good.
The next thing you are going to want to do is to pour a small amount of wine into your glass and swirl it around a little bit. This action increases the wine’s surface area and allows it to come into contact with the air, therefore releasing its aroma. Bring the glass up to your nose and smell it. During this step, you can really get your nose down into the glass and breathe in its aroma. If it has any unpleasant scents, then this may be an indication that you won’t want to drink this particular wine.
After the wine has passed this preliminary inspection, you can then fill the glass about 1/3 full of wine. As you sip it, you can continue to enjoy not only the wine’s flavor but also its aroma. You have now tasted your first glass of wine.
Many people think that the only things they need to do in order to get the full potential out of their wine is to purchase a great wine, store it in a cooler that has phenomenal wine cooler reviews and decant it properly. While these are all great steps to getting the most out of your wine, it isn’t the only considerations that need to be made. There is still one more thing to consider and that is the glass in which the wine is poured.
It might seem a little bit like wine snobbery, but the type of glass you choose for your wine is almost as important as the wine itself. If you place a good wine into a inferior glass, then its taste profile will be greatly diminished. In order to get the most out of your wine you need to put it in the proper glass. Fortunately, this guide will help you choose the proper glass for your wine.
Before I get started however, I want to add a little preface to this guide before I go into the specifics of wine glasses. There are many wine connoisseurs out there who advocate a particular type of glass for a particular grape varieties. I am not going to do that today. I am going to keep it simple and just divide the glasses into three categories: red wine, white wine and sparking wines. As you become more comfortable with selecting wine glasses, you can then move on to more complex glass ware decisions. Consider this a guide for novice and intermediate wine enthusiasts and not the hardcore connoisseurs.
Red Wine Glasses
Red wine glasses have a larger surface area and a wider rim. This is because red wine benefits from being mixed with oxygen – a process called aeration – and this is accomplished from swirling the wine in a glass with a larger bowl. This will allow the red wine to develop its full taste profile and aroma. It also allows you to keep your nose closer to the red wine, which in turn enhances the wine drinking experience.
White Wine Glasses
You can tell a wine glass is meant to be used with white whine because it is tulip shaped. These glasses are smaller than red wine glasses because the small surface area allows the wine to remain cooler longer. White wine should always be served cold. It should be kept in the best wine cooler available and always served in one of these smaller white wine glasses.
Sparkling Wine Glasses
Sparkling wine glasses – also known as champagne glasses – are small and always fluted. The small surface area of this glass allows the white wine to remain cooler longer, while the fluted shape is conducive to the proper development of bubbles.
The above glass types are really all that novice and intermediate wine drinkers need to know about stemware. If you buy glasses that are made specifically for your type of wine, then your wine drinking experience will be greatly enhanced.
A person might be the greatest wine enthusiast in the world and might not know much about sparkling wines. In fact, most people know little more about these type of wines than how to take them out of their best wine cooler and serve them. That is why I am writing this article today. Consider this article a primer that will teach you everything you need to know about sparkling wines.
What Makes Sparkling Wine So Sparkly?
Quite simply, carbon dioxide puts the sparkle into this brand of wine. This invisible gas creates the bubbles—or if you prefer, the effervescence—that makes sparkling wines sparkle. Why did vintners start making sparkling wine, you ask? Well, it’s quite simple. It was accidentally discovered as the result of a process of dual fermentation within kegs. A happy accident that has created some of the best wines in the world.
Today, vintners use two separate methods to create this secondary fermentation process. They either use the Méthode Traditionnelle, or the Traditional Method in English, or they use the more modern method called the Charmat Method. When the first batches of Champagne were being made, it was under the Traditional Method, but as time went on and Champagne became more popular, then alternative methods had to be explored that were less labor intensive and quicker.
That’s Interesting, But How Do I Serve It?
Okay, that was probably more of a history lesson than you really wanted. You probably just want to get down to the specifics of serving this great wine. That’s okay, I am going to take care of that right this second.
Sparkling wine should be served at a very cold temperature around 40 degrees. Champagne on the other hand should optimally be served at around 45 degrees. These temperatures have been gleaned from years of experience and shouldn’t be deviated from because these wines are at their peak at these temperatures.
When you are chilling down a sparkling wine or Champagne, you should never use your household freezer. This will result in your wine losing some of its effervescence. You really need to store it in a wine cooler specifically built for sparkling wines. You can find one of these models by searching through various wine cooler reviews and finding one that suits your needs.
What Food Should I Serve With My Sparkling Wine?
I’m glad you asked this question. Foods that are sweet, fried in oil or salty should be served with Champagne. That’s because these foods and Champagne complement each other so well. Blanc de Blancs tend to go well with avocado based dishes and Italian pasta served in a white sauce. It also pairs well with Chinese food, poultry and rich desserts. Extra dry or Brut wines pair very well with any type of cheese, as well as seafood. And Blanc de Noirs tend to pair well with appetizers, poultry and fruit.
I normally spend my time writing wine cooler reviews, but sometimes I like to venture into other areas of the wine world. I have written articles on vintage wines, wine tasting and other areas of this subject where I have experience. You might just say that I have written more than a few articles on wine. However, I noticed recently that I have never written an article on how to properly order a wine on a date. How could I skip such an important subject? I certainly didn’t do it on purpose, I assure you. To prove that to you, I have written this very simple guide that will enable you to order wine at a restaurant with ease. I hope this article provides you with some useful information that you can use while out on a date.
Lay The Foundation
At this stage, you need to do some homework while placing your reservation at the restaurant. First, you need to find out if the restaurant serves wine. If they do, then ask the hostess about the wine list so you have an idea of what they have. You can also inquire if they will reserve a bottle of your selected wine for you. That will save you a lot of time and aggravation. However, you need to realize that not every restaurant will reserve a bottle. Most will, but there are some that definitely won’t.
If they don’t serve wine, then ask if they allow you to bring your own bottle, and if they do, ask them what is their corkage fee (the price you pay to have them uncork it).
Acquire The Wine List
Now that you and your date have arrived at the restaurant, it is time to get the wine list. Usually, restaurants will offer this to you first, but if they don’t then be sure to ask for it right away. You want your wine to be served before your food.
Reading the wine list can seem like an overwhelming task, but don’t let it get to you. So many different wines, all categorized by region, manufacturer, variety and date. Don’t let it go to you though. Just consider the following things and you’ll be just fine:
First ask your date: If she is a person who hates red wine, then that narrows your choices considerable. If she doesn’t have a preference, then ask her what she plans on eating. That way, you can pair a suitable wine with the meal.
Pairing Wine With Food: You may have heard that you are supposed to pair red wines with red meats and white wines with white meats or fish. Well, that is both true and false at the same time. It doesn’t really matter what type of meat is in the dish, what’s more important is how its prepared. Here are some examples:
Pair red wines with meaty dishes, salmon and dishes with heavy tomato-based sauces.
Pair white wines or sparkling wines with light meat and fish dishes, shell fishes and vegetables or pastas served with a cream sauce.
Now before you pick your wine and have them pull it from their best wine cooler, there are a few more things to consider. Please refer to the second part of this article for tips on determining price and dealing with the wine presentation.