How To Choose A Wine

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.

How To Decant Wine

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.

Tasting Wine Like The Pros

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.

Ordering Wine On A Date – Part Two

This is the second part of my series on How To Order Wine on a Date. In the first part, I told you how to prepare your wine selection during the reservation process and how to order wine depending on what your date prefers and your food choices. Now I am going to give you a few more tips on ordering wine during a date. Tips that will make you look like a seasoned wine professional.

As I said in my last article, the majority of the articles I write are wine cooler reviews. However, I do have plenty of experience order wine in a restaurant and have found the following tips to be really helpful in navigating the whole experience.

Determining What To Spend

You don’t want to look like a cheap skate ordering wine, but you certainly don’t want to break the bank ordering it either. How do you resolve this dilemma? Just spend what you are comfortable spending. Just because a wine has a high price doesn’t mean it’s the best wine. Likewise, just because a wine is priced lower doesn’t mean that it’s garbage. There are a lot of good wines that are moderately priced, trust me.

If price can’t help you choose a quality wine then what will? This is the part where you can enlist the help of the server. Once you have narrowed down your wine choices to just three selections (based on your date’s preference, your price point and your meal selection), then tell your server that you are considering these three different wines and ask them for a recommendation. Your server will then recommend the best choice of these three. Sometimes the server will even surprise you and offer you a wine you never even considered since he/she now knows your price range by the three selections you are considering.

Order By The Bottle

Most of the time you will want to order wine by the bottle. That’s because it is not only cheaper than ordering by the glass, but because a bottle contains the perfect portion of wine for a couple (usually four to five glasses, depending on how it’s poured). However, if you want to match your wine to each individual course, then you might want to order by the glass.

The Dreaded Wine Presentation

Many people don’t know what they are supposed to do when the server begins his or hers ritualistic wine presentation. That’s okay, because it is really simple. This little ritual is done to help you choose a wine that hasn’t gone bad. After all, even if the restaurant has the best wine cooler in the world, sometimes things go wrong and a wine will go bad. This will make more sense as I detail the process.

The first thing the server is going to do is show you the bottle’s label. The purpose of this is so you can make sure you are getting the actual wine you ordered. Look at the label. If it’s what you ordered, then nod and the server will continue. If it isn’t, then let the server know. Hey, servers are human too and can make mistakes like anyone else. Just don’t make a big fuss about it. Tell him or her it’s not what you ordered and they’ll correct the mistake.

The server will then uncork the bottle and hand it to your or occasionally, lay it on the table. This is so you can examine it. Pick it up and look at it. If it’s dry, crumbly, too wet or shriveled, then that’s probably a bad sign.

Next your server will pour you a small glass. Swirl it around a few seconds and smell it. If it has a bad smell to it, then it probably is a bad wine. However, you should still taste it to make sure. Take a little sip. If it’s bad, then tell your server it’s bad and he/she will bring you another bottle. If not, then tell your server it’s fine and enjoy. Now you know how to order wine on a date.

How To Serve Wine – The Basics

You’ve read through all the wine cooler reviews and have selected the perfect model for you and you’ve found the perfect place to do it. Now all you need to know is how to properly serve the wine that is now secure in your cooler and chilled to the ideal temperature. While that might seem like an easy proposition, it’s not as easy as you think. There’s more to serving wine than simply popping a cork and pouring it into a wine glass. How you serve it is as important as the wine selection itself and how it’s been stored.

Temperature, the quality of the glassware and even how you decant the wine can have a significant impact on the wine’s overall flavor and texture. And that is why I have decided to write this guide for you today. To show you how to properly serve your wine so that you get the most enjoyment from it. Follow these steps and you’ll never be faced with a wine that is underwhelming or disappointing ever again.

Temperature

One of the first things you need to consider is the temperature of the wine. Far too often people pay little attention to the temperature at which they serve their wine. I have been to far too many parties where people have served white wines that were too cold and red wines that were served too warm. While the temperature at which a wine is served can be impacted by an individual’s personal tastes, there are ideal temperatures for each different type of wine. I have listed some of the most common wines and their ideal temperatures so you can get a good grasp on the ideal temperature at which to serve your wine.

Rosés, Dry Light White Wines, Dessert Wines and Sparkling Wines-The ideal temperature for these wines is between 40 and 50 degrees. This temperature will not only preserve the fine bubbles in these wines but will also allow it to retain its light, fruity flavor.

Chardonnay and other Full-bodied White Wines and Beaujolais-The ideal temperature for full-bodied white wines and fruity red wines is between 50 and 60 degrees. This temperature will allow the complexity of these wines to shine through.

Full-bodied Red Wines Such as Cabernet Sauvignon And Most Port Wines-Ideal temperatures for these “heavier” wines is between 60 and 65 degrees. Serving them at this temperature downplays the acerbic aspects of these wines while enhancing their lissome aspects.

Choose the best wine cooler you can and chill your wine to the proper temperature. It makes a huge difference.

Glass Ware

The shape and composition of your wine glass can have a drastic effect on the taste of your wine. Different types of wines should be served in glasses that were designed for them. You should also choose crystal over regular glass, but if you don’t have a choice then at least use glass that is clear and isn’t colored.

Following these steps will help you serve a better tasting wine each and every time. For more advanced serving suggestions, then please read our advanced guide on serving wine.

Choosing Wine Glasses

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.

Everything You Wanted To Know About Rose Wines

If your best wine cooler is hungry for some other types of wines other than red or white, then you might want to try stocking it with some rose wines. Rose wines come in a variety of different shades of pink, from a soft hue all the way to a shocking pink. In Spain it’s called Rosado and in Italy its called Rosato. All names for what we call in the United States rose wine.

If you are thinking about stocking up on some rose wines, then allow this article to be your guide. I am not only going to tell you what gives rose wine its pink hue, but I am also going to explore their taste profile and suggest to you the best times to enjoy this sensational wine. Just bear with me and you’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about this variety of wine.

Why is Rose Wine Pink?

Traditionally, rose wines derived their color from the tannin compounds released into the wine from the wine being in contact with the grape skins during the manufacturing process. The longer the grape skins were allowed to remain in contact with the rest of the wine, the deeper the color. Leaving these skins in contact with the wine for a short period produces a rose wine, while leaving it in contact with the wine for a longer period will result in a red wine.

However, nowadays it seems like more vintners are making rose wine by mixing together red and white wine grapes. This is particularly true in the sparkling rose wine category, but is also done in other types as well.

Rose Wine Taste Profile

Rose wines tend to be much like their red wine cousins, except they have more of a subtle flavor and texture. When you drink a rose wine you can expect a wine with a fruity flavor that is oftentimes underpinned by subtle notes of citrus.

The Best Time For Rose Wine

Rose wine is a versatile wine that goes equally well with red meat as it does seafood. It’s also the perfect wine for more casual dishes such as hamburgers, hot dogs and potato salad. And if you’re looking for a great wine to go with your chips and dip, then you can hardly go wrong with a great rose wine.

Since it is so subtle, light and refreshing it is often a great wine for the summer months. Particularly if you are spending a lot of time outdoors. Just be sure to check wine cooler reviews and buy a good cooler so you can chill that rose wine down until it’s nice and cold.

And that my friends, is everything you need to know about this type of wine. While it might not seem as glamorous as white or red wines, I assure you that it has just as much class as both of these types of wine. Give it a try and I think that you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Your Guide To Sparkling Wines

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.

Ordering Wine On A Date – Part One

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.