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What is the proper way to store opened bottles of wine?
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Please try the following storing tips for both white and red wines to prevent spoiling. Push the cork back in and put the partially empty bottle into the refrigerator. The wine should keep for several days. Here are three additional techniques:
What does it mean when a wine is sweet or dry?
- Keep a few clean, empty half bottles on hand. Pour the unused wine into the smaller bottle and recork.
- Buy a Vac-U-Vin, it removes oxygen and creates a vacuum to preserve the wine.
- Small cans of inert gas sprayed into the bottle replace the oxygen in the bottle. Then recork and keep refrigerated. These can be purchased at many local wine shops.
A sweet wine is one that has a noticeable level of sweetness in the taste which is called its residual sugar. A dry wine has no indication of sweetness, therefore no, or very little, residual sugar. An off-dry wine is one that is slightly sweet. Is there a certain temperature at which I should serve wine?
Wines should be served at temperatures they taste best. More specifically, wine should be served at the temperature you enjoy it. Some whites and sparking wines taste best chilled because they are most refreshing served that way. Red wines are typically served unchilled, but cool. Here are some more detailed guidelines.
Why are some wines so expensive, and does price equal quality?
- Lighter white wines are best served about 45 degrees.
- Fuller-bodied white wines are best served about 55 degrees.
- Red wines taste best-served about 65 degrees. Serve lighter red wines a little cooler.
Like all industries, the price for many wines comes back to the old equation of supply vs. demand. Some wines are made from such perfectly located vineyards, in such small amounts, or only in such excellent vintages that they will always command top dollar. Others have centuries’ worth of fame and mystique, not to mention hundreds of great wines as the reason behind the high prices. Many of these are well earned, many are not. There will always be wines whose price tag far exceeds its quality, and while it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two, finding a great bottle of wine for a little money is part if the enjoyment.
Price does not equal quality, though it can be a good indicator. Most wineries that charge an arm and a leg for their wines are only going by what the market will bear. The wineries that charge too much are usually, but not always corrected by the market with slow sales, though it seems too many California wineries today want to charge $100 a bottle right out of the gate, with no history of great wines as a guarantee for future success. There is so much info, where do I start?
A great question. Wine can certainly be a daunting experience, but it need not be so. There are many great books and magazines out there that will provide a great base of information to the burgeoning wine lover. But my best recommendation is this: We live in the information age, use it. Online resources can provide as much info as anyone one person could ever want, usually at no charge and in a format that is quick and easy to understand. Interactive info is always helpful, not to mention the great pictures and videos of wine country available at our fingertips.What’s the difference between “New World” and “Old World?”
These terms are thrown around in the wine industry like grapes at harvest time. Everywhere. Essentially this can be viewed in two ways: The first is location. New world wines refer to those created in Australia, New Zealand and both North and South America. Old world refers to Western Europe. But this also refers to wine style as well. New world wines are often thought of as being heavier in fruit, alcohol by volume and oak, where the old guard wines are thought of as being more restrained and balanced, with lower levels of alcohol, higher levels of acidity and more earthy tones. Location and style? Confused yet?
The reason these two concepts are related is that the location often is a good indicator of the style. A bottle of Cabernet from California will most likely feel more full and fruity than a bottle of Bordeaux made from the same grape. Conversely, the Bordeaux will likely be a better wine for the dinner table, with more natural acidity and earthiness, and a silky and well-balanced feel. These are not hard and fast rules, but a good indicator of the style of the wine before the cork has been pulled.How long will the wine keep after it is opened?
Without some sort of preservation technique, one can expect their opened wine to begin to change immediately. For the first day or so some changes are welcome, as hard and tannic wines will generally soften. But bear in mind that fresh and fruit forward wines are at their best when they are first opened, and it can be a quick downhill run from there. On the second day some wines may actually be better, provided they were recorked the night before. But on most the fruit will start to fade, and any acidity in the wine will become more pronounced. By the third day some wines will be gone, and only a select few will still resemble their former cork-intact selves. Anything after that and well, it may still be wine, but enjoyable? Hmm.
There are several ways to prolong the life of your opened wine. Various gas systems create a barrier between the wine and the oxygen that will shorten its life. Vacuum system work in a similar manner. The old trick of placing your wine in the fridge overnight, even the reds, can also help to prolong their life. The cooler temperatures slow down the oxidation process. Think of these as a band-aid, not a cure, as any non-fortified wine will eventually spoil once it is opened.