There comes a time when it’s crucial to learn how to properly consume wine. To some this may be considered wine snobbery, but it can be important in making positive first impressions. Our panel of wine experts contributed their best advice…
- Stop filling your wine glass up to the brim. Besides making you look like a wine glutton, filling a wine glass one third of the way, rather than to the top, allows you to give it a good swirl. Aeration is important for both red AND white wines and allows you to actually smell the wine. Our sense of smell has a profound affect on the way our brain processes taste and flavors (about 75% to be exact). With your nose in the glass completely, take a slow inhale after swirling and before tasting.
- Stop holding the wine glass by the goblet. Most importantly, holding a glass by the stem helps keep the wine at the proper serving temperature. Wine will quickly warm when held by the goblet and may muddle complex flavors. If your wine was served too cold it can shut down aromas and flavors so feel free to use your hands to warm up the wine for a moment or two. Holding a wine glass by the stem, rather than the goblet, also prevents smudging and fingerprints which can make the beauty and color of the wine hard to discern.
- Stop serving your wine at room temperature. The temperature at which a wine is served is very important. A wine served too warm or too cold can lose an awful lot of character and can completely change the tasting experience and flavor profile. Here’s a general guide to go by: light, aromatic whites = serve at 46-54 degrees F | medium bodied dry whites = 50-54 degrees F | Full sweet whites = 46-54 degrees F | light reds = 50-54 degrees F | medium reds = 57-63 degrees F | full bodied reds = 59-65 degrees F. When in doubt, throw the wine in the fridge for 20 minute prior to drinking.
- Stop drinking wine quickly. A wine is often “tight” when first opened and poured into your glass. Allowing the wine to “breathe” and giving it a good swirl allows oxygen into the glass and helps release aromas and flavors to allow more expression from the wine. A wine can and will completely change over the course of an hour if you allow it to open up. Young red wines often show much better after decanting for a few hours, as it allows oxygen to release to their aromas and softens their tannins. For older wines they may only need 15-30 minutes of decanting (aeration) to open up since they have been exposed to oxygen slowly over many years. In general, all wines will taste better after 30 minutes of aeration.
- Stop only pairing white with fish and red with meat. Tuna, for example, can pair beautifully with everything from a Sauvignon Blanc to Rose and Pinot Noir. A fish cooked in a curry sauce would go lovely with an off dry Riesling or a Vouvray. A pan seared pompano with a jus sauce can pair perfectly with an aged Rioja. Steak tartare or steak with Bernaise sauce pairs excellent with white Burgundy. The most important part of pairing is looking at the cooking technique and sauce before choosing a wine.