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Wine 101 / March 1, 2017

Grape to Glass: Your Magic – How to Enjoy Wine

1. An average glass of wine is about 5 ounces 2. Keep track of your wine preferences to remember the regions, flavors and your impression of the wine 3. Pay attention to the label for information about the wine’s age, varietal and region 4. Hold your glass by the stem, if you cup the bowl of the glass in your hand, your body heat may warm up the wine 5. Aerate your wine in a decanter to get the best flavors from your wine

It’s time to enjoy!

Aging wine in the bottle is also called cellaring. If you’ve brought a bottle home and you’re storing it in a dark, cool place, you’re aging your wine. In pop culture, it seems like old wine is always better wine – but truthfully, less than five percent of wine is supposed to be aged.

Most of the wine you purchase – especially if it’s under $25, is meant to be drunk right away. And even if it’s over $25, it’s generally meant to be enjoyed within 5 years.

You’ll be able to tell if a white wine is not okay to drink is by checking the color. White wine should have a light gold or straw color. If the wine is more orange or beige, it’s not going to taste good – and may even taste spoiled.

You can expect the average glass of wine to be a 5 ounce serving. There are about 4-5 glasses of wine to share in each bottle.

Want to know more about wine?

One of the best subjects in the world, learning about wine boils down to one thing, finding out what you like. It can get confusing with all of the geography and grapes and prices – but it really does come down to finding out what you like. We think the best way to learn more about wine is to pay attention, participate in tastings and read.

Pay attention

You can pay attention to the wine in three different ways – through careful tasting, food pairing and by studying the label.

Paying attention to the flavors in wines helps you develop your personal palate. It’s vital to keep track of the flavors, the likes and dislikes and your overall feeling about the wine. By tracking, you can make sure that your impressions aren’t lost to memory.

Think about how you’re tasting, making sure that the sip fully covers each area of your tongue – then breathe in a little air to bring the flavors out – often in a new way.

Food Pairing

Another way to develop your wine knowledge is to track the success of pairing wine and food. A great place to start is by pairing wines from a certain region with foods from the same area. Wines are paired sometimes as opposites (something acidic with something sweet) or maybe the flavors complement each other with their similarity.

By tracking the information from each bottle, you’ll be able to put the proverbial name to the face. The label will tell you where the wine is from and what grape it’s made from. Your catalog of likes and dislikes will only grow.

Tastings

Whether you gather a group of like-minded friends to come over to your house or you go to a tasting at your local wine shop, wine tastings are a fantastic way to get more wine experience. Wine professionals often spit to prevent getting too intoxicated when moving through several wines, we trust your judgement. The best part of participating in a wine tasting is that you can taste several different kinds of wines without committing to an entire bottle.

Drinking

You may want to pull together a few tools before you drink your wine.

  • Cork screw/wine key/waiter’s friend
  • A wine glass
  • Decanter

Cork screw/wine key/waiter’s friend

No matter what you call it, you’ll need a tool to open wine that has a cork in it. The most popular kind of wine opener that professional servers use is the waiter’s friend – that’s the kind with the hinge.

There’s a tiny blade in most hinged cork screws – and before you pull the cork, you’ll use it to cut off the foil capsule that often covers the top of the cork. Carefully trim the foil off either above or below the lip of glass at the top of the bottle until it removes.  Put the point of the corkscrew (also known as the “worm”) slightly off center in the bottle – this it makes the cork less likely to break. Turn the “worm” roughly 7-8 times it’s nearly to the bottom of the cork. Balance the hook of the on the lip of the bottle and pull out the cork.

Your Wine Glass

Just like sipping your tea from a giant mug or a china tea cup affects how you feel, drinking your wine in a proper wine glass helps you best evaluate flavors. There’s some controversy as to whether you need to spring for expensive crystal – as well as glasses shaped specifically for different varietals. But we can’t argue aesthetics. All your senses are engaged when you sip your wine out of a fine glass. Hold your glass by the stem, if you cup the bowl of the glass in your hand, your body heat may warm up the wine.

Decanter

Pouring the wine into a decanter or glass pitcher before serving affects the flavor of red wine by exposing the surface of the wine to oxygen. After letting the wine sit in the decanter for 30-45 minutes, it will likely taste more balanced than straight out of the bottle.

Whether you’re waiting, drinking or learning, we’d love to hear about where you learn the most about wine – please share in the comments!

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