Common Questions About Wine
How long can I store wine?
The majority of wine sold today is intended
to be drunk
within a year or two. Inexpensive wines, particularly whites under $5,
be drunk within 6 months to a year. Red wines generally last a little
although some are specifically made to be drunk early, Beaujolais
example. Non-vintage champagne almost always benefits from 6 months or
bottle between purchasing and before opening.
A general rule of thumb is that the more
expensive the wine, the better ageing potential it has. A young vintage
of a $15 bottle of claret should easily last five years if stored
correctly. In general, wines should be stored in a cool, dark,
dry place free from vibration. Store the wine at room temperature or
cooler. Do not let wine get above 90oF or
Bottle ageing under ideal storage conditions increases the complexity of flavors and softens the tannic structure of a wine. Some top wines also appreciate in value as they age due to their increasing scarcity as stocks around the world get smaller and smaller.
As red wine ages, a sediment may form and you will need to decant it.
How long does wine keep after opening?
A re-corked half empty bottle should keep fresh for up to a day or two and in some cases you may be surprised to find that the wine tastes better with a bit of aeration! Keep the wine in the fridge to slow the oxidation process. You could use a vacuum pump with a rubber valve stopper to pump out the air in the bottle or use one of the patent devices to replace it with inert gas. The wine will keep fresher longer.
If you regularly have half empty bottles left over of fairly modest wine, why not think about 3 liter bag-in-box wines? These keep well for a few weeks and a glass can be conveniently poured out at any time. Alternatively use the leftover wine in your cooking - it is wonderful in marinades, sauces and gravy! Some people go a step further and even make their own homemade wine vinegar.
How can I tell if the wine has gone bad?
Some faults are visible; others can be smelt and/or tasted. If you can smell a fault, it is usually confirmed by the taste of the wine.
Haze or cloud: If a wine remains very cloudy or hazy even after it has been standing upright to let any sediment fall, then this is probably due to the growth of yeast or bacteria, perhaps as a result of inadequate filtration.
Fizziness: Many young still white wines are bottled under carbon dioxide to keep them fresh and there may still be a slight spritz when you come to drink it. This is not a fault and is particularly common with off-dry wines. However, if a wine fizzes when it shouldn't, it may indicate that the wine has started to ferment again and this is definitely a fault.
Mustiness: This generally indicates a corked wine.
Oxidized wines: Wines exposed to too much oxygen - through poor wine-making, a faulty closure or simply too long in bottle - tend to smell flat and rather like sherry. They are often prematurely brown in color.
What temperature should I serve wine?
The general rule is reds at room temperature, while whites, rosés and sparkling should be served chilled following a spell (hours not days) in the fridge. To chill wine quickly, plunge the bottle into an ice and water mixture. Now that most homes have central heating, 'room temperature' may be slightly too warm for some reds.
Softer lighter-bodied reds can taste very refreshing if slightly chilled, especially in summer when they warm up very quickly in the glass. Try chilling wines such as Beaujolais and other inexpensive, unoaked juicy style wines. Dry sherries such as Fino and Manzanilla and dry Sercial Madeira are also delicious chilled. On the other hand, complex tannic reds are better served a little warmer.
If you are fortunate enough to have a cool cellar, then this is ideal. The reds will soon warm up once brought into the house or poured into glasses and whites will not have been over-chilled by spending too long in the fridge. Wines which are too cold will lose some of their aroma and flavor but a cool temperature will also help to mask a wine's faults.
Most sweet wines should be served chilled, as should pale dry sherry such as fino or manzanilla and dry Sercial Madeira.
What about organic wine?
The phrase 'wine made from organically grown grapes' is used because it is not generally accurate or legal to refer to 'organic wine'.
Very few wines are totally organic, mainly because it is almost impossible to make wine without the use of the preservative sulfur dioxide. The few wines that are made in this way tend to deteriorate rapidly and have a short shelf life.
Today, as more people are opting to live healthier lifestyles and are becoming increasingly aware of the environment, organic food and drinks are moving into the consumer mainstream.
Organic viticulture is when grapes are grown without the use of industrially synthesized products to combat pests and diseases or to increase the fertility of the soil. Viticulturists aim to increase the microbial activity in the soil by natural methods and in an environmentally friendly way. It is much easier to achieve this in warm, dry climates such as the south of France where fungal diseases do not pose a problem. Over half the world's organic grape growers are in France.
Organic viticulture is labor intensive and the yields are frequently lower than by conventional viticulture. This is why you may find yourself paying a little more for wine made from organically grown grapes. Not all of them offer the essential balance between quality and value and a wine made from organically grown grapes would not be selected for sale in Waitrose simply because of the way it had been produced.
Advantages and Disadvantages to Boxed Wine
By Greg K. Hansward
Submitted on December 17, 2008
Wine is a popular alcoholic beverage traditionally made from fermenting grapes, with choices generally divided into either a white wine or a red wine. Wine is stored in either a bottle or a box. Box wine is a bag of wine typically made of aluminum but protected by a box, usually a standard cardboard box.
There are several benefits to box wine, particularly that the packaging method is superior to others. It is also easy and far safer to carry around. Box wine also helps preserve the wine allowing it to better age to perfection with no additional oxygen seeping in and tampering with the flavor. Another advantage is that the box wine is not subject to spoilage or cork taint even after the wine is opened. There is greater storage efficiency since the risk of breakage is eliminated as compared to bottles of wine.
However, there are also disadvantages to box wine mostly that the bag is not hermetically sealed which means the unopened shelf life is shorter than other wines. Also, connoisseurs categorize box wines as "cheap" wines claiming that the wine does not have the authentic aged taste as other wines.
Box wines can generally be found at any liquor or wine store. Otherwise, a local specialty wine shop should certainly carry box wine. You can also order box wine online. With the ease in transporting box wine, there are many different companies selling box wine on the internet allowing you to order from anywhere in the world.
Keep in mind that boxed wines come with fewer options since they are fermented and not stored the same as bottled wines. Another advantage to bottled wines is that they offer a greater variety from which to choose. Again, whether or not to choose bottled wines over boxed wine is really a matter of individual preference and varies from person to person.
Just as many have a preference for either
white wine or red
wine, or even certain types of such wine choices, many have a
either bottled wine or box wine. As you see, there are several
disadvantages to boxed wine which need to be considered before
Regardless of the storage method, though, wine has been enjoyed
history and continues to remain a popular social beverage from dinners
parties and even a quiet evening at home.
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