Isn’t it strange that most people are very comfortable talking about a recent meal with their friends or even reviewing it online but when it comes to wine it all suddenly feels very intimidating?
Our mission is to take the “wank out of wine”, help you explore fabulous makers and feel happy about chatting about your favourite drops.
Wine is a journey and whether you’re just starting out or studying for your MW (Master of Wine), let’s remember that we’re all in it for the love of wine (aka fermented grape juice).
Today we’re kicking off “Sip Bits”, a Q&A series that answers your commonly asked wine questions to help you debunk the world of wine one sip at a time…
How long does open wine really last in the fridge?
Generally, wines should be consumed ideally before 3 days, but at most 5 days after opening. Once a bottle of wine is opened, oxygen begins to interact with the wine, causing oxidation or ‘aging’ of the wine. Cooler temperatures help slow that interaction and allow you to enjoy your wine longer. When you begin to notice sour or “vinegary” type flavours, it is time to say goodbye to that lovely bottle and introduce it into your cooking wine cabinet. Did anyone say white wine clam spaghetti?!
How long can you keep an open bottle of red?
This depends a bit on the type of wine that you have. The heavier and darker, more tannic wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah will last longer than a lighter Pinot Noir or Merlot. Overall rule of thumb for red wines is 3-5 days in a cool, dark space, wine chiller or even in the refrigerator. The heavier wines may actually taste a bit smoother after opening up the next day. Just make sure to bring your red wine back to room temperature to enjoy its full flavours and aromas.
I accidentally froze my wine, is it ruined?
Oops, we have all been here. A last minute guest, so you put your whites in the freezer to quickly chill it down and completely forget, or it’s a hot summer day and the reds are just a bit too hot. Either way, don’t worry too much, wine is fairly resilient. Especially in NZ where screwcap is king and you don’t have to worry about a ‘pushed’ cork, just bring the bottle back to room temperature or thaw in the fridge and drink it as soon as possible.
Should I hold a wine glass by the bowl or the stem?
Ideally by the stem. It’s not just proper etiquette or a snobby way to look, your body heat will actually heat the wine in the glass if you hold it by the bowl. But if you love your wine tumblers, don’t worry too much, it won’t completely ruin your wine experience. However, if you have proper wine glasses, definitely practice holding the stem, don’t think too much, and just gently hold the stem with the first three fingers, resting your other fingers on the base and put your swirling skills in action.
Does the temperature at which you serve wine really matter?
This question is a lot like ‘Does the temperature of your meal matter’? There is an ideal range of temperatures and you are sure to get more out of the tasting experience if you adhere to the guidelines, but let’s face it, we are not able to accurately gauge the ideal temperature in most situations. So it is important to go by basic ideals of temperature, i.e. chill your whites and Rosé’s in the fridge but don’t serve them ice cold and make sure your reds are at room temperature but not overly hot or cold.
What does ‘vintage’ mean?
Vintage is the year that the grapes were grown, harvested and made into wine. For most wines you will see a year on the label and that was the year that it was produced. White wines generally should be drunk while they are still young, whereas, many red wines improve with age and can be consumed for 10 years or more. There are occasions, with sparkling wine, for example, where you will see a ‘NV’ which means non-vintage. This is when a winery will blend several years together and can’t declare one particular vintage for the wine.
Should you always tip a champagne glass when pouring bubbles?
There have actually been studies done around this as the science behind bubbles is quite fascinating. How do you get small, beautiful, persistent bubbles that allow a perfect tasting experience? So, researchers in the heart of the French Champagne region claim that the secret to keeping the most amount of bubbles in a glass is to tilt the glass slightly and let it gently slide into the glass.. who knew!
What does decanting actually do to wine?
Technically, decanting can separate out any sediment or aerate the wine to enhance the aromas and flavours. In normal terms, it allows the wine to open up, soften and show what its personality is more quickly when decanted.
Wine is made up of all sorts of complex molecules and compounds, which is why each wine tastes and reacts differently. So for some wines it is best to allow the compounds in the wine to open up or ‘breathe’ by decanting it into a glass container. It can also be used to take out sediment for some wines. You can use it for both young and older wines to enhance flavor and aroma characteristics.
Can you decant white wine or just red?
You would never really think about decanting a white wine, but there are quite a few that would benefit from decanting. Look for wines that are aged or high end white wines that tend to be a bit ‘closed’ or awkward when they are first opened but then become absolutely delicious once they have been decanted.
What does wine ‘legs’ mean?
Have you ever looked at your wine glass after a quick swirl and noticed the long lines of wine that slowly meander back to the base of your glass? Those meanders can actually tell you a lot about a wine, its body and personality! Wine legs can indicate the amount of alcohol the wine has, with higher alcohol having more legs or droplets on the sides of the glass. It can also show how sweet a wine is, by how slow it flows down the side, i.e. the sweeter a wine, the slower it will go. So put this scientific phenomenon to the test and see what you find out!