FREQUENTLY ASKED WINE QUESTIONS
Over the years, many students and seminar participants have asked pointed and relevant questions about wine. Few wine writers’ bother with such questions, leaving them to lecturers, seminar leaders, teachers, and occasionally to sales representatives who conduct seminars for service staff of their best customers.
Here are some of the questions …
Where can I find the best values and/or wines?
Specialized retailers offer the best selection and treat their inventory with care. Some highly specialized retailers buy single-vineyard wines from importers specializing in one country or region.
Values may be found in chain stores that want to reduce inventory or buy in huge quantities at very low prices. Some chains fail to treat inventory carefully.
Should I cellar wine, and if so, for how long?
Wine, even after a short trip from the store, should “rest” fro at least 48 hours. Transocean-shipped wines need a minimum of six to 12 months to recover.
The length of the cellaring depends very much on the wine and how it was made.
Generally, low acid wines do not last for a long time. High acids, and/or sweet wines cellar well pending vintage quality.
Tannin content also plays an important role. The warmer the storage temperature, the faster the wine ages.
Appropriate cellar temperature is 53F (12 C) constant.
Which countries or regions offer the best value?
This changes, and also depends on type of wine an individual likes.
Presently, the best values originate in Portugal and southern Italy.
Which wines represent good value?
Value is a perceived quality and depends very much on how much money you can afford to spend. A fine Burgundy from a good vintage at $ 30.00 (Ontario prices) may be a good value compared to others in teh category, or a New Zealand sauvignon blanc at $ 12.00 from Moldavia. Expensive does not necessarily mean good value. Value also depends on your taste buds and how they have evolved.
How can I chill wine quickly?
The best way to do it is in a wine bucket with plenty of ice cubes, water and salt. Create the brine, plunge the bottle, and turn it a few times. After 15 minutes the wine (white or sparkling) should be cold enough to appreciate.
Do the size and shape of glasses affect flavour?
Very much so. Large glasses allow the wine to develop in the glass if the glass is 1/3 full for red wines. The shape of the glass affects both aroma and flavour.
For red wines, use large-bowl glasses, for white wines slender with tapered opening and for sparkling flute shaped, very slender are best.
Does decanting make the wine taste better?
Yes. Decanting serves two purposes, the first of which is to separate agglomerated tannins from the liquid, and the second to expose the wine to oxygen.
Very old red wines should be decanted into narrow shaped decanters and consumed quickly before they “expire”.
Young red wines should be decanted at least 1 – 1 ½ hours before consumption to “breathe” sufficiently.
Even white wines benefit from decanting, but not long breathing.
Oxygen is the liberator and death of wines.
Which wines are the most effective to get inebriated?
Sparkling wines and wines of high alcohol content, 14 – 15 per cent ABV. You should never drink to get drunk.
Why should I swirl the wine in the glass?
Swirling volatilizes aromas, and that liberates the wine to give of tis best and to offer aromas and/or bouquet.
How do I recognize a wine defect?
There are many wine defects the most frequent of which are
Cork- wet cardboard smell
Roasted nuts or dried out straw (acetaldehyde) Mostly found in sherries
This is a characteristic of sherries, but in regular table wines it is considered a defect.
Brettanomyces – barnyard
Burnt rubber or cooked cabbage (mercaptans)
Volatile acidity (vinegar)
Fake candy with banana flavour (amylacetate)
Oxidized (exposed to too much oxygen)
Rancid butter (diacetly)
Rotten eggs (hydrogen sulfide)
Moldy grapes ( iodine)
Crushed geranium (sorbic acid)
Burnt match (sulphur dioxide)