Magazine article Sunset

How to Store & Pour

Magazine article Sunset

How to Store & Pour

Article excerpt

Relax and keep it simple-you don't need a fancy wine cellar or multiple gadgets to drink well. By Sara Schneider

as wine gizmos proliferate and sommeliers become superstars, it's easy to think that you don't have the right stuff to serve wine properly at home. I say, Nonsense. Wine needs only simple treatment to show well, and it takes just a little bit of thought to launch a "cellar" of your own.

Storing

If your time frame for storing a bottle of wine is just long enough to get it home from the supermarket, you're in good company: The vast majority of bottles are drunk within hours of being purchased. Nonetheless, don't let bottles sit in a hot car while you're doing errands, because heat is an enemy-it prematurely oxidizes wine and can even push out corks. Wine's other main foes are light and vibration, both of which speed up the Any dark aging process too. So the top of Spot that the fridge or the closet by the maintains furnace aren't great parking astable, spots. But any dark, still comer reasonthat maintains a stable, reason- ably COOl ably cool temperature will keep tempera* bottles in good shape. Sure, an tiire mill ideal cellar might hover around keep your 55°, but the most important bottlesin thing is to avoid wide swings. good

If you plan to store bottles sbape. longer than a few months, make sure the wine stays in contact with the cork (if corks dry out, ruinous air can get in). Of course, official wine racks are made to do this. But sans racks, just turn wine boxes on their sides or upside down.

Serving

In general, most of us serve red wine a bit too warm (room temperature) and white a little too cold (refrigerator temperature). Most reds taste best under 70°, and lighterbodied reds like Pinot Noir quite a bit under. Don't be afraid to give them a quick chill in the fridge. Conversely, pull whites out a little while before you serve them so they can warm up. Lighter, crisper whites like Sauvignon Blanc don't need to warm up much, but richer whites-Chardonnay, Viognier-will release their interesting layers more readily at about 55°. Ursula Hermacinski, a renowned wine auctioneer, has a great plan: "Twenty minutes before dinner, pull the white wine out of the fridge and put the red wine in."

Another step will improve young, tannic reds: Give them some air. I don't mean pull the cork an hour before dinner so the wine can "breathe" (precious little oxygen makes it through the neck of the bottle). Instead, splash the wine into a container (an official decanter or just a pitcher) and let it sit for 45 minutes to an hour. …

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