AMAZING WINE TIPS, EDUCATION & INFORMATION FROM WINE AMBASSADOR
Think About Ingredients: Another great tip for our holiday food and wine pairing guide deals with the ingredients in both the wine and the food. Specifically, pair wines with ingredients that grow in the same region—what grows together, goes together, especially regarding specific flavor profiles. Take a look at where your wine comes from, and see if that helps you pair!
You Should Learn A Few Details About The Bottles You Serve When purchasing a new wine to serve guests, try to learn and remember a few details about it. Use the “what, where, when” approach. Where is the wine from? What grapes were used to make it? Does the winery have an interesting story associated with it? Does the wine have special significance to you? Having a few things in the back of your mind that you can say about each bottle will give you possible conversation topics and allow you to educate your curious friends and loved ones.
Don’t Pour Too Much At A Time: When pouring wine from the bottle into an empty glass, be careful not to overfill. The wine glass should never be more than two thirds full – I personally fill glasses only about a third of the way. That way, your guests will have the option of choosing to drink less while still having the option to refill. Also, wine glasses are carefully shaped to focus the aroma of wines. Overfilling a glass prevents it from enhancing your tasting experience.
Most wine is made with grapes, but they're not like the ones you find in your local grocery store. Wine grapes are also sweeter (they need the sugar levels to convert to alcohol), softer and juicier. Table grapes are crisp and refreshing, but they wouldn't make great wine because they just aren't ripe enough, and they don't have the skin-to-seed-to-pulp ratio that gives wine its flavor and structure.
What does the color tell us about wine? The boundaries between red and white wine are blurring. Generally speaking, there are enough clues in its appearance to give you a pretty good idea. In red wine, for example, an opaque, deep, dark purple will lead you to expect what you will, nine times of ten, get when you take a sip: a richly flavored, thickly textured, highly alcoholic wine. The opposite - pale red, translucent – suggests elegance, freshness, lightness of flavor and alcohol. But it doesn’t always work out that way. The red color in wine comes from a pigment called anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is present in many other fruits, including plums, blueberries, and cherries. You can also observe it in flowers (like orchids, hydrangeas, etc.). To evaluate the appearance and color of a wine, you need to look at it against a white surface under good, natural light. This is why a clear glass is important. Some of the things to look for are the depth of color, hue, and clarity. If you look at a red wine under natural lighting conditions and over a white background, you’ll get a pretty accurate impression of its hue. It might be difficult to see at first, but young red wines (under 5 years) range in hue from red, to violet, to blue. You can see this hue by looking towards the edge of the wine as it hits the glass. The most often-skipped step in tasting a wine is the swirl. Wines with more red colored hue have a lower pH (high acidity). Wines with a violet colored hue range from around 3.4–3.6 pH (on average). Wines with a more blueish tint (almost like magenta) are over 3.6 pH and possibly closer to 4 (low acidity). Try it out! Next time you stare into a glass of wine, try to identify the wine’s hue and intensity and see if the wine’s characteristics reflect its appearance.
Wine bottles should always be stored either horizontally, or at a slightly negative inclination to keep the wine in constant contact with the cork, which keeps the cork swollen and thereby ensure no air enters the bottle. When bottles are stored horizontally the distance of the air bubble from the cork means that when higher temperatures cause it to expand, wine may be forced out between the cork and bottle-neck (the sugary deposits round the neck of many sweet wines are cited as evidence for this). *Rotating a bottle doesn't change or improve that contact.
A clean, well-polished wineglass is the first step to enhancing your wine drinking experience. Odor-free, gleaming glassware is essential for every social gathering. So raise a toast and watch those glasses sparkle. This step is simple and easy to overlook, but it makes a big difference in the enjoyment of a wine when you can see it easily through a clean glass. Polishing also gives you a chance to check your glasses for leftover detergent smells from the dishwasher or dust from the cabinet.
Opening a bottle of wine is an art. Turn The Wine Opener, Not The Bottle. When inserting your corkscrew into the cork of an unopened bottle, it’s tempting to hold the corkscrew stationary and rotate the bottle with your other hand. While this technique is perfectly effective, professionals are taught to hold the bottle still and rotate the wine opener instead – leaving the label stationary for easier viewing. With the right tools, it's quick and easy.
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