Dos and Don’ts about Wine

If you are a seasoned wine lover then I’m sure you know the proper etiquette that is involved, drinking and serving wines. But if you are like many of wine drinkers there is confusion or “insecurities” about how much we do know. No need to feel stumped as fast as this industry has grown, wine making can be taught through the Internet.
For those who are new to this age-old courtship then allow me to impart some of my 6th generation wisdom in this article. I hail from a long line of wine makers in a southern region of Italy called the “Campagnia”. Our soils are rich with volcanic ash and hundred year old vines. The grapes are plumb and juicy during harvest time. And yes in case you are wondering it wasn’t until the last 40 years that my family has modernized its technique. I recall the smiles on everyone’s toothy and sometimes not toothy grins announcing to anyone who would listen they are now using a mule to pull the crusher rather than crushing it by foot.
Therefore a rule of thumb in order to understand wine in its most basic form is a wine is rated through “categories” but for the sake of this article I will keep things simple. There is Color, Smell, and last but not least Taste. Simply put these are the 3 general categories when discussing wines.
Keep in mind throughout the years wine has been a drink that brought people together, giving them a sense of friendship and family. Although this was something that rang true in years past it is still apparent in today’s society. People drink wine on special occasions. Some may serve it at a dinner party, a birthday, holidays while others drink it daily. For many, sharing a great bottle of wine is like sharing a piece of their heart.
First lesson never fill a wine glass. You need to leave about a quarter to a half inch of empty space in the glass. By doing this you allow the wine to breath including unlocking any flavors this nectar may hold. Some wines have such a strong flavor that in order to smell their bouquet one should swirl the glass and allow the scent to fill their nostrils.
Another misconception or “Faux Pas” I have seen in restaurants are people cupping the glass by its body…. Tsk! Please don’t do that. A wine glass has a stem for a reason... Use it. This is not a pretentious statement as some may think. Any wine connoisseur or “Sommelier” [a waiter in a restaurant who has charge of wines and their service: a wine steward] will tell you there are valid reasons for this. When holding the glass by its body it can affect the flavor and temperature of a wine. Keep in mind wine has a delicate balance that adds to a bouquet its temperature can alter the flavor. Therefore by holding the glass properly you can really savor the true bold tastes. Furthermore this allows the Sommelier or wine taster to truly enjoy the vibrant colors that age has offered. Some wine connoisseurs will go as far as decanting an older wine. This usually is done for wines that are at least 10 to 20 years old. The process is simple; you pour the open bottle into a clean decanting bottle made of fine crystal. This will allow the wine to adapt to the room temperature gradually. This also will eliminate any sediment to get through. For the younger wine (less then 10 years old) this process will give the wine ample oxygen and loosen any acidic flavor it may have.
Now that we have discussed the proper way of holding a glass including the reasons, let me mention that in my country red including white wine is served at room temperature. However, keep in mind we have cellars therefore wines are always cool in temperature when served. In this country white wine is usually served chilled. Some professional wine tasters may frown at this. The ideal temperature is usually about 55 degrees. It is said to affect the flavor and bouquet. What distinguishes the wines however is how they are stored. Some are stored in oak barrels while others in steel drums. The variety of storages will affect the wine. Some use special oaks that have been aged for centuries while others add spices to their containers giving some wines exotic flavors. But we are not going to discuss this for the moment. Let me say what I have seen in the last 20 years of wine making I applaud the new American wine makers; the new frontier is finally going back to its roots. Making a family wine.

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