Here a few quick tips to get the most out of your wines:
– As a rough guide, red wines go well with red meat and heavier dishes, while whites are best with chicken, fish or on their own as aperitifs. Rosés are more for Summer when a red would be too heavy.
– Fruit aroma references you read in wine descriptions are mainly there for people to remember and describe a particular wine. it doesn’t mean that everyone will detect the aromas mentioned. They are subjective ‘colour codes’ to define wines. So don’t worry if you can’t find that hint of mango or tobacco…
– Don’t be put off by the screw top as these are now de facto in the modern wine-making world especially for whites. Even the top end wines use them now as they are much more reliable than corks which can react badly with the wine (corking) and damage an expensive bottle. Screw tops can also be more convenient, especially of you happen to have forgotten your bottle opener…
– Labels, and for some reason especially kosher wine labels, can be misleading and contain errors or omissions for instance grape content percentages, raging process and even sometimes whether a wine is Mevushal or not, etc. So best to ask your expert wine-seller.
– Probably the MOST important piece of advice to appreciate red wines is to always open the bottle about hour before serving. You will only taste the full potential of the wine if you give it time to breathe beforehand.
– Once opened, drink within one day. Two days max.
– Usually reds should be served at room temperature but some young light ones, like Beaujolais, can benefit from being slightly chilled.
– White wines should be young. Between one and 3 years old max. Anything older will have probably started to lose its freshness and flavour.
– Always serve slightly chilled, around 8 to 9 degrees celsius.
– Young whites can be kept up to five days after opening.
– Whites are mostly at their best if they’ve been kept in stainless steel vats, as opposed being aged in oak barrels, and fermented in very low temperatures to keep the freshness and crispness.
For those wanting to learn more, there are plenty of books out there but our favourite is ‘The Wine Bible’ by Karen McNeil. The title pretty much sums it up and you’ll find yourself endlessly dipping into the book to find out more fascinating grape-related facts. It’s available from Amazon.