You may here me have read that I sometimes recommend decanting a wine. Some wines really need it. The purpose is to aerate the wine. If you have ever seen someone swirling wine in the glass or 'letting it breathe' or waiting for it to 'open up.' They are all doing and describing the same thing. They are trying to get oxygen into the wine to help bring out some of the layers of flavors. It also allows a little of the alcohol to evaporate and bring out the aromas so that you can smell what you are tasting. The oxygen will also help soften the tannins in the wine. This is that dry puckery sensation you get when drinking some red wines. So when you first taste your wine from the bottle, if it is not what you expected, try aerating it and see if you get something much different. Don't decant a white or rose wine.
There is also another good reason to decant a wine. If you ever find yourself in the position to impress guests and don't want to advertise a bottle of $1.99 wine or a box wine, go ahead and serve it from a decanter. There's a good chance they won't know.
How To Eat a Poem
by Eve Merriam
Don't be polite.
Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that
may run down your chin.
It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are.
You do not need a knife or fork or spoon
or plate or napkin or tablecloth.
For there is no core
to throw away.
I love this poem. Eve Merriam is trying to say that you do not need to be prim and proper when enjoying a poem. I believe the same is true when we want to enjoy wine. You should not have to worry if you are using the proper glass or if you served the right kind of cheese and crakers with your glass. If you want to have a glass of chardonnay with your cheeseburger, then have it. I promise there are no Wine Police out there that will come to give you a warning. Go to http://hellogiggles.com/wine-time to see my point.
Enjoy wine for how it makes you feel. Not because someone told you what they caught on the nose or how balanced it may be or how long of a finish it had. The best person to tell you what you like, is YOU. One particular wine is my favorite because I first had it during a wonderful Valentine's Day dinner. Since then, everytime I have a glass, I am reminded of that great day years ago.
When serving La Granja 360, you will first want to decant the wine and let it sit for maybe thirty minutes to an hour. This will let it air out and tone down the acidity. Also make it much less "jumpy."
Then I came across these wine stoppers at Target. They are sold under the name Rabbit or Houdini. They are $4.00 for a pair and work perfectly. Easy to use and easy to clean. They will not leak when you store your bottles horizontally. Sometimes the cheapest and simplest things work the best.
I wouldn't bother with using a vacuum stopper unless you plan to store an opened bottle for more than five days. Also, if you are storing a red wine for an extended amount of time, put it in your kitchen's refrigerator vertically. Then let it warm to room temperature just before you are ready to enjoy.
We both concluded that while it is necessary to protect the integrity of the house bar, it is especially important to protect the top shelf of the wine cabinet. We both laughed. It is not that we condone under age drinking, but if it were to happen, let it happen with the vodka or whiskey or anything else they find on the lower shelves. Just don't touch any of my good bottles of wine on the top shelf!
Pictured is a 1999 Flora Springs Trilogy; a 2006 Opus One; a 2008 Simi Cabernet and a 2005 Stags Leap Cabernet.
What's on your top shelf?
ps: the party went on without incident.
The first one is a Kaiken Malbec from Argentina. Malbec is one of the great wines that you are not drinking. Malbec was previously used to blend with other wines but is now a varietal all its own. Malbecs are usually more earthy tasting, but Kaiken takes about half their yield and ferments it in steel and the other half in oak and then mixes the wine for bottling. The combination brings out more fruit while preserving its bold flavor.
The next is a Chateau Ste Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon. Wines from Washington State are really great. Remember, Washington has almost the same latitude as the best growing regions in France. This cabernet is good by itself or with a meal. It has the distinction of being my 'house wine.' When it's on sale, I make sure to stock up.
Finally, Ravens Wood Old Vine Zinfandel. For me, Ravens Wood has perfected Zinfandel. This is great for someone who wants more than a cabernet but still wanting a good everyday wine. Old vine zins will be more 'jammy' than a regular zinfandel and would compliment spicy food or sharp cheese.
Let me know if you come across any great wine and would like to share your experience. What's your 'house wine?'