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Experience Wine
Below are some educational tid-bits about wine - drinking it, serving it, and generally getting to know everyone's favorite beverage.

So is it good for me or not?
Temperature of Wine
Decanting Wine
Giving Wine
Types of Wine
Preserving Wine
How do I 'taste' wine?

So is it good for me or not?
Research has shown that the antioxidants in dry, red wines is beneficial to heart health and can protect against cancer. The antioxidants come from the skin and seeds of red grapes, where most fruit antioxidants are found, and show up most in Cabernets. There are a lot more things to think about before you start pouring that Sauvignon in your cereal so check out this article by the Mayo Clinic to learn more.

Temperature of Wine
We carry a few accessories for wine that allow regulation of wine temperature. You may wonder why people do this. Taste receptors vary with temperature, often with sweet becoming more noticeable when the temperature rises and more delicate notes masked when the temperature is too low. White wine should be chilled for about 1 and 1/2 hours, reaching about 50 degrees and red wine should be chilled at most for 20 minutes, reaching about 65 degrees. These are 'ideals' to get the most honest taste of that particular wine. If you're just starting out, play around with temperature a little bit and find out what you like.

Decanting Wine
The basic concept of using a wine decanter is to allow the wine, which has been bottled up for years, to breathe or 'aerate', thus allowing more tastes to come through. This is actually the process of oxidation and too much can ruin the taste. Think of it as stretching before going for a run. Carefully decanting can also strain out any sediment mainly found in old, red wines. When people swirl the wine around in a large wine glass before tasting, it is basically to let it breathe a bit. Decanters are uniquely shaped to increase surface area for wine to air interaction. Check out our decanters to see the shapes that work best. We also carry aerators which basically do the same thing but instantly for unexpected guests. The Vinturi Deluxe is a brand that gets rave reviews. Both red and white wines can be improved by decanting and each wine will be affected differently. Try a little taste test: pour yourself a glass of wine fresh from the bottle and see what you think. Decant that same bottle for about an hour and have another glass. What a difference!

Giving Wine
When is it appropriate to give wine? How will I know what the host likes? Giving wine has a long tradition. It's something nice you can pick up on the way almost anywhere, is easy to decorate with a wine wrap (hello True bags!) and is always a classy way to say 'thank you'. It can be hard with so many types of wine facing you, many written in different languages, to know what to buy your cousin's husband's nephew. Here are a few basic rules to follow. What is being served? Assume the wine will be opened at the party. It might not but if it is, match the wine with the food. Basically, light foods go with whites and heavy or dark foods go with reds. Is it celebratory such as New Year's? Champagne is good if you can afford it but it's not something to budget unless you want to see everyone spit it back in their glass. Avoid specialty wines like sangria, spiced wine, Port or Chianti. Ask the person attending the wine at the grocery or liquor store for a basic, but tasty red or white. Merlot is a good bet for drinkable reds and a Riesling for a white. Take the time to learn a few of the flavors/aromas the wine features to make more of an impression. Accessories are a great way to add a little substance to a gift but try to avoid simple corkscrews, which your host probably already has. Try a decorative bottle stopper, drip rings or a wine gift box to store special bottles in. These are all things you can never have to many of.

Types of Wine
It's not easy to find a pleasing wine amid the rows of bottles, often written in other languages, at a grocery or liquor store. Look for these terms, all easily seen on the label, and use this guide to find one you might like.


Whites
Pinot Grigio - A very light, crisp and dry wine. Not very sweet with a firm acidity. Flowery fragrance and good with fish and cream sauces.
Chardonnay - Another dry white with lots of flavor. A red drinker's white. Gains its flavor from oak barrel aging. Key ingredient in Champagne.
Riesling - A good starter white. Sweet and acidic with fruity and metallic undertones. Older Rieslings can be quite tart.
Gewurztraminer - Fresh lychee fruit taste as well as spice. Good with spicy foods. Strong aroma.
Sauvignon Blanc - Cut grass flavor and a little sour. Best when young.


Reds
Merlot - Very drinkable and good for beginners. Velvety and a sweet. A little spice and a little plum.
Pinot Noir - Fragrant and sweet. Berry taste. Varies from batch to batch.
Cabernet Sauvignon - Taste depends on climate grown in. Californian's can have plum or green bell pepper tastes. Washington and Australia's can have minty and eucalyptus hints.
Syrah - Dark purple fruits, peppery and sometimes saddle leather. Rose petal scent. The 'manliest' of red wines.

Rose/Blush
White Zinfandel - Can be light and fruity to big and rich. Sweet and low in alcohol.

Preserving Wine
If you allow wine to 'decant' too much, it will oxidize to a point of disrupting its flavor. If you have anything left in your bottle you can use a vacuum pump, like our Wine Vacuum Saver, or use an Argon based preserving system. Argon is a noble gas meaning it is too 'noble' to bond with any other elements, making it resistant to oxygen. Argon preservers let you spray the gas into your half empty bottle which pushes any air left inside out and continues to repel even if you don't cork it. This prevents oxidizing and keeps your wine fresh. The vacuum

How do I 'taste' wine?
Wine tasting isn't just to show off what you know. It can turn to that but the basic premise is to savor the wine slowly and experience it fully. Wine has a taste, a color, a smell and a feel, all very complex and deserving of individual investigation. After either corking or decanting, pour the wine to fill the glass 1/3 full. Let it move around and catch a whiff. That first smell might be different from the last so take note of what you are experiencing. Keep exposing the wine to air by swirling it around the surface of the glass. More aromas should be rising. People hold wine in their mouths and swish it around to taste it from all sections of the tongue and to get the full concept of the mouth feel of the wine. Imbibing alcohol will dull your senses which is why you spit after you swish. Try sipping it in different ways, they don't need to be exact. The whole idea is to let your whole mouth experience the wine and allow the wine to fully express itself by exposing it to air and movement.

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