Christmas has been a very busy time for us at Italyabroad.com and the next question everyone asked after choosing their wines was how to store and serve them.
Christmas is the time of the year where we tend to spend more on a bottle of wine, we are all looking for that special bottle, and once we find the special bottle or bottles, it comes the question on how to store and serve them on the big day, storing and serving a wine correctly becomes very important, if done incorrectly can spoil the whole experience.
The main factors to keep in mind when storing a wine are:
Keep it cool
Optimal wine storage is around 10C and excessive heat can damage the wine. Also, temperature should be kept steady, temperature variations can also affect the quality of the wine. Keep it dark
Most wine bottles are already dark to protect its content, however, if a wine is placed under a source of light, it will affect its quality. Keep it still and sideways
By keeping the wine on its side the cork will be in constant contact with the wine and kept moist, which should prevent the cork from shrinking and allowing oxygen to leak into the bottle and prevent oxidisation, the process that takes place once the oxygen comes into contact with the wine, that damages the wine.
Once the day has arrived and it is time to serve the wine, the crucial element too often under estimated, too often the reason for a bad drinking experience, is the temperature.
Serving a wine at the wrong temperature may seem unimportant and not that important, but it really can transform the wine.
A wine served at the wrong temperature mean:
1. The cooler the wine the less it will smell, unless it is a really bad wine and you have no choice but to drink it, chill it, and it will be like drinking cold water if white or rose or light red. If it is a full body red, better to use for cooking.
2. The warmer the wine the more aroma it will release.
3. Low temperatures emphasise acidity, bitterness and tannin.
4. High temperatures soften them, too high though, brings out the alcohol.
Light, sweet, whites 5-10 °C
Sparkling whites 6-10 °C
Light (aromatic) dry whites 8-12 °C
Sparkling reds 10-12 °C
Medium bodied, dry whites 10-12 °C
Full sweet whites 8-12 °C
Light reds 10-12 °C
Full dry whites 12-16 °C
Medium reds 14-17 °C
Full or tannic reds 15-18 °C
Once the wine is at the right temperature and ready to be opened, the next step is whether the wine needs to be decanted
or not. As a general rule, almost any wine can be decanted and benefit from the process, including whites and roses and sparklings, even if for a few seconds if only for the aeration. However, tannic wines needs to be decanted.
Decanting a wine has two main purposes. Separating the wine from the sediment from the liquid and aerating the wine.
Finally pouring the wine.
Wine should be poured into the glass preferably less than half full so that it allows room for the wine to be swirled and the wine to be aerated, this process represent an alternative to decanting the wine.
Lastly, if there are a few bottles left for next Christmas, a wine cooler could be the right choice for ensuring it stays good until then. There are plenty of options, from wine refrigerator to wine storage units, climate controlled cabinet, that have become very affordable.