Wine 102

Wine 102

A Wine Investment

Krystal Kakimoto & Camille Wong | Jul 20, 2017

Wine 102

So you've finally got the bottle of wine and the perfect food pairing to transform a simple meal into a dining experience, but when you open the bottle and take that first sip, you realize something is off! Don't let your investment fall flat- here are a few tips to ensure that your wine stays properly kept and delicious.

Ask The Questions

There are plenty of places to buy wine, such as specialty shops frequented by connoisseurs, collectors and the industry crowd. Then there are grocery and convenience stores whose selections are great for budding wine drinkers and more casual consumers. Regardless of where you decide to shop, a key factor to pay attention to is heat exposure. Overexposure to heat is one of the biggest culprits of poor wine storage, so ask the store how they keep the wine prior to it being placed on the sales floor. Wine should ideally be stored between 53-57 degrees Fahrenheit. Another good question to ask before you purchase is where the store buys their wine—distributors should use temperature controlled containers and air conditioned delivery vans.

Storage Is Key

After you have made your selection, storage at home should be kept to similar standards. Store your bottle in a cool, dark place, free of vibration or frequent movement. Many people store their wines on the top of the fridge or in a cabinet, but the best option for a budding wine collector would be to invest in a wine fridge, which keeps bottles at a controlled temperature and humidity level. If investing in a wine fridge isn’t in your future, bottles can also be stored on their sides in the refrigerator- but keep in mind this is most suitable only if you plan on storing them there for no longer than a month.

While improper temperature and storage are the main culprits of wine faults, they can be easily preventable.

Cork Those Habits

While improper temperature and storage are the main culprits of wine faults, they can be easily preventable. Here is a breakdown of what actually happens when these wine faults occur, and how to avoid them.

Oxidized Wine

When wine in the bottle is exposed to oxygen via a dried cork, the wine oxidizes, becomes duller in both color and flavor, and develops unpleasant nutty notes. If you are wondering what oxidized wine tastes like, leave some leftover wine on a counter for a week and see what develops. Unfortunately, there is no fix for oxidized wine but properly storing wine on its side is known to reduce corks from drying out and prevent the wine from oxidizing in the first place.

Maderized Wine

Exposure to heat can actually ‘cook’ your wine, resulting in processed flavors and an unpleasant jam-miness. If you open your wine and notice there are wine ‘lines’ traveling up the cork; that is an indicator that the wine was exposed to heat—heat expands wine, causing it to travel up the cork, and even pushing the cork out at times. Wines that are maderized cannot be turned back, but by keeping wines at the suggested temperatures, in conjunction with buying from a trusted store, you can help ensure your wine will be delicious.

Sulfur

Many wineries will add sulfur dioxide to wines to inhibit the growth of yeast, but sometimes their calculations are slightly off. Your wine will then have a cooked egg or rubbery smell to it. This fault can be fixed by decanting, which is the process of pouring the wine from one vessel (the bottle) to another vessel. This allows the wine to breathe off the sulfur dioxide.