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Archive for December, 2016

Did you know you have more control over how much you enjoy a nice bottle of wine apart from just choosing a good label? From storing to pouring, you can influence how your wine tastes. Follow these tips on how to enhance the flavour of your wine.

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Temperature

Temperature plays a vital role in the enjoyment of wine, from the moment the vines are planted all the way to the storage of the wine in your home and of course, the drinking of it. If a wine is stored incorrectly in high temperatures it will age and spoil before you’ve even opened it.

If you serve a red wine that is too warm the flavours will be masked by the alcohol. If you serve a white wine that is too cold, you also won’t be able to taste it properly as the flavours will be muted by the cold. If you have a cheap bottle of white that doesn’t taste very good, make it as cold as possible before serving!  For a white wine that you actually want to taste, enhance your drinking experience by leaving the bottle out of the fridge for a short while before serving and conversely, with a red, maybe put it in the fridge for a short time before serving – especially if it’s a warm day!

Decanting

So many wines are being made to enjoy ‘young’ these days, and so consumers often think there isn’t much need to decant it first. However, all wines will benefit from decanting, even the young ones. Decanting allows more oxygen into the wine from the design of the decanter. Also, the splashing motion when the wine goes from the bottle to the decanter will help to aerate it.

Of course, once the wine is exposed to air it will begin the oxidation process, which over a period of time will make your lovely wine turn foul. But if you plan to drink the wine soon after decanting you will not have to worry about this too much.

All older red wines should be decanted as a rule. This is because an older wine can throw off sediment as they age. When you decant the wine, don’t tip the entire bottle up, letting the sediment go into the decanter. Pour carefully at an angle so the sediment stays in the bottle but the wine is released. Aged wines may sometimes have a musty character, but this will go away with decanting.

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 Pairing food and wine

What is better than enjoying food or wine? Enjoying them together when you get the mix just right. When you match food and wine in the right way, it can enhance the flavour not only of the wine but of the food as well. To find the perfect match, you can keep a chart like this handy in your kitchen. Or you could just remember these two simple rules: white wine matches with light foods such as white meat, salads and fish. Red wine goes well with red meat or a rich casserole. Sparkling wine however, can go with just about anything as it acts as a palate cleanser.

If want to delve deeper, you can look at what makes up a wine and pair that to food. For example, if you have an acidic wine it will go well with fatty or sweet foods. A wine high in tannins will also go well with sweet food.

If in doubt remember one very important rule: this is not a contest between food and wine. One should not overpower the other, so if you are going for a light salad, don’t pair it with a bold red. And if you are going for a heavy, spiced steak don’t pair it with a sauvignon blanc. That is because one flavour will be the clear winner while you don’t taste much of the other one at all – and what is the sense in that? So the next time you are choosing a dish that is heavy or full of flavour, do the same with your wine. And same again for food and wines that have a more delicate taste.

Using the right glasses

Another way to enhance your wine tasting experience is to use the correct glass ware. The flavour of wine can actually be improved by using different drink ware for each type of wine. White wine glasses are smaller and narrower, while red wine glasses are larger with a wide opening. It is possible to get different shaped glassware for all varietals if you don’t have the storage room for that, just red and white glasses are fine.

Red wine glasses are wide at the top to allow more air in the glass, which in turn releases the wines aromas and influences the taste. White wine glasses are more narrow at the top, which leads the wine to go to the centre of your tongue when sipping it. By doing this, the wine mostly bypasses the sensors on the sides of the tongue, which in turn reduces the acidic flavours.

At Taylors Wines we have developed a unique, touch activated temperature sensor so you can tell when your wine is at the perfect serving temperature to enjoy. Read more about our new Optimum Drinking Temperature sensor and order your FREE sensor stickers today to take the Taylors Temperature Challenge and see the difference for yourself.

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Occasionally you will get a bottle of wine that is flawed. There are a few reasons why this might happen, but usually it is not the fault of anyone in particular. However, there are some ways you can accidentally ruin your wine:

  1. Serving temperature

All wine has an optimum temperature at which it is best enjoyed. Although not many people realise this, and certainly not many restaurants follow, red wine should be slightly ‘cool’ so it is not served too warm, and white wine should be allowed to ‘warm up’ when taken straight from the fridge. A bottle of white is actually far more enjoyable if it is just chilled rather than too cold and the taste of red wine can be ruined if you serve it too warm.

  1. Storage

There are some important rules when storing wine in your home. Find a place that has the right level of humidity. Too much and you can risk getting mouldy corks that will ruin the wine. Not enough and the corks will dry out and crack, letting air get into the bottle and oxidising it long before you even open it. Try not to move the bottles too often as it is best if they remain still. And finally, cork bottles should always be laying down as opposed to standing. Of course, if the wine is sealed with a screw cap – which most modern wines are – you can stand the bottles up and there’s no need to worry about levels of humidity. All wine should be kept in a darkened area, not exposed to direct sunlight. Even strong overhead lights can cause damage if they are left on all of the time and glowing directly on the bottles. If there will be lighting near your bottles, make sure you use bulbs with a UV protectant coating.

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  1. Overheating wine

Once wine hits a certain temperature it will begin ‘cooking’ and the damage done is irreversible. If you have a bottle of wine that has a cork in it and you fear it may have been exposed to high temperatures, take a look at the positioning of the cork. If it is slightly pushed out, this means the wine has been cooked and you can expect it will be ruined. Never keep wine in a place where it can be exposed to extreme heat such as next to the oven or above the fridge. When you are choosing a bottle from the shop, don’t choose the bottles that are near the windows as they may have been exposed to direct sunlight.

  1. Leaving it open for too long

Once a bottle of wine has been opened, oxygen will get in and the oxidation process will begin. You can slow this process down by re-sealing the wine properly but you cannot stop it, so the best thing you can do is make sure you drink the wine within the right timeframe. Red wines and heavy bodied whites should be finished within three to five days. Lighter white wines have a bit longer, lasting up to five days.

  1. Store it for too long

Always check the label of a new bottle of wine to see how long you should cellar it for. All wine is different, and while some may be ready to be enjoyed now, others may benefit from cellaring for a few years. But no wine is good if you leave it for far too long and miss the best year to open it. Read the labels carefully and try using wine tags on your bottles so you know at a glance which ones are ready for drinking.

The following ways in which a wine can be ruined cannot be helped by the end consumer. But these points are worth knowing about so you can understand if the wine you have bought is flawed and whether or not you should return it:

  1. Cork taint

When airborne fungi come into contact with cork, it will produce TCA. This is a chemical compound that will unfortunately ruin a good bottle of wine. At least three percent of wines that have a natural cork are affected by this fungus, but if you have a screw top this isn’t something you need to worry about.

  1. Volatile acidity

Volatile acidity is normal in all wines, but only in small quantities. However, if there’s bacteria in the winery the combination of this with the alcohol and oxygen, it can create volatile acidity to levels that will destroy the wine, leaving it tasting sour with a strong dose of vinegar.

  1. Fermenting after being bottled

If a wine is not filtered prior to bottling, there may be leftover yeast and sugar in the wine and this will cause the wine to begin fermenting again in storage. By the time you open a bottle that has been fermenting accidentally you will know due to the tiny bubbles, as well as the bad taste.

  1. Excessive sulphur

Sulphur is important in the winemaking process, especially when it comes to keeping bacteria away. However, too much sulphur can ruin a good bottle of wine. The result of too much sulphur is a wine that can taste or smell like burnt matches or rubber, or in some cases like rotten eggs.

  1. A yeast called brett

Brett is short for a yeast called brettanomyces which tends to grow in the barrels in wineries. It is difficult to fully eliminate brett once it has infiltrated a winery, and so some wineries have actually become known for producing wines that have the distinct flavours that brett can bring. In a small amount, it can be quite pleasant. However, in large amounts it will spoil a good bottle of wine.

At Taylors Wines we have developed a unique, touch activated temperature sensor so you can tell when your wine is at the perfect serving temperature to enjoy. Read more about our new Optimum Drinking Temperature sensor and order your FREE sensor stickers today to take the Taylors Temperature Challenge and see the difference for yourself.

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Temperature is very important when it comes to wine, not just for when you are storing it or serving it, but all the way from the very beginning. The moment a viticulturist plants a vine, temperature plays a big role throughout the process of the grapes growing, being processed into wine, being transported and stored correctly until the moment it hits your glass at the perfect degree.

It all begins where the grapes are grown. There are two climates that grapes are grown in: warm climate or cool climate. Even if the varietal is the same, the taste of the fruit will vary depending on which climate it was grown in.

Like all fruit, a grape needs a certain amount of warmth and sunlight in order to ripen fully. A sufficient amount of heat during growing season will yield a good crop, allowing the growers enough grapes to make wine or to sell on to winemakers. No one is in charge of the weather, so each year is different and no one really knows how it is going to play out. A colder than usual year will produce a very different tasting crop to one that has experienced a warmer than usual season.

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Just as the sun needs to be shining enough throughout the summer to produce an abundance of fruit, it also needs to become cold enough for the vine to go dormant during winter. The dormant part of the life cycle is actually just as important as the growing stage.

Grapes for wine are grown in all parts of the world. It can come from regions that experience colder temperatures, like New Zealand or Tasmania, or it can come from warm climates like Spain and Argentina. All of these regions work to their own strengths and plant varietals that are more suitable to the climate they are in. However, it is possible to grow most varietals in any climate, it will just impact on the taste of the fruit and therefore the wine.

Cool climate wine

A cool climate region is just that; an area that experiences colder temperatures. It doesn’t need to be an area that stays cold all year round, in fact they rarely do. In the warmer months they may experience very high temperatures, but there are other factors at play with how the grapes grow. It can depend on the length of the growing season, how fast the temperature drops off towards harvest time and how much direct sunlight the fruit is exposed to during the season. A cool climate may have a warm day, but the amount of hours the sun is out is vastly different to a warm climate. The metabolic process of the vine and the fruit will be slowed down due to less, or weaker, sunlight and the development of sugar slows down. This is why the wine will be more acidic than the warm climate wines.

A cool climate wine will be lower in alcohol, be light bodied and have a subtler taste. It will be higher in acidity. The type of grapes that thrive in cool climates are: pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc.

Warm climate wine

A warm climate will experience hot temperatures and a lot of direct sunlight. A direct, strong sun for more hours of the day will make the fruit grow faster and ripen more quickly. The sun also plays the lead role in how much sugar grows within the grape, so a warm climate wine will be sweeter to taste as the sugar content is higher.

A warm climate wine is usually bolder, with a full body and stronger fruit flavours. It will have a higher alcohol content and less acidity. Most reds are suited to warm climates.

Transportation and storage

No matter which climate a grape has been grown in, even if it is from the hottest corner of the earth, once produced into wine it should never be exposed to too much heat.

One of the biggest concerns for the growers and the wine producers is that the transportation of the wine to the shops and eventually to the consumer is done with the utmost care, so that each person can enjoy the same taste from the wine that the maker had intended. When wine is exposed to heat it will begin the aging process and can actually age a bottle up to four times faster than one that has been kept within the correct temperature range.

Once a customer has purchased a bottle of wine and intends to drive home with it, there is no need to be concerned about the temperature fluctuation from the liquor shop, to the car, to the house. A slow and small variation is not going to make a huge difference. However, if the wine is accidentally left in a hot car for a day or two there will be an unpleasant difference in the taste once it is eventually opened.

At Taylors Wines we have developed a unique, touch activated temperature sensor so you can tell when your wine is at the perfect serving temperature to enjoy. Read more about our new Optimum Drinking Temperature sensor and order your FREE sensor stickers today to take the Taylors Temperature Challenge and see the difference for yourself.

taylors-temperature-challenge-footer

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