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Archive for the ‘Australian Wine’ Category

The History of St Andrews Vineyard…

For over 40 years, from 1891 until 1934, the St Andrews vineyard at Auburn was one of the leading wine producers in the Clare Valley.  The property was developed by two Scotsmen, John Christison (1849-1911) and David Alexander Lyall (1860-1956) and was named in honour of the patron saint of Scotland, St. Andrew.

On the 21st of September 1891, John Christison and David Lyall purchased Sampson Montgomery’s 323-acre farming property at Auburn with the intention of planting vineyards and orchards. Planting began at St Andrews in 1891 and continued for the next two seasons. By 1895 St Andrews had 115 acres of vineyards and 19 acres of orchard and it was already being referred to as ‘a model farm’. One agricultural journalist wrote, ‘The vineyard and orchard are the best laid out plantations it has been my privilege to see in South Australia.’

The suitability of the land for vine growing was recognised from the outset. To quote a contemporary writer of the time (1896), ‘The character of the country changes a good deal through the vineyard, but the bulk is a light loamy soil containing a quantity of decomposed slate, and this rests on a clay sub-soil. But occasionally there are belts of limestone subsoil, and wherever this is the case the 2½ year old vines have made wonderful growth.’

Ernest Whitington of The Register wrote in 1903, ‘The valley of the Wakefield contains some of the finest land in South Australia.  It does one’s heart good to drive through it.’

The grape varieties planted at St Andrews were Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec, Mataro, Cabernet Gris and Zante Currant (used mainly for dried fruit). In good years they produced up to six tons of dried currants. The orchards were planted to apples (900 trees), plums (600 trees) and apricots (300 trees).

Construction of the stone, gravity flow winery and cellars began in 1895 and it was used for the first time in the vintage of 1896 when 3500 gallons of wine were made (15,911 litres). The original wine cage was the hollow log of a large gum tree and the press a 1.5 tonne log which worked as a lever.  Production of wine increased rapidly over the next few years – 10,000 gallons in 1897, 15,000 gallons in 1898, increasing to 28,000 gallons in 1903.

Historic St. Andrews winery - circa

Additions were made to the cellars in 1897-98 bringing the storage capacity to 65,000 gallons. A cooling system was introduced that same year.

In 1896, a reporter from the Observer wrote; ‘The Wakefield River runs through St Andrews, and Mr Lyall has ingeniously diverted a small stream for irrigation purposes.  The sight which met our view upon entering the property was delightfully refreshing and cheering…’

The winery cellars were described in 1897:  ‘The cellars are on the hill side, are well built, and every care has been taken in arranging, so that the whole work is done by gravitation.… The cellars are three stories high, one being underground, and the second storey is half underground. The cellar, casks, and everything connected with the cellar are scrupulously clean, and the wines sampled by us proved, without doubt, that Mr Lyall is determined that the St Andrew’s wine will make a name for South Australia.’

And the St Andrews wines did became very well-known. Christison & Lyall concentrated on making a light claret style wine for the export market with much of the wine being exported to England. They also produced ‘a very fine fruity port’ for which there was strong local demand.

Ernest Whitington from The Register, reported in The South Australian Vintage 1903, ‘Only the best sorts of vines are planted at St Andrews and most of them are trellised. In every way, the vineyard is worked on the most up-to-date scientific principles… The winery and cellars are well built, substantial and fitted with modern appliances… Mr Lyall has succeeded in making a first-class wine at St Andrews and it is admirably suited for the export trade…He is one of the most popular men in the district and everyone wishes him the best of luck.’

In August 1907 David and Emily Lyall purchased John Christison’s interest in the business. By 1910 the storage capacity of the winery had grown to 80,000 gallons, making it the second largest winery in the Clare district. The winemaker from 1919 to 1926 was Michael Auld, later Managing Director of Stonyfell Wines (1943).

Vintages in the 1920s produced up to 28,000 gallons of wine. The last vintage was in 1932. The Lyalls sold St Andrews in March 1934 to pastoralist Joseph Kenworthy. David Lyall retired to Walkerville. He died at Medindie on 27 August 1956 aged 96; buried at North Road Cemetery.

Joe Kenworthy was more interested in livestock grazing and race-horses than wine production and most of the vineyards were pulled out. He developed a Merino stud at St Andrews and converted the winery into a woolshed.  The St Andrews house was rebuilt in its current two-storied form in 1939. The Kenworthys were great supporters of the local community. They would often give the use of their place for a annual fundraising events.  Joseph Kenworthy died in 1943 aged 70. His funeral cortège travelled from St Andrews to the Auburn Cemetery.

Mrs Blanche Kenworthy remained at St Andrews for a further 30 years following her husband’s death. Mrs Kenworthy, who became one of the largest landowners in the district; died in May 1972.  In 1959, prior the Mrs Kenworthy’s death, the homestead and some of the Kenworthy’s land passed to Lawrence and Daphne Iskov. (Daphne was Blanche Kenworthy’s grand-daughter).

The Taylor family quickly recognised the potential of the adjacent St. Andrews property when they were first establishing their vineyards in the Clare Valley, and wanted to make it a part of the estate.  So, on 2nd of November 1995 the family purchased the property and became proud custodians of a piece of Australian wine history. They immediately set about the task of ‘recreating history’ and began restoring the property to its original purpose, a vineyard to produce handcrafted wines that stand alongside Australia’s iconic wine names and proudly showcase their Clare Valley origins.

The St Andrews vineyard now forms part of the overall Taylor family estate, which consists of 750 hectares in total with over 400 hectares under vine, planted in the finest terra rossa soils.

St.Andrews Original Winery

On Taylors St Andrews wines…

In 1999 the first of the Taylors St Andrews wines were released, including a Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Riesling.  Fruit for the St Andrews wines is selected from those blocks on the family’s estate that consistently produce the finest examples of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Riesling.

The Riesling is predominantly sourced from the St Andrews vineyard – block A80 and A81; an east-facing, sheltered site on the southern border of Watervale.

The Shiraz is predominantly sourced from two gently west facing sites; The 40 acre block (one of the oldest on the estate) and the St Andrews vineyard – block A30; a block that has been delivering fruit quality deemed ‘from heaven’ and so nicknamed ‘God’ by the winemakers.

Chardonnay is sourced from the St Andrews vineyard – blocks G30 and V20; a north-eastern site planted to French chardonnay clones that consistently delivers wine of greater ‘palate completeness’ and ‘elegance’.

The Cabernet Sauvignon is predominantly sourced from the St Andrews vineyard – block A60 and A70 block; vineyards that whilst basking in the sheltered warmth of the river flat still yield very shy bunches of tiny berries, resulting in those highly concentrated varietal fruit flavours sought by the winemaker for the flagship range.

St Andrews Range

The consistency of quality that these blocks deliver along with optimal viticultural techniques and a handcrafted approach to winemaking allow the unique site characteristics to shine through, making the St. Andrews wines a true reflection of what is known as ‘terroir’.  Indicative of the family’s commitment to producing a benchmark Clare Valley wine, the St Andrews wines are released only in what are deemed ‘exceptional’ vintages and with the Clare Valley region’s climate being what it is, this occurs more often than not.

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At the Taylors family winery, things are ‘full steam ahead’ as far as vintage 2017 goes with things progressing steadily and without incident.  The weather for January saw reasonably mild conditions with only 7 days registering a maximum temperature greater than 35°C and temperatures well in line with long term averages for the region.  Overall for the month we received almost 52 mm of rainfall, just under half of that we received in 1 day on the 20th January!  That day the temperature was also high – around 36°C – which can be problematic as these conditions tend to promote mildew diseases but Mother Nature was on our side and the temperatures quickly plummeted overnight to 21 °C for the next day coupled with reasonable winds – helping to dry out the canopies and dissipate humidity.  In any case, our vineyard team worked diligently to keep on top of any potential outbreaks and as a consequence, we saw no evidence of any mildew issues on the estate.

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The harvest commenced at our Clare Valley estate on the 1st of March as usual with a white variety; Pinot Gris.  The following day, we harvested Pinot Noir for sparkling base – which is technically a white wine too.  The winemakers were pleased to be able to use some new picking bins specifically designed to protect the juice from picking up any colour.  They have what is essentially like a sieve fitted inside the bin and any free run juice is protected from skin contact by draining through the holes in the sieve, collecting in the bottom to be syphoned off prior to being tipped into the press. These new bins will also be employed when the Pinot Noir for our Rosé wines are harvested, resulting in much better control of colour & phenolic pickup during the harvest and ultimately a more delicate wine.

Riesling was the next variety to be harvested on the 5th of March, quickly followed by Chardonnay and by the 24th of March, all of the white varieties from the estate had been harvested bar the Viognier.  We pick that at the same time as the Shiraz as the two varieties are co-fermented for our Eighty Acres wine.  Meanwhile, we commenced harvesting the first red variety from the estate, Tempranillo on the 8th of March.  Things quickly picked up from there with the team picking good quantities of both Shiraz and Merlot from the 10th of March.  The first of the Cabernet Sauvignon from the estate was only harvested yesterday on the 28th March and with the mild, sunny conditions promising a lovely long ‘hang time’ for the Cabernet Sauvignon – which bodes well for the wines we’ll produce.

At the time of writing, we’re only around 40% of what we intend to pick from the estate and as a comparison, this time last year, we were almost 85% through!

As far as the harvest from our grower partners in other regions go, Shiraz from McLaren Vale is the only one to reach 50 % completed so far.  We still have quite a bit to come in from the Adelaide Hills and also our Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra for the Jaraman range.  This is often the last fruit to come in over vintage.  With the weather holding beautifully for the foreseeable future, it’s certainly been slow and steady but you know, that’s just how we like it!

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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.

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White wine should be served chilled and red wine should be served at room temperature. Well, that’s the general rule anyway. But what if room temperature happens to be too warm to be enjoyable? Truthfully, red wine should never be served at room temperature in Australia. This rule dates back to when wine was served in European dining rooms in medieval times. Before air conditioning and central heating, those big halls usually sat at a cool 15-18 degrees naturally.

Nowadays, the room temperature refers to the temperature of a European cellar. Even with homes being warmed and cooled, the temperature of the average European cellar is still the same as back in the medieval times. That means when you choose a bottle of red to drink with dinner, you can serve it straight away. In some parts of Europe, the place where they store the wine can be even colder than this, dropping down below 10 degrees. In this case, the wine will need to be bought back up to ‘room temperature’ before being served. It is not uncommon in European households to bring their wine inside the heated area of the house to warm up before enjoying it.

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The myth of room temperature

In Australia, room temperature is much higher on average at 21-25 degrees. If a bottle of red is opened and served in that environment, you will get a strong alcohol taste and it could be quite acidic. If you cool the wine down first, you will unlock the aromas and the optimal taste will emerge. The strong alcohol taste in warm wines will overpower the subtler flavours that are what makes the wine special. It is especially worse in red wines as they often already have a higher level of alcohol to start with.

It doesn’t take long to cool a bottle of red down because it doesn’t need to become cold, it just needs to be cooler than room temperature. Put the bottle in the fridge for 15 to 45 minutes or so, and it will drop to a good temperature. If you usually drink your wine at Australian room temperature, you will notice a really big difference by doing this. You don’t have to get out a special wine thermometer to check that you’ve reached the exact optimal degree, you can just check the temperature sensor on Taylors Estate and Promised Land wines or taste the wine at intervals while it slowly warms up or cools down, and choose the temperature that you enjoy most.

Room temperature variations

Back in medieval times, the only thing that would make a room temperature fluctuate is the outside weather. And even then, it would take a long time for those old stone buildings to heat up. These days, we have a whole host of reasons why a room may go hot and cold. In older homes, poor insulation can account for a hot house in summer and a cold house in winter. The temperature can swing quite dramatically with the changes of the seasons, so anyone storing wine in an older home may find the wine ages faster than what it says it should do on the bottle. Sudden changes in temperature is not good for any wine, which is why bottles are normally stored somewhere constant like a cellar.

There is also an enormous difference in the levels in two-storey (or more) homes. As heat rises, the top level of a multi-storey home can be 8-10 degrees warmer than the ground level. That kind of temperature difference can make a big impact on your bottles of wine if you store them in a room upstairs. Always store wine on the ground level or below if you can.

Another thing that can make an impact on the room temperature in your home is if you have a leaky air conditioning duct. Up to 30% of airflow can be lost through ducts that have even small leaks. Sometimes, it isn’t obvious that you have a leak and as much as you try to keep your house cool it just doesn’t seem to be dropping in temperature. Meanwhile, everything inside the home is getting hotter and possibly spoiling.

High humidity levels can alter the temperature of a room. Dry air, however, can spell disaster for wine that uses a cork. Dried corks will eventually crack, which then allows oxygen to get into the wine before you’ve even opened it.

There are so many variables at play when it comes to room temperature that it would not make sense to have wine served at ‘room temperature’ in different homes or restaurants across the world.

If the temperature in your home fluctuates between extremes, it might be a good idea to invest in a good wine fridge. Choose something that controls humidity as well as temperature, and you will be able to enjoy wine at the optimal drinking temperature no matter what the weather is doing outside.

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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It is quite normal for the majority of people to serve their wine without really thinking about the temperature of it. The red is served straight from the shelf or storage area at room temperature, and the white is served completely cold straight from the fridge. However, just as you wouldn’t enjoy a lukewarm cup of tea compared to a hot one, it is a lot more enjoyable to drink wine at the optimum temperature.

While it is true that red wine should be served at a warmer temperature than white wine, there isn’t really any truth to the notion of serving it at ‘room temperature’. And although white wine is delicious when it is chilled, it shouldn’t be consumed too cold.

Why does temperature matter?

The serving temperature can literally change the scent and the taste of a wine. It can enhance the flavour or it can make it unpleasant. That is why serving temperature is so important.

Wine has many different layers of aroma and taste. As wine changes temperature, it will slowly release the different layers and when you reach the optimum drinking temperature, you will experience all of the notes in a wine, even the really delicate ones. However, if you serve a red wine that is too warm you will likely be overwhelmed by a strong taste of alcohol. And if you drink a white wine when it is too cold, it will be quite tart.

The colder the wine, the more the acids and tannins are accentuated. Tannins are good but not when they are too dominant and throw the wine out of balance.

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A glass of wine that is too cold will also lose most of its aroma. The wine becomes flat and dull, and doesn’t really smell of anything much. If you are unsure how to serve it, aim to be on the cold side. Sniff the wine and if you can’t really smell anything then give it a while to warm up and try again. Once you can detect the different aromas in the glass it is ready to drink.

Red wine that is really warm is not pleasant to taste. Even worse, if it is exposed to too much heat and for too long it will actually damage the wine completely. Be careful that any wine is not stored near sources of heat such as fridges, stoves or areas of direct sunlight or there will be no saving the wine.

The Optimum Drinking Temperature

Every wine has an optimum drinking temperature. That is the temperature that a wine will taste at its absolute best. Super cold for white and overly warm for red means the wine will not be reaching its full potential.

The myth behind room temperature for red wine came from Europe where, centuries ago, the wine was served in large, stone dining halls. It was long before electrical heating was invented, so the red wine was never exposed to high temperatures. In fact, it was often served around the 15 to 18-degree mark, which is perfect for red wine.

These days, with a warmer climate in Australia plus indoor heating, room temperatures can get as high as 25 degrees on average, and sometimes even higher. Because of this, the taste of red wine can become compromised. In Australia, it is recommended that you cool your bottle of red wine down to a similar temperature that they enjoyed in the medieval times.

A bottle of white wine should not be stored in the fridge long-term or it will get too cold. Instead, only place the wine in the fridge a couple of hours before you intend to open it. The bottle will be cold to the touch when it is ready. If you have kept it in there for longer, take the bottle out at least half an hour before serving so that it has a chance to warm up slightly.

Getting the drinking temperature just right

For red wine, put the bottle in the fridge for 15-45 minutes before serving. For white wine, put it in for a couple of hours. The red wine bottle should feel cool to the touch and the white wine bottle should feel cold.

If you are unsure and would like to work out the exact right drinking temperature for your favourite wine, why not try experimenting with it? Put the bottle in the fridge for an hour and then take it out. Pour yourself a small glass and taste it. Continue to pour a small glass every 15 minutes or half hour and taste it. Take notice of the difference in aroma as well as taste as the wine begins to slowly warm up. Once you have found the temperature at which the wine tastes the best, take note so you can enjoy it this way every time.

If you’ve been served a glass of wine at a restaurant that is too warm, don’t be afraid to ask for a cube of ice or two. Pop it into the glass for just a minute. This will be long enough to cool the liquid without watering it down, and will taste much better than a glass of wine that is too warm.

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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Did you know even if you are a wine aficionado, there is a very good chance that you are drinking your wine at the wrong temperature? It is a common mistake to go by the old ‘rule’ that red wine should be served at room temperature and white wine should be served straight from the fridge.

The truth is, red wine should be served at what is called ‘cellar temperature’, which is actually cooler than the room temperature most people aim for. And while white wine should be chilled, straight from the fridge is actually too cold.

The idea about serving red wine at room temperature actually hails from Europe. There, a good bottle of red will be served directly from the cellar where in actual fact, the temperatures are quite a bit cooler than those of an average room in Australia. Especially in summer! The temperature of wine from the cellar ranges between 15 to 18 degrees. This is actually the optimal drinking temperature of most varieties of red wine. However, average (climate controlled) room temperatures in Australia are usually between 23 – 25 degrees and of course, when outside in the typical Australian summer, a lot warmer!

If you cool a bottle of red wine down slightly to bring it to 15 – 18 degrees, you will notice a big difference in the taste and the overall experience will be much improved. Try one of these methods on your favourite bottle and enjoy the new flavours and aromas that are unlocked.

View our taylors-wines-optimum-drinking-temperature-guide to check the perfect serving temperature by varietal.

Taylors Wines Optimum Drinking Temperature Guide

 

Pop it in the fridge

The refrigerator may feel like a place reserved only for white wine or bubbles, but you should also make room for the red. As odd as it feels, the next time you wish to enjoy a bottle of red, pop it in shortly before serving. Don’t leave it for too long, just 15 minutes will do the trick. Any longer is not ideal, but if you do forget about it and go overtime just take it back out and let it warm slowly via room temperature. If you’re pushed for time, the freezer is another option. Wet a tea towel and wrap it around the bottle before placing it in the freezer to speed the process up a bit.

Decant before the fridge

If you have guests pop in unannounced, you may find waiting 15 minutes for the wine to cool in the fridge is too long. Not a problem, simply decant the wine first. Smaller amounts of liquid will cool much faster than a whole bottle. Pour the wine into the individual glasses and place them carefully into the fridge. This is especially pleasant on a hot day as the whole glass cools down and keeps the wine at the right temperature for a tad longer.

Chilled ‘rock’ cubes

Plopping an ice cube into a good glass of red wine is guaranteed to get you some eye rolls from people. But if done with those cool little cubes of marble usually reserved for whisky, you can chill your red just enough to get it to the right temperature without ruining the taste. Pop the chilled ‘rocks’ in to cool the wine down and then simply take them out and pop back into the freezer to use again another time.
Another idea is to use frozen grapes. Place clean frozen grapes into your glass and you will still get the full effect of an ice cube but without watering the wine down. It can also be a cute talking point at your next dinner party. Worst case, use an ice cube but make sure you take it out before it melts and ‘waters’ down the flavours in your wine.

If you are not at home

If you are camping or having a picnic and your bottle of red is a bit on the warm side, you can use nature to your advantage. On a really cold day, you can simply keep the bottle outdoors and it will gradually cool down to the right temperature. Or if there is a stream nearby, place the bottle in carefully for about half an hour until it has cooled. Turn the bottle occasionally to cool it down faster.

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Use a gadget

There are several gadgets on the market designed to either cool your wine down fast, or keep it cool on those hot days. There are electric ice buckets that can make a bottle cold in just 3 minutes, frozen sleeves to keep the bottle cool while it is on the table and frozen wine glasses designed to keep each serve refreshingly cool for hours. But you can’t go past the Corksicle Air, a plastic icicle full of gel that you freeze and then put into your wine. It won’t make a warm bottle of white go cold, but it will cool down a red to the desired temp or keep the white cold for longer. It will also aerate your wine while it pours.

White wine lovers

If you are drinking your white wine straight from the fridge, you are having it too cold. Most refrigerators are set to around 4 degrees, but most varieties of white wine should be served between 8 and 10 degrees. You should allow your white wine to warm up slightly before enjoying it. This can be done simply by taking the wine out of the fridge around half an hour before serving it.

When in doubt, always serve the wine a little colder than what you think it should be. Anything out of a fridge will eventually warm up, but it won’t become cooler on it’s own.

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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Pouring yourself a glass of wine, and taking that first sip can be one of life’s great pleasures. There are a couple of factors at play here in creating that amazing experience. There is, of course, the taste of the wine. But helping create that overall enjoyable experience is also the aroma of the wine.

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What does wine and a wet dog have in common?

Have you ever heard someone say ‘tastes like a wet dog’? We are willing to bet they have never actually tasted a wet dog, yet this term is used to describe tastes. Why? Because it is said that 85% of your taste is actually derived from your sense of smell. So if you smell something as strong and obvious as a wet dog, you can almost taste it in your mouth. And you can certainly recognise it when something does taste as bad as a wet dog.

The same applies when you have a head cold – your nose is blocked up and you notice that you can’t really taste your food properly anymore.

So although the smell of wine is enjoyable, it is also pertinent to the taste of wine.

When you are wine tasting, if you keep an open mind to the possibilities of what the aroma could bring, you will be amazed at the new world that is opened up to you. Aromas from fruit and plants, through to coffee or spices will present themselves and often there will be a mixture of several scents to take in.

When it comes time to taste a wine, really take the time to work out what aromas and flavours are in each sip. Before trying it, swirl the glass so oxygen will go into the wine, and this will allow the aromas to be released. After a moment, take a sniff from the glass. It is best to leave your mouth open slightly, and to take several short sniffs, but you do whatever works best for you.

If you do several short sniffs, you’ll unlock more of the aromatics in the wine and be able to discern the different layers. Remember, be open minded about what you may be picking up. If you are new to wine tasting it can be a good idea to take a copy of the Davis Wine Aroma Wheel to understand what you might be smelling.

When it comes to aroma, you will see many descriptive terms for what you may taste and smell in the glass of wine. It might be fruits, such as blueberries or cherries, or floral such as roses or geranium, or they might fall into other food categories with flavours like coffee or chocolate, vanilla or pepper.

There are three levels of aroma: Primary (usually what is experienced in a young bottle of wine and the smells are mainly related to fruit), secondary (this relates to the smells that have come about because of the winemaking process)and tertiary (these are related to the smells that appear over time as the wine ages). The secondary and tertiary qualities often come out more in a mature wine as the more primary fruit aromas drop away. These ones are layers that offer more depth and complexity.

 What can influence the aroma?

There are quite a few factors that go into the aroma of wine. It starts with the soil that the vines were planted in and the type of grapes being grown. It ends with how the wine maker chooses to create the wine.IMG_7837

The type of grape used is the determining factor on the kind of wine produced, so therefore has a huge influence on the taste and the smell of a wine. But the same type of grape can produce two very different tasting wines when other factors come into play. For example, a sauvignon blanc that is made in a cool climate region will taste and smell different to one from a warm climate wine region.

Wine produced in warm climate regions will be bigger, bolder, with higher alcohol and less acidity. This is because with more exposure to sun, the sugar content of the grapes increases faster. A cool climate wine will be subtler in taste and aroma, with lower alcohol and higher in acidity.

Other environmental factors that have an impact on the aroma of wine is the soil, the location of the vineyard and whether it is on a sloping or flat block.

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The influence of the winemaker

Two more influencing factors are the maker and the end user. The winemaker will make many decisions that will vary the end result of the wine, such as what yeast to use to ferment, what (if any) type of oak is used and also how long to mature the wine before selling it.

Once the wine reaches the consumer, they will then make decisions that will change the aroma further. Such as what temperature to serve the wine, how long to air it, what glass to pour it into and what food to serve it with.

The taste and the aroma of wine is a complex area thanks to the many elements that go into growing the grapes all the way through to the many different ways you can enjoy a drop at the end.

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