(1) Serve the wine at the right temperature:
Though it is common wisdom that red wines are to be served at room temperature and white wines chilled, this will not give you the best wine tasting.
A bottle of wine opens up and releases its richest bouquet of aromas at a particular temperature. This particular temperature differs for each wine, depending on the grape variety and region. For example, a rich, intense Bordeaux could be served 2-3 degree below room temperature (~65°F); but a light, fruity red such as Beaujolais is best serve at least 10 degree (~54°F) below room temperature.
Typical temperature for storing red wine ranges from 52ºF %u2013 65ºF, and 45ºF- 50ºF for white wines. Generally speaking, serve more intense, fuller-bodied wines at higher temperature. For best wine tasting, do refer to a serving temperature by grape variety chart.
(2) Aerate or breathe the wine:
Aeration (airing) can make younger wines more balanced and smoother by rounding their tannins. In addition, airing helps get rid of bottle stinks -- the unpleasant odor that emerges when the bottle is opened.
Uncorking a bottle of wine and letting it sit for an hour is surely the worst way to aerate the wine. Not only must you wait an hour to drink the wine, but also the method is ineffective. Even after many hours, the narrow bottleneck still prevents much air from opening up the wine.
Most wine lovers use a decanter, a glass pitcher with a wide opening. The increased surface area allows faster aeration. If you don't want to invest in a decanter, swirling the wine in the glass helps aerate it.
The key to aeration is timing! A young, intense, tannic red might need up to 2 hours to open up. An hour is great for a mature, full bodied, complex red. As for aged wines (older than 15 years), they are highly volatile. Do not aerate them for more than minutes!
(3) Use complementary wine glasses:
Wine glasses help us better taste wine. Innovators like Claus Josef Riedel had spent years perfecting the shape and size of the wine glasses so that they can direct the wine to the right sensors on the tongue and funnel the aroma up to the nose.
Many wine lovers go all out with an extensive collection of wine glasses, each wine glass designed for a specific type of wine. If you don't want to spend a fortune on wine glasses, try the multi-purpose wine glasses that are designed to serve varietals.
Tips on wine glasses selection: Use larger wine glasses for red wines with strong aromas and complex personality. Wine glasses with smaller rim and volume are better for white wines with more delicate aromas; they can better concentrate its aromas and reduce aerating surface area.
Try these three small steps on the same bottle of wine and experience the big difference! Keep in mind that smell contribute to >90% of wine tasting and enjoyment. The right serving temperature, aeration, and wine glasses will bring the best bouquet (and taste) out of your wine.
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About Kendra: Kendra Kinney is a key contributor to BetterTastingWine -- http://www.bettertastingwine.com -- a nonprofit website dedicated to helping our community better understand and enjoy wine. Get free wine lessons, wine tips, and useful resources (e.g. wine serving temperature by grape variety chart) at http://www.bettertastingwine.com
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