In the world of wine, a common myth is to believe that all wines improve with age. The large majority of wines purchased today are designed for more immediate consumption. So should we drink now or cellar for later? These wines can lose their freshness and fruitiness within less than one year. Sparkling, red, white, rosé and sweet wines are all fighting time in different ways. On the other hand, barrel fermented and aged wines, sweet wines like Muscat or Riesling, fine red wines with tannins like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Bordeaux, Burgundy or Barolo will all improve with age because of the way they were made. However, do not hesitate to enjoy a Milano Sangiovese or Malvasia, the Terroir L’Ouverture, the Fleur Bleu Viognier or Zinfandel, or our award-winning Frisch Riesling now.
These types of wines are designed for just that purpose. As you’ll often read in my wine tasting notes, a good wine needs fruit, tannin and acidity to be appealing. Inside the bottle, bacteria, tannins and enzymes interact to transform the flavor of the wine. Good and appropriate storage is essential. Too much heat could dry out the cork and create leakage. Cellars provide the ideal habitat for aging wine, being cool and free of vibration — as well as being damp and dark. If you do not have a wine cellar, you can try to replicate this environment by finding the coolest and darkest spot in your house. I know that many people may have to make a choice between enough room for boxes of shoes or enough space for wine in their walk-in closets. What a dilemma!!!!!
To Chill or Not to Chill, that is the question…
White Wines usually taste their best when served chilled. The sweeter the wine, the colder it should be when served. White wines can be set on the table. Keeping wine on ice is recommended only for a short period.
- Dry Whites – Riesling – Chardonnay – Sauvignon Blanc: Serve chilled between 52 and 54 degrees
- Sweet Wines – Icewine: Serve chilled from 50 to 43 degrees.
- Red Wines are served at or near room temperature. Allowing the wine to breathe for about 1/2 hour prior to serving is also a very important step.
- Burgundy varietals – Bordeaux varietals – Shiraz or Syrah: Serve at 63 degrees; open about 1/2 hour prior to serving.
- Red Zinfandel – Pinot Noir: Serve at 59 degrees; open about 1/2 hour prior to serving.
- Beaujolais – Sweet Reds and Rosé: Serve this light, fruity wine chilled to around 54 degrees.
- Vintage Port – Tawny and Non-Vintage Port: Serve between 55 to 66 degrees.
- Rose Wines in general, are best served chilled. Serve chilled between 48 and 54 degrees.
- Sparkling Wine and Champagne taste best chilled. Again, a good rule of thumb is that the sweeter the wine, the colder it should be. This is best achieved by placing the bottle in a wine bucket filled with half water and half ice for approximately 20 minutes.
- Champagne – Sparkling Wine: Serve chilled between 41 and 45 degrees.
One general tip: no wine should be served warmer than 68 degrees.