Wine Basics Part 1

Articles
March 30, 2010

Wine Basics Part 1

Wine Basics Part 1

Should wine be aged in the bottle before it is drunk?
Most wines on the market today are designed to be ready to drink when you purchase them and do not need to be aged. There are wines that are designed to be aged, and if you are interested in these wines ask your local wine merchant for suggestions of wine that will benefit from aging. These are typically red wines with a high level of tannins (such as Cabernet Sauvignon), and a few white wines that are very concentrated and intensely flavored. Serious wine collectors store their wines in wine cellars or use special home storage systems for wines they buy specifically to age.

How do you open a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine?
Hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle pointing the cork away from people or things that could be injured by a flying cork. Remove the wire muzzle. Hold the cork in place with one hand while you gently twist the bottle with the other. The cork should be released slowly.

What is the easiest way to open a bottle of wine?
The easiest way to open a bottle of wine is the method easiest for you. Most bottles of wine are stopped with a cork or a material simulating cork. This requires a wine opener of some kind to remove it. There are many "cork screws" on the market. The key is to find the one that works best for you.

Before using your opener of choice, remove the capsule (the material covering the top of the bottle, also called the foil) to expose the cork. If there isn't a capsule, remove any wax from the top of the cork.

The waiter's friend is a basic corkscrew that is screwed into the cork and then manually pulled from the bottle. It looks like a pocket knife with a folding knife, screw (called the auger or worm) and a lever. The knife is used to cut the capsule. Then the auger is screwed into the cork. Next, a notch on the lever is positioned on the lip of the bottle. As the lever is lifted up, the

What do I do if the cork breaks while I'm opening a bottle of wine?
If the cork breaks in half but is still stuck in the neck of the bottle, screw a corkscrew into it at an angle and pull it out. If you get the cork out but pieces of cork are left in the wine, you can pour the wine through a cheesecloth or coffee filter to remove the cork. If the cork becomes completely mutilated, the easiest thing to do is push it in, and then pour the wine through a cheesecloth or coffee filter to remove the pieces of cork.

Should wine be aged in the bottle before it is drunk?
No, the wine is fine. Simply remove the pieces of cork from the wine glasses after you pour it and drink as usual. If there is too much cork in the wine to remove easily, decant the wine into another container through a piece of cheesecloth or a coffee filter.

What do I do if the cork breaks while I'm opening a bottle of wine?
The reason some wine drinkers smell and examine the cork after it has been pulled from the bottle is to gather information. It is not at all necessary to engage in this ritual, but if you do, you are simply trying to assure that the bottom of the cork smells like the wine which has been in contact with it, and does not have the moldy smell associated with 'corked' wine. Crystals which look like salt clinging to the bottom of the cork are merely tartaric acid which has come out of solution and are quite tasteless and harmless.

Keep in mind the state of the cork is not always an accurate indicator of the quality of a wine.

Information courtesy of Wine Market Council.