Wine Basics Part 2

April 08, 2010

Wine Basics Part 2

Is the wine ruined if pieces of cork get in it? 
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. 

Why do some people smell the cork after it is extracted from a bottle of wine? Is this necessary? 
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. 

How can you tell if a wine has gone bad? 
By the way it smells and tastes. A wine has gone bad when it is "corked" or oxidized. This is evident by a pungent corky or moldy smell (sometimes associated with wet cardboard) in the case of being corked, or an unpleasant aroma and flavor reminiscent of Madeira or other fortified wine if it has oxidized. An oxidized wine also will turn brownish in color. 

How much wine should I buy for a party? For a dinner party? Cocktail party? 
Here's how to calculate how much wine you will need for an event. Keep in mind that a regular sized bottle of wine holds 750 milliliters or 25.4 ounces, which give you five, 5-ounce glasses of wine. For a dinner party plan on about two glasses of wine per person.

To determine how much wine you will need for a two-hour cocktail party, first determine what other beverages will be served, then figure out how many people will be drinking wine. Let's assume you will serve 5-ounce glasses of wine.

If you are only serving wine, the calculations are easy: estimate that each guest will consume one to two glasses in the first hour and perhaps one glass in the second hour. Then, divide the number of glasses you estimate your guests will drink by five to determine the number of bottles of wine you will need. If your party will last longer than two hours, add enough wine to offer each of your guests one glass of wine for each additional hour.

Information courtesy of Wine Market Council.