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FAQ's
  Storing your wine

At least 20% of the enjoyment contained in a wine can be lost through poor handling. A few simple steps will prevent this.

1. Try not to open bottles the moment they arrive. Give them a few days' rest... you'll notice the difference.

2. Keep in the dark (definitely out of direct sunlight anyway), away from vibration and at a constant temperature. It isn't important what this temperature is as long as it doesn't exceed about 65°F (18°C) or drop to freezing, or fluctuates wildly.

3. If keeping wine more than six months, keep bottles lying down in case the corks dry out and let the air in. For real 'lying down', it is essential to lie the bottles horizontal. 

At least 20% of the enjoyment contained in a wine can be lost through poor handling. A few simple steps will prevent this.

1. Try not to open bottles the moment they arrive. Give them a few days' rest... you'll notice the difference.

2. Keep in the dark (definitely out of direct sunlight anyway), away from vibration and at a constant temperature. It isn't important what this temperature is as long as it doesn't exceed about 65°F (18°C) or drop to freezing, or fluctuates wildly.

3. If keeping wine more than six months, keep bottles lying down in case the corks dry out and let the air in. For real 'lying down', it is essential to lie the bottles horizontal. 

At least 20% of the enjoyment contained in a wine can be lost through poor handling. A few simple steps will prevent this.

1. Try not to open bottles the moment they arrive. Give them a few days' rest... you'll notice the difference.

2. Keep in the dark (definitely out of direct sunlight anyway), away from vibration and at a constant temperature. It isn't important what this temperature is as long as it doesn't exceed about 65°F (18°C) or drop to freezing, or fluctuates wildly.

3. If keeping wine more than six months, keep bottles lying down in case the corks dry out and let the air in. For real 'lying down', it is essential to lie the bottles horizontal. 

  Serving your wine

Clear, uncut tulip-shaped glasses are ideal for tasting and drinking. They capture all the aromas of the wine and funnel them straight to your nostrils.

Decanting releases and maximises aromas and flavours in young wines - both red and a few white wines. Generally, the heavier and denser the wine (the wines colour should help you judge this), the longer it will need to breathe. Crisp dry whites should be poured straight from the bottle, while rich, oaky whites will become more complex if they are allowed to breathe for 15 minutes or so. If a wine is already mature, its scent accessible and obvious, let it breathe for just a short time.

The second reason to decant is when a wine has sediment - the only way of serving the wine without stirring it up. Sediment - whether it lies at the bottom of the bottle or attaches itself to the cork as crystals - is a good sign of natural-ness and fullness. To decant wines with floating sediment you need to be able to see when the wine ceases to be clear - use a torch pointing upwards or a candle. Pour in one smooth flow until you see the dark swirl of sediment reach the bottle-neck. Then stop.

Some tips for cooling or warming your wines:

Ice and water is better than just ice - a 'chiller jacket' will do the job in 5 minutes. To take the chill off red wine in a hurry, place the corked bottle briefly in warm water.

  Corks and Cork Screws

Let's be honest! Corks aren't essential for most wines, only perhaps those venerable bottles that you want to keep for a decade or so. Most would be better serviced with a screw cap. But corks make wine different... they are part of the romance, the courtship, the ceremony of opening a bottle.

Corks, however, can also bring with them unwanted musty flavours that spoil a wine, so there has been much research into finding an alternative. Headway has been made and you may, from time to time, find a synthetic cork-lookalike when you 'pop' open a bottle of Club wine.

For both natural and synthetic corks, a good corkscrew is essential. A poor one will tear the middle out of a cork and hurt your hand. How do you spot a good one? It will have a comfortable grip, use counter-pressure against the rim of the bottle and the screw will have an open spiral with a clear line of sight up the middle, to grip as much cork as possible.

The commonplace, folding 'waiter's friend' is often the handiest, simplest and most practical corkscrew to have at your fingertips.

Capsules
Nothing spoils the look of a wine more than a ragged-edged capsule, where the cork has been pulled through. To avoid this, simply cut a circle just below the ridge on the neck of the bottle and remove (a 'waiter's friend' is handy here, too). If there is any mould, wipe it away and don't worry about it!

Opening Champagne & sparkling winesRacing drivers pop them with alarming alacrity. However, if you want to keep the contents in the bottle, follow these few simple rules:

  • • Chill the wine well and don't shake the bottle - the wine will taste better and more will stay in the bottle.
  • • Once the wire cage is removed, keep your thumb over the cork at all times and never point it at anything precious.
  • • Twist the bottle and not the cork and remove it slowly so there is a sigh, not a loud pop, as you open the bottle.
  • • Finally, to serve with style, put your thumb up the 'punt' (the dimple at the bottom of the bottle) and pour slowly.

 

 

 
 
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