If you are interested in wine, want to know more,
don't be afraid to ask.
What is a wine varietal?
A varietal describes the variety of grape used to
make the wine.
What is Tannin?
Tannin is the harsh, bitter and mouth puckering element
in red wine which is similar to the dryness you get
after drinking a strong cup of black tea. It comes
from the grape skins and stems, and also the oak barrels.
However they do soften with age and are essential
for long term development in red wines.
What is the dent in the bottom of a bottle
The dent on the bottom of a wine bottle is called
a punt. The main purpose of the rounded bottom or
punt is to strengthen the bottle, especially important
for sparkling wines, but it can also be useful for
collecting sediment and for pouring wine (it provides
a place to put your thumb).
What does "vintage" mean?
The vintage year is the harvest year of the grapes.
The characteristics of a particular vintage are determined
by the weather conditions and resulting grape crop
for that year.
What is a dessert wine?
A dessert wine is usually a wine suitable for drinking
with or for dessert. Due to its sweetness, it is enjoyed
in smaller quantities than table wine.
What does it mean if a wine is "corked"?
A corked wine is a wine that possesses a moldy, chemical-like
smell (sometimes associated with wet cardboard) that
is due to cork taint. Cork taint is not a result of
bleaching. It is the result of a bacteria or some
other natural impurity present in the cork. The widely
used process of bleaching corks with a chlorine solution
tries to eliminate these impurities. A small proportion
of wines are found to be corked.
What does "oaky" mean? What
makes a wine "oaky"?
The flavor of wood or oak comes through in wines that
are fermented an/or aged in oak barrels.
Why do some wines give you a headache?
Histamines, found in the skins of grapes, seem to
give some people headaches if they are sensitive to
histamines. Red wine will affect a histamine-sensitive
wine drinker more than white wine because red wine
has spent more time in contact with grape skins.
What is the Champagne Method or Methode
This is the traditional method which is used for all
of the worldĦĤs finest sparkling wines. A second fermentation
takes place in the bottle producing carbon dioxide,
which kept in solution under pressure gives the wine
its fine bubbles.
Is wine fattening?
A 4 ounce glass of wine contains from 80 to 100 calories.
Lighter wines tend to have fewer calories than heavier
How long will wine keep after you open
After opening a bottle of wine, you may re-cork the
wine to save any remaining wine. Usually, an opened
bottle of red or white wine will keep in the refrigerator
for 3-5 days.
Does the temperature of my wine really
Definitely. Like the right lighting on your dinner
partner, the right temperature will flatter and bring
out the best in every wine.
White wines and roses are best served about 10˘J. Chill
the wine in a refrigerator for about two hours. If
the wine becomes too cold, let it sit out for about
15 minutes before drinking.
Most people don't realize that red wine should be
served slightly below room temperature. A warm red
wine will taste "hot" and its alcohol aromas
will overpower the subtler fruit characteristics.
Red wines taste best served between 16˘J and 18˘J. Serve
lighter red wines closer to 14˘J. The very lightest
red wines, like Beaujolais Nouveau, should be chilled
closer to 12˘J. If your home runs warm, pop the bottle
in the fridge for 15 or 20 minutes before serving.
If your friends think you've gone nuts for chilling
your Cabernet, just serve them a glass of wine, and
taste the difference temperature makes.
Is it necessary to swirl wine in the
glass before you taste it?
The reason for swirling wine in the glass is to release
its aroma. Swirl if you enjoy taking in the wine's
aroma, otherwise get straight to tasting it.
Why do wine tasters smell wine?
The way a wine smells can give many clues to how it
will taste, where it was made, and from what grapes
it was made. Also, your sense of smell is imperative
to your sense of taste. Most people smell a wine because
they find it pleasurable or are interested in the
connection between how a wine smells and how it tastes.
Should I let wine breathe after it's
This is a controversial issue among wine drinkers.
Many believe that few wines actually benefit from
breathingĦXopening the wine to let it stand before
being drunkĦXbecause the surface area of the wine actually
exposed to the air is quite minimal.
The argument for letting the wine breathe is that
the wine can benefit from the exposure to air just
as it may benefit from the oxidation that occurs during
the aging process. On the other hand, an older red
wine may begin to break down when exposed to air for
an extended period of time.
Can you serve red wine and white wine
during the same meal?
Yes, you could serve a red wine with one course and
a white wine with another or serve both to give your
guests a choice. This also gives you a chance to experiment
with pairing foods and wines to discover combinations
you like best. You learn more by tasting food and
wine pairings than by trying to follow certain pairing
What is the sediment I sometimes find
in a bottle of wine?
Sediment is solid particles that are a byproduct of
wine-making (i.e. dead yeast cells or fragments of
grape seeds or skins). They are harmless if drunk,
but to remove the sediment you can decant a wine.
What does all of that information on
the label mean?
The following can be found on the label of a wine
produced in the U.S.:
ĦE Origin: country or state, vineyard or viticultural
area, name/address of bottler.
ĦE Bottle size/volume: a regular bottle of
wine is 750 ml
ĦE Alcoholic percent by volume: ranges from
about 8.5% to 15%
ĦE Type of wine: such as table wine or dessert
ĦE Vintage year: year the grapes used to make
the wine were harvested.
ĦE Specific bottling information: where the
wine was bottled, for example, estate bottled (made
from grapes grown in vineyards owned by the winery)
ĦE The brand name of the wine: may include
the name of the variety of grape it was made from
such as Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon, or for the
region where it was made, or it can be given a name
created by the producer
ĦE Government warning: pertaining to pregnant
women, ability to drive, and general health
ĦE "Contains Sulfites": a warning
to those who may be allergic