Wine FAQ

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Any suggestions for sweet wines?

Yes! Many wonderful sweet (also called "fruity") wines are available practically anywhere. Try Riesling, Vouvray, Chenin Blanc, Muscat, Sauternes, Icewine, Tokaji, Port or any late harvest wine. See more details on these sweet wine suggestions and our video on some of the best sweet wines in the world.

Don't let anyone tell you that sweet wines are just for dessert. This really depends on your individual taste preferences. People with very sensitive taste buds often prefer sweet wines over others that seem to them too harsh. And sometimes taste preferences will change as you experiment with more wines.

What's the best temperature for serving wine?

As a general rule of thumb:
Red wine, 65 degrees (F).
White & rosé wine, 55 degrees (F).
Champagne & other bubbly, 45 degrees (F).

To get to those temperatures reds can normally just be kept in a cool cellar or closet. This is also called "cellar temperature." Whites and rosés can be put in the fridge for a few hours, and the bubblies longer.

It is actually easier to use an ice bucket though. Fill the bucket up with ice about 4/5ths, cover the ice with water. If the "room" temperature of your reds are over 65 degrees, immerse them for five minutes; whites and rosés for ten minutes; and bubblies for fifteen to twenty minutes. (Light reds such as Bardolino, Valpolicella, Nouveau and plain ole Beaujolais, and others of that weight should soak nearly as long as the whites.)

Here is a Wines.comTV video on wine storage, including answers to basic questions on temperature, humidity and light.

Also see this discussion , commenting on wine serving temperatures in restaurants by our good friend, Randy Caparoso. Randy Caparoso is a Hawaiian career wine professional known for his work as a sommelier/restaurateur, wine journalist, wine producer, and wine judge. Excerpted from The WineBoard

What's the best process for tasting wine?

We have a whole page illustrating the traditional see-swirl-sniff-sip wine tasting process.

You might also check out this interesting video on what a sommelier looks for when tasting a wine.

How long can I store wine? What will I need?

Most wine, the overwhelming majority of wine, made or imported into the USA up to the $20.00 price point, is meant to be consumed within a year or two of release. Sure some of these will get better in another year of two, and if you happen let that happen; fine. Most of the worlds wines (at least 90%) are meant to be consumed young. Of the hundreds of questions we get here at the wine board a large number come from people who have hung onto wine too long. We get very few from those who popped it too soon.

White wines are not generally cellared for long periods of time although there are exceptions such as the very best Graves and Sauternes for instance.

Red wines can be and are cellared for longer periods of time. Some of the very finest reds can be cellared for several decades. A lot depends on the type of grape and the vintage. See the basics on Wine Cellaring and Aging. And we also recommend this very short video covering wine storage basics for various types of wine.

What is the best way to save leftover wine?

Leftover wine can be saved. The key point here is to keep oxygen away from the wine. When wine oxydizes, it degrades quickly and can soon turn into a good salad dressing vinegar.

Find a small container that will hold the wine that is left over to the point were the container is virtually overflowing. Cap the container with a cork or plug so that some of the wine does spill out. (A 375 ml wine bottle works well.) This way, you will have NO air bubble in the container.

Store the container in your refrigerator. When you are ready to drink it again, remove the container and let it warm-up to the desired drinking temperature, depending on whether it is red or white wine. You can store your wine this way for about 5 to 7 days. But I would not store it much longer than this.

Another idea for cooks is to freeze leftover wine in ice cube trays, then transfer to air-tight freezer bags to use in sauces, etc.

What is the controversy about sulfites and sulfite-free wine?

This is a bit of a loaded question and a very controversial topic. No other wine topic generates as much confusion and misinformation as this. The warning about sulfites on the wine bottle is required because a very small percentage of the population has a deadly allergy to sulfites. These individuals are highly allergic to raisins and many other food items that naturally contain sulfites. For others, sulfites cause no problems.

To clarify, we offer two resources we hope will explain the real issues. First, see this informative article on Sulfite-Free Wines. We also strongly recommend our excellent short video, The Facts about Sulfites and Sulfite-Free Wines by Rob Moshein.

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