Monday, February 16, 2009

Wine Storage 101 or, how to store your wine

Steve Heimoff (Steve Heimoff Wine Blog) wrote an interesting and entertaining blog on Shipping and Harmful Temperatures, yesterday, which was delightfully well timed. This morning I dropped off our newly released 2006 Cerro Prieto Merlot & 2006 Paso Blend(Paso Bordo/ 85% Cab & 15% Syrah) to favorite physician colleagues at the local hospital/ medical suites. One of my favorite people and physicians here, loves gourmet food as well as great wine. Just for completeness I mentioned that these wines were best when stored at 56-64 degrees, served at 70-72 , and decanted 10-15 minutes before drinking. This is a knowledgeable physician, enjoys good wines, but I think she was a bit surprised by the advice.

Same happened when I delivered a pair of bottles to a colleague at a nearby medical suite. "Really", was his response. These are both smart people who enjoy a fine meal and great wine. Yet, I really wonder if they ever actually were told exactly how to enjoy their wine to the max.

If you are a non-believer, who enjoys good wine, but do not care for it appropriately, you are going to get maybe as little as half (or less) enjoyment out of your wine as you would if it were handled with care and in a proper fashion. Some years back, I wondered if one of my favorite wineries had taken a leap off a high cliff, in that their product had fallen severely from my favor. Now, I wonder if maybe that had to do with shipping in hot weather,(which it is here, frequently, in summer), did they get a new winemaker?(no), or could it possibly have been heat damaged in shipment or perhaps in storage. My personal experience and that of others, is that whereas you may lose an occasional bottle to being "corked", I bet a person loses a heckuva lot more wine to improper storage during shipping or improper storage at home.

The business about serving at room temperature? Well, our wines at 64 degrees are flat. Really, flat. Get them up to 70-72, and they literally come alive, right up your proboscis(nose)... proboscitory delight, if you will. Both our wines have huge, beautiful boquets, but if not decanted for 10 minutes, or if served cool, one will miss half of what our wines have to offer. I do have a few friends who prefer their red wines cool. Nothing wrong with is a matter of taste. But I would go a step further and say they are enjoying half, (or less) of what they could have enjoyed had they decanted and served at room temp.

My grandmother Berry, from Bordeaux, was a marvellous cook and served wine with all meals, usually a tad on the cool side. To this day it was my favorite wine ever, and it was just poured from a barrel into 4 decanters and placed in the center of the table with standard French fare. I will relate more of this story, an entire blog in itself, at at later time. Point is that the wine was spectaculo-fabuloso, but it was served a bit cool. I have wondered at times, if it could possibly have been even more impressive had it been served at room temp. Ah, that was a long ago time, so I'll never know. But this I do know: serving reds at room temp with adequate decanting, after proper storage at 56-64, gives the wine drinker the maximum pleasure that he/she will get from drinking wine. Anyone who doesn't know this or rather doesn't believe it, will be in for a pleasant surprise if they change their ways to the recommendations mentioned above.

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