Remember if I don’t discuss your question this week you’re still in the mix for the $20.00 gift certificate from our friends and sponsor Grizzly Liquor, “Missoula’s Best Choice”.
Q. Jay Steen asks; Rattlesnake, Bitterroot, Idaho, Washington-these are great places to visit in the summer…and to tour wineries, so I’m told. A basic novice, I’m wondering about how to approach a tour-what protocol to consider, what to look for in sampling, are there family-friendly tours?, etc.-basically anything you can share with me about a wine tour.
A. Jay this is a great question and I’ll share my suggestions with you. The first question I would ask you is have you been to a local tasting? I would really recommend you do this first as you can observe how others approach wine when tasting. For example you will see people swirling their wine in the glass to oxygenate or a wine term you will hear is “open up the wine”. You will also see people holding their wine up to the light looking for color, clarity, and examining the viscosity of a wine. This may all seem overwhelming but please do not let it be, unfortunately many times those with some knowledge like to hold themselves out as experts and intimidate those who are newer to the wonderful world of wine. Remember WineGuyMike has two rules; first there are no wine rules and secondly if you know too much we don’t want to drink wine with you because you’re boring.
Okay now back on point I would recommend next going to a local winery where things will be generally a little quieter and will feel a little elevated if you will from a local casual tasting. Here you will have the opportunity to visit with someone directly associated with the wine and winery. Now you will be able to use some of the techniques and terms you’ve heard at your local tasting and apply this to a conversation with the wine host at the winery. The host will tell you very specific things about their wines that you will combine with what you learned at the local tasting, you get the picture your knowledge of how to approach wine and about the wine itself is growing.
Now you’re ready for a trip to the wine country because you’ve gained a bit of experience. Remember people who love wine will be welcoming you to their passion and as a new comer will welcome you and share their experiences. Going to the wine country for the first time is like going to Disneyland for a child the very first time, it’s special and you’ll never forget it. You will long for more and always want to return. As far as the family friendly part goes as long as kids are well behaved I’m sure they would be welcome. But in all fairness your passion for wine is probably not theirs. If they are bored and restless it won’t be fun for anyone. Maybe you deserve to get away with your partner and explore the Walla Walla wine country which is close by and doable over a weekend. I will be hosting a tour over there later this year around a time known as “crush”. Grizzly Liquor, our sponsor, The Ranch, and WineGuyMike are going to be organizing a wine tasting very soon. This will be a ton of fun, casual, and informational. I would love to have you join us and thanks for listening and asking great questions Jay.
From My Table to Yours,
Q. Jay Steen asks; is there a location where you respond to questions you haven’t addressed on air (I thought maybe I heard you mention it to S&P but I didn’t get it written down)? A few weeks ago, I posted the same question as Kim and would love to read your thoughts on the subject…I’m thinking that the re-corked bottle on my shelf is a bit too old for good taste.
A. The best place to share and ask questions is on my WineGuyMike fan page or at www.wineguymike.com, this site is under construction and always will be because of the evolutionary nature of the site. If you read below on this blog post you will see my previous answer to your question Jay.
Q. Kim Story asks; How long can I expect an opened bottle of red wine to stay good? Is there anything I can do to extend its life?
As the sole adult in my home, the only time I’m usually able to enjoy a glass of wine is when I’m entertaining a group of friends. I’d like to be able to have a glass of wine with dinner, but it seems a bit expensive if it won’t last more than on meal. Thanks for your help!
A. Kim this is a great question and if you see below my previous answer to Jay’s question partially answers your question. Here are a couple of other recommendations.
- After you have enjoyed your wine I would suggest using the rubber vacume stoppers that allow you to simply extract air from the bottle. It just requires a reverse pumping action that pulls the air out and is very quick and easy to do. I do this with white and red wines both and remember to run the stopper under a quick shot of water and then give it a good shake over the sink to get all excess water off the stopper. This allows the stopper to slide in the bottle easily and seals the bottle well as the air is extracted.
- Another option to consider is buying a “split” bottle. This is a half bottle of wine. Now you don’t usually see these in most retail locations but if you develop a relationship with someone like our show sponsors, Grizzly Liquor, you can ask them to get “splits” of your wine and they will be happy to accommodate your requests.
Q. Jay Steen’s question for The WineGuyMike Radio Show is this: On the occasion that a bottle of red wine is not consumed entirely, how long will it remain drinkable?
A. Jay I always recommend opening a bottle of red wine and letting it breath or open up. I find that through the process of oxidation that a red wine goes off or breaks down after two days. The wine can actually become bitter and no longer palatable. I find white wines for my taste are fine the next day but after that they are just not to my liking.
Q. Katie asks; What’s the difference between prosecco and cava wines, and how should they be paired with food? I really like sparkling wines, but don’t know enough to make good choices. Thanks—Katie (and thanks for the info on Jill Valley’s question–very helpful)
A. Prosecco – dry, lemony, and bubbling, is Italy’s answer to refreshing, well-made, sparkling wine. Created from predominately Prosecco grapes in the northern Veneto region of Italy in the foothills of the Alps, Prosecco is light, affordable, and fun. Today’s Proseccos are dry and very bubbly and made using the Charmat method rather than the Champagne method, the French method of making sparkling wine. The Charmat method is a second fermentation in pressurized tanks rather than in individual bottles. The shorter, tank fermentation is preferable for Prosecco because it preserves the freshness and the flavor of the grapes.
Food pairing; Oysters, shell-fish and gently seasoned lighter fish.
Cava - made by the Champagne method, is a very acceptable alternative to French champagne. Cava is usually made by the coupage method, whereby must (grape juice) from different varieties of grape is subjected to the first fermentation, then mixed until the blend is consistent with the wine to be produced. After the coupage, the wine is put into bottles and yeast and sugar added. It is then left for the second fermentation and aging.
Food pairing; Oysters, shell-fish and gently seasoned lighter fish.
Q. Janel asks; Should wines be stored on their side in a cool dark place. I say this as I am looking at my wine upright in a glass cabinet.
A. Four things that affect wines as they are stored; Temperature, Humidity, Light, and the bottle should be stored on its side.
- Temperature 55-59
- Humidity 50-70%
- Light – If wines are in a well lighted area I would venture to say the temperature is most likely not correct for storage. Constant direct light will break down wines. In today’s world 90% of wines are made to be drunk within one year but if you are a collector of vintage wines you already know how and where you should be storing your wines. Bottom line temperature is far more critical than a dark wine cellar.
- Laying the bottle down is critical especially if you intend to store the wine for any length of time. The purpose of this is to keep the cork moist because if your bottle is setting upright there is no liquid to keep the cork wet and swollen thus sealing the bottle correctly and keeping the oxygen out until you are ready to drink the wine. With synthetic corks it really doesn’t make that much difference but then you should still be laying the bottle down which would indicate you’re storing the wine in a temperature controlled environment.
Q. Kelly asks; A couple of years ago my husband and I went on a tour thru Napa Valley. We had found a few different types of wines that we both enjoyed. When buying them the people at the vineyard told us that the wines would only be good for a couple of years at the longest. Being wine lovers, we have a few cases of wine we had purchased probably 10 years ago that we have a enjoyed. Those bottles seem to be just as good as or better than when we first purchased them. Can you tell me why some bottles are only good for short periods of time, while others are better as they age??
A. Kelly what a great question. Let me first start by saying that 99% of today’s wines are crafted in such a way that they should be consumed within one year. Why you might ask, I believe that we are so focused as a wine consuming society on instant gratification that wineries are complying with the demands of their consumer market. On to the technical stuff:
- Red wines naturally age longer than white wine because of tannins.
- Growing conditions of a particular year.
- Vineyard conditions, soil, slope, and drainage.
- How a wine is made, for example the length of time grapes are in contact with their skins during maceration. Wood barrels also contribute to natural tannin imparted to a wine, this is a natural preservative in a wine.
- Bottle storage for aging and shipping will affect wines.
- Having the ability to connect with the winery directly they know how the wine has been handled from vine to wine. They also know and understand how the weather has effected that particular growing season.
If a wine has been crafted in a way that it needs to be aged drinking it prematurely will present the wine with an undesirable nuance of astringency and bitterness. A general rule of thumb for me is anything under $25.00 drink now; if you start getting up over that you may want to pay attention to the vintage for that particular wine region.
From My Table to Yours,