Handling Your Wine

Handling Your Wine

Every so often we list out little tips and tricks that are useful for handling and enjoying your wine. From cellaring to serving, it doesn’t have to be hard but it’s sure fun to know! In this issue: chilling wine, cork vs. screwtop, how long does wine last, effervescent wine, and more!

Bold reds go best with steak or chocolate

Many bold and rich Columbia Gorge red wines taste wonderful with chocolate. For example, although our Syrah is wonderful with a pepper-steak and sautéed mushrooms, it can be held until dessert to be served with chocolate truffles. Taste the wine with the chocolate still in your mouth for a new experience!

You don’t have to finish the bottle

If you would like to try your favorite red wine, but don’t plan to finish the bottle, you can serve 1-2 glasses then cork the wine and put in the refrigerator. The chilled temperature will hold the wine for an extra 2 or 3 days. Just remember to let it come back to life at room temperature before serving!

How to get more out of a naturally effervescent wine

Some white wines are blended or bottled with some residual carbon dioxide in the wine. This is felt as a “spritz” in the mouth. The extra carbon dioxide adds a brightness to the wine and increases longevity. To taste the layers of flavor underneath, and instantly age the wine, replace the cork and shake the bottle (it will fizz like a sparkling wine), remove the cork and repeat. Do this several times, and you will notice more flavors coming through.

Chilling can cover up the flavor

Chilling is the most popular way to serve white wines. It brings out the fruitiness and also makes them quite refreshing. Riesling and Pinot Gris can be chilled more, say 45-50 degrees F. Chardonnays should be slightly warmer, say 50-55 degrees F. Each should be chilled for about 2 hours in the refrigerator. Prolonged chilling can permanently change the wine. Store your white wines at cellar temp with your red wines (60-65 degrees F), and then put in the refrigerator the day you will serve it.

Chilling red wines

Even some high-fruit red wines can be chilled. Some reds, like a light Pinot Noir or Italian Sangiovese or Aleatico, can be chilled to just below cellar temperature (55-60 degrees F). If they are intended to be an intensely fruity red wine those qualities will be highlighted. For example you can chill our Rose as it has both red and white wine qualities.

Which is better, natural cork or screw cap?

The search for fine wine can get confusing if you don’t know the differences among natural corks, manufactured corks, and screw top closures. The first thing you need to know is the style of the wine. Since manufactured corks and screw caps prevent any oxidation, look for bright and fruity wines. Traditional corks allow for aging of the wine in the bottle, so aged reds will benefit most. Don’t be discouraged by the talk about “corked” wines. “Cork taint” has always existed and can be managed. Corks are a natural product being formed from the bark of the cork tree. Although manufactured corks and screw caps serve a purpose, we still think high quality natural cork is the only way to bottle fine wines. It allows for the natural long-term aging of our Columbia Valley wines.