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Wine Words

What is Dry Wine?

by David on December 5, 2010

In winespeak, dry is the opposite of sweet and has nothing to do with the wine’s quality, character or other attributes. You and I have a threshold of about 1/2 of a percent, so we say that a wine that’s .5% sugar or less is dry. The fermentation can take it down much further (the […]


What is “Corked” Wine?

by David on December 4, 2010

There are a few different ways the cork can fail, but when someone says the wine is “corked”, they’re usually referring to the moldy smell we call “cork taint”. The smell is caused by a chemical compound in the cork, called 2,4,6 trichloroanisole (TCA for short). It’s harmless, but can ruin the wine. At low […]


What is the Vintage Date?

by David on December 3, 2010

The vintage date is the harvest date and reflects the weather patterns the vines experienced that year, for better or for worse. For ice wine (eiswein), that’s harvested after the new year, the vintage date goes back to the growing season. So, good weather (enough heat but not too much, no ill-timed rain) means good […]


Wine Storage Temperature

by David on December 2, 2010

Good news! Reds, whites, bubblies – any wine you can think of – they all want the same thing.  “Perfect” conditions? A constant 55 degrees and somewhat humid. For the real world? Between 45 and 65, avoiding fluctuation as much as possible. It’s the hardest thing for wine to tolerate. Wine fridges are great! Basements […]


Serving Temperatures for Red Wine

by David on December 1, 2010

Room temperature, 72 degrees, right? Ewww… too warm for me! Whoever first coined that phrase did it before the days of central heat! He meant room temperature in some old European castle, so 55 – 65 degrees is a good way to go. If it’s too warm it’s unpleasant and tends to smell like alcohol […]


Serving Temperatures for White Wine

by David on November 30, 2010

The catch phrase is “serve whites chilled”, right? On a hot day, that’s a great idea! But, when you have a special bottle you want to be sure to get what you paid for. If it’s too cold that’s not going to happen. Think about it: when you make a pot of soup you can […]


2 Reasons to Decant Your Wine

by David on November 29, 2010

Most of the time when you decant, it’s for red wine but there’s nothing wrong with decanting white. Reason #1: Because the wine is young. If you splash it into a decanter or pitcher for an hour or so before serving it will make it more expressive – the wine “opens up” and starts talking! […]


Screw Caps

by David on November 28, 2010

Quick facts: They’ve popped up like mushrooms, mainly because of some problems associated with natural cork (problems that are fading). Of course, they’re also cheap, compared to cork. For wines that don’t improve with age (most whites, rosés and an awful lot of reds) they’re the best seal to keep the wine fresh. The jury […]


Swirling the Wine

by David on November 27, 2010

As a visitor once asked, when he noticed me swirling the wine, “Are you just showing off?” Well, no, actually. Of the hundreds of compounds in a glass of wine, some are particularly fragrant. Before swirling, they’re contained in the liquid (bound in solution). When you swirl, they’re released as vapor and up comes the “nose”. […]


The Perfect Wine Glass

by David on November 26, 2010

Shopping for wine glasses? The reason the glasses at wine bars and wineries all look about the same is they’re functional! The ideas is to have a bowl that gives the wine some room to “breathe” with a narrowed opening to capture the lovely aromas that are released so that when you pop your nose in, you […]