What is a wine essential? By my classification, it is a product or idea that has the ability to help you enjoy more and/or better wine. When it comes to products, most wine essentials are, or can be, accessories, however, not all wine accessories are essentials. There are also products that, when taught to be used properly, can become essential.
To many of us, wine can be a largely unknown and sometimes “scary” topic. We all know something, but we also seem to know so little. Ever sit in a restaurant and stare at the wine list or worry that you’ll be asked to select the wine? I know I have. We rely on others, waiters, sommeliers, and even bartenders etc. to help us select and that is o.k., however, keep in mind two things .. 1. With all the wine options in the world not everyone can be “all knowing” 2. Everyone’s tastes are different, so any selection may or may not be right for you at any given time.
From the variety of topics that I write on, hopefully most of you recognize that there is an attempted common thread to help you enjoy your wine experience(s) whether at home or traveling. I try to, through information and education, so that you may gain an understanding which translates to comfort and confidence when relating to wine. By introducing wine essentials, we hope it will help you continue to grow and expand the quality of your wine experience(s).
Here are a couple categories I’d place on the wine essential list:
1.Wine Aeration – wine aeration has been around for years, although until recently much of it was occurred with the process referred to as decanting. Essentially the benefit with wines (predominately used for with reds) is to “soften” the wine by exposing it to air “loosening” the tannins. Decanting also has the added benefit of separating sediment. As of the past 10+ years, the process has taken on a more modern twist using products that aid the process. I’ll go more in detail in an upcoming article and describe the why’s, what’s and how’s.
2.Wine Preservation – I am very biased on this, however, I am not bashful to be adamant on the importance for this category to be known and understood. For consumers and the retail and restaurant trade, this category can help expand the enjoyment of more and better wine more than any marketing campaign. Education, comprehension, trust and use are key. There are many methods with pros and cons and some being better than others. I look forward to discussing this more.
3.Experiential Wine Events – this is a very WIDE range of angles that will fill the qualification of being a wine essential. These events can be at home, restaurant, local or near/far away as destination experiences. They can be formal, casual or event oriented. As you can tell, it is not all about where wine is drunk, but just simply that you are drinking wine and able to enjoy more and better. Look for multiple topics here.
With all the above said, as we continue down the path of these WAVE Wine Club articles, I may not teach you specifically about particular wines, however I’ll do all I can to talk about ways to enhance your wine experience. For more info, feel free to go to Silvadore Wine Essentials. I look to hear questions and ideas from all of you on products or experiences and hope to turn them in to wine essentials for you and your friends.
Have you ever tasted a wine then read the wine notes on the bottle and thought hmmmm, I don’t taste or smell that at all? Or, have you been at a wine tasting heard the wine reps’ long list of descriptors and thought I obviously don’t know much about wine because all I smell is … wine? Then keep reading I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Wine tasting is relative and totally based on personal perception. What I taste as pear, you may perceive as green apple. What I perceive as tropical fruit may translate on your palate as mango and pineapple. Who is right? We both are. Taste, in all its forms is based on personal perception. To appreciate the power of your palate you must first become aware and respect your taste.
Become a Student
Pay attention to what you smell and taste in a wine then make a mental note or better yet, jot it down. Revisit wines and compare what flavors stand out as you re-taste. Make a habit of attentively smelling everything - coffee, fruit, flowers, etc … and make a mental note of what captures your attention. Learn to appreciate and savor the taste and smell of the foods you eat. As you become of student of taste you will begin to better recognize and describe what you taste. And that leads to trusting your palate.
Make Time to Taste
Drinking wine is what you do when you are just hanging out and enjoying the moment. Tasting wine is an exercise in attention, appreciation and thought. Attending wine tastings at your local wine shop is a great, cost effective way to experience the art of tasting wine. Chances are the wine tasting will offer some new and interesting wines allowing you to expand your tasting experience. Pay attention to the wine descriptors the wine rep shares and see how they fit with your own assessment. As you broaden your horizons you will develop “palate recall” and an understanding of what Chardonnay or Cabernet tastes like to you. As time goes by you will develop a recognition of the nuances and differences in wine and even be able to distinguish where they are made and by whom. You will become your own wine expert.
Remember it’s all Relative
As you gain confidence you will understand that its okay that what you taste, or smell may be different than the wine notes on the bottle. What matters most is knowing what you taste and what you like.
And always remember, whether the wine glass is half full or half empty, always fill it with quality wine. Happy Sipping, Yolanda Albergottie, Wine Education Coordinator, Chuck’s Fines Wines, Chagrin Falls, Ohio. 440.247.7534. Follow us on twitter @chucksfinewines.
In addition, enjoy touring an areas full of nice surprises i.e. Corning Museum of Glass, Watkins Glen, or even within a short drive to Niagara on the Lake.
Graduations, weddings and hot weather all mean party time! Here are some great tips to help make your next event the one everyone remembers as the best summer bash of the year.
Basic questions to answer before you head out shopping:
How long the will the party last?
How many people will be drinking wine –vs- beer?
How many white wine, red wine drinkers?
What is the budget?
To give yourself some cushion calculate a drink per person per hour. There are approximately 60 glasses of wine in a case. However, keep in mind you will need a little more if people are self- served rather than bartender served.
Keep it simple sweetie! Consider limiting choices to one red, one white and one rosé. The more options you give the more unused or half used wine you will have left over. So, if you feel you must give choices make sure they are wines you won’t mind drinking.
Shop Small, Shop Local
You will want to make a visit to your local wine shop where you are sure to find a nice selection of crowd pleasing wines at price points that won’t break the bank. The beauty of shopping small and local is the wine buyers curate value priced selections of artisan wines not carried in big box stores. The last thing you want is your party goers to see the same cheap wine stacked high at the grocery store now proudly displayed at your and everyone else’s party this summer. How gauche! Plus, you now have the added bonus of being the one who sniffed out that cool, crisp, new white wine everyone is raving about. It can be your secret where you found it and how much it cost.
Whether you hire a bartender, handle in-house or go the self-serve route, make it easy on everyone and choose stelvin closures aka screw caps. A wide variety of beautiful, summer quaffable wines are available in screw cap. It’s ecological, quick and easy.
Porch pounders are what I affectionately call wines with stelvin closures that are light, crisp easy to drink and retail under $15. There are many great porch pounders on the market right now. Consider these fun, crowd pleasing bit different varietals for a change of pace: Pic Poul de Pinet or Gavi for whites and light bodied reds like Gamay, Barbera and Dolcetto which tase great with a slight chill.
Whether the wine glass is half full or half empty, always fill it with quality wine. Happy Sipping, Yolanda Albergottie, Wine Education Coordinator, Chuck’s Fines Wines, Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
Follow us on twitter @chucksfinewines.