Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My little wine problem...

Because I feel better about how much wine I drink, if you drink more of it.. (is relativity everything?)... I hope this article from sympatico will help me talk you into it!

Do you feel a little nervous about serving wine to guests? Are you worried about seeming pretentious or are you just intimidated by the whole thing? Well, it's time to pop a cork and relax; wine is fun and here are 10 ways to be a part of the good times.

1. Wine is delicious!
The swirling, the sniffing, the sipping. All of the fuss about wine would be pointless if wine wasn't just plain delicious. It's true that wine can have tastes that you're not used to or that aren't so great the first time you try them, but there are lots of starter wines that are easy to like and even more that turn delicious when you have them with food.

2. Wine tastes best at the right temperature
Common "knowledge" about wine is that you serve white wine well-chilled and red wine at room temperature. Surprisingly, that's wrong. Room temperatures in North America are just too warm to serve red wines. Most drinks are unappealing at 22C (72F) so why should wine be any different? Refrigerator temperature -3C (38F) is too cold for anything that you really want to taste.

What to do? Try storing your red wine in the coolest part of the house or giving a bottle a brief cold water bath. Take the white wine out of the fridge 10 minutes before you serve it or at least let it warm up a bit in your glass.

3. It's usually better to air wine out
Any drink without bubbles tastes better if it's aerated a bit. Those decanters that you see aren't just decorative; they let you pour your wine out with a bit of splashing and get some air dissolved in it.

4. Make sure the (right) glass is half full
The best wine glass is shaped like a tulip and isn't much bigger. What makes it best is that the tulip shape helps capture the aromas of wine and transport them to your nose.

5. Your nose knows
Most of the pleasure that we call taste is really smell. That's why nothing really tastes good when your nose is stuffed up. So be sure to swirl the wine around in the glass, take big sniffs and enjoy!!

6. Take your time
Tasting wine is a dance, not a race. One of the best things about wine is that it invites you to slow down. If you haven't smelled the flowers today, at least you can smell the wine's bouquet. You'll have even more fun if you take a minute to enjoy the wine's colour before smelling it and maybe even pausing after your first sniff, before taking a sip.

7. Don't rush to judgment
There's nothing worse than premature evaluation. Once you decide if it's good or not, you stop paying attention to the taste. So try this: swirl the wine in the glass, look at the colour, smell the aroma, sip and swish, pay attention to the taste and don't decide if you like it or not. The last person to make up his or her mind wins.

8. Have a variety of wine on hand
It won't be long before you'll have preferences. You'll discover that you like this wine with chicken and that one with pasta. You may even find that you're suddenly ‘in the mood' for one of your favourites so it's a good idea to have a few different bottles available -- all stored in a cool place in your home.

9. There's no shopping like wine shopping!
Shopping for wine is fun. If you find something you like, you can ask the clerk in the wine shop for advice about finding something similar. You can pick a bottle at random (in your price range, of course) or you can surf wine websites, in search of stores that carry your favourites. If you look around, you may find wine-tastings where you can sample a few different wines and pick out ones you like.

10. Respect your tastes but try new wines
Remember that there are two things that count: liking what you
like and being open to liking something new. So relax and let the wine work its magic.

Along the way in your wine journey, your tastes will change, you'll probably make new friends and you'll definitely have a lot of fun.

Celebrate local flavours with a menu inspired by the red wines of Niagara.

Lynn Hoffman is the author of adventure-packed, woman-centred fiction such as Bang Bang and the wine book for beginners The New Short Course in Wine.

Now, go drink more than me so I feel better about myself!

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