4 Tips To Help You Get The Most Out Of Your Next Bottle of Wine

Can’t seem to catch a break when you buy a bottle of wine? Tired of your friends and passer-by sommeliers making fun of you because you just can’t seem to pick a winner?

Maybe you’re choosing great wines, but just not serving them the right way?

Here are 4 tips to help you get the most out of that next bottle:

1. TEMPERATURE

Wines can be fussy and temperamental on a good day and need to be at the right temperature to be at their best. The temp you serve them at will affect their overall aroma, taste and perceived freshness.

Wines served too warm can taste unbalanced, flat and highly alcoholic. Wines served too cold can be considerably muted in flavor and aroma.

Quick tips:

  1. When drinking wines that need to be kept warmer, try cupping your hands around the body of the glass as your swirl
  2. When drinking wines that need to be kept cooler, always hold the glass by the stem to avoid warming them up too quickly

Below are suggested temperature ranges for wines by type:
Tart, bright white wines: 48-53 °F
Rich white wines, like an aged Chardonnay: 54-58 °F
Light red wines: 58-62 °F
Heavy red wines: 63-65 °F

2.  AIR

Wines are typically always improved with the introduction of air. It helps open up and release its flavors and aromas.

Quick tips:

Don’t just remove a cork/cap and let it sit in the bottle without pouring any of it out. You need increased surface area to properly induce air. If you want to leave it in the bottle to aerate that’s fine, just make sure you pour out about ½ of it to create some room in there for the wine to breathe

You don’t need a fancy decanter, or aeration/pouring device to add air to your wine. A simple glass container, pitcher, jar etc to pour it into will do just fine. Again the key is increased surface area to allow more air to make contact with your wine

A good general rule of thumb: the more tannins a wine has the more time it will need to aerate. Lighter-bodied reds have lower tannin levels so will need little if any time to breathe. Young wines with strong tannins will need more time to breathe. We like to let most wines sit for 10-15 minutes before drinking

3.  GLASS

We’re certainly not one’s for formality, heck, drink it straight from the bottle if that’s your style, but here’s why a great glass can make a difference:

Shape  The shape of a wine glass dictates surface area which influences the amount of air that can be introduced into a wine. Air affects the overall flavor, aroma and presentation that you experience

Rim  The shape and thickness of the rim can also play a part in your experience, directing the wine to specific parts of the tongue with different taste sensitivities

Diameter  The diameter of the glass opening can concentrate or expand the amount of aroma or bouquet that rises

 Quick tips:

  1. Go big if you can (20 ounces or more) – A large bowl gives that small pour plenty of room to breathe. Plus you want lots of room to swish and swirl
  2. Pick clear glass – You want to see the wine and excite all your senses. A thin glass is better than thick glass: you want to taste the wine not the glass and thick stemware can get heavy
  3. Long stem – Comfort is important and maximizes enjoyment
  4. Slight inward curve at the top – Helps to focus the aromas
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Second Label Wines – Excellence and Value

Hey, being second ain’t so bad? The Godfather part 2, The Dark Knight, Nirvana’s Nevermind, Clay Aiken (Ok, you got me)

Most premier wine makers have what they call second labels. The idea is similar in concept to clothing designer second labels i.e. Armani / Armani Exchange.

The upshot for us, the consumer, is an excellent wine at an affordable price.

WHAT IS A SECOND LABEL WINE?

Second wine, or Second label wine (Second Vin) is a term commonly used to refer to wine made from cuvee not selected for use in the Grand Vin, or first label. An age-old practice traditionally associated with Bordeaux wines, though common all over the world today.

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Typically only premier winemakers have second label wine offerings. In most instances, the production of a second label wine exactly mirrors the production of that estate’s Grand Vin, being made from the same vineyard, using the same blend of grapes, by the same winemaker. You can usually pick one of these gems up for around $20-$50.

SO WHAT’S THE CATCH?

Generally, second label wines are less polished and structured than the estate’s Grand Vin. Sometimes they’re from less-desirable vineyard blocks, use less-expensive or used barrels (or alternatives to barrels) and cheaper bottles, corks and labels. Most typically are made from the fruit that didn’t make the winemaker’s highest standards set for the Grand Vin.

Some premier winemaking estates may not even promote their second label wines. In some cases the parent estate is not even mentioned on the labels.

SOME NOTABLE SECOND LABELS

  1. Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi
  2. Meridian by Beringer
  3. Overture by Opus One
  4. Mouton Cadet by Chateau Mouton Rothschild
  5. Carruades de Lafite-Rothschild By Chateau Lafite-Rothschild

 

 

Cupcake Red Velvet 2011

Pleasantly surprised by this wine. Lot’s of big aroma and flavor in this quiet, conservative, unassuming bottle.

LABEL

Elegant, understated, clean.

COLOR

Dark Purple.

TASTE

Nice prominent nose of Chocolate, Blackberry and Raspberry.

PRICE

At around $12, this is a great all around value.

PAIRING

Experiment and have fun with this everyday, casual wine. Try it with BBQ, Pizza, Burgers.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Red velvet indeed. Wonderfully smooth, soft, everyday wine and a tremendous value. Pick one up today, you’ll enjoy it!

OVERALL RATING

3stars

OPI Score = 77  What’s This?


Wine: Cupcake Red Velvet
Vintage: 2011
Varietal: Red Blend (Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah)
Region: Central Coast
State: California
Winemaker: Cupcake Vineyards
Average Price: $12

Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel 2011

 

PICK OF THE WEEK


So what exactly are ancient vines anyways? According to the winemaker Cline Cellars they are vines on their estate that are between 80-100 years old.

92% of this blend is sourced from grapes from these vines. The general belief is that older vines, when properly handled will produce a better wine.


LABEL

Clean, minimalistic. Doesn’t exactly scream “buy me!” There’s also a cool little recipe flip on the back for a PF Chang Ginger Plum Zin sauce.

COLOR

Ruby red.

AROMA

Cherry, vanilla and strawberry on the nose.

TASTE

Full bodied, elegant and smooth with a nice long finish.

PRICE (VALUE)

I’ve seen this wine retail for up to $16. At around $13 here in Miami, you can’t go wrong.

PAIRING

Roasted Meats, light tomato sauced based dishes.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Tremendous value and quality. Pick one up today, you will enjoy it!

OVERALL RATING

3stars

VERY GOOD

OPI Score = 69  What’s This?


Vintage: 2011
Varietal: Zinfandel
Region: Contra Costa County
State: California
Winemaker: Cline Cellars
Average Price: $13

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Secreto Malbec 2009

 

PICK OF THE WEEK


Viu Manent Winery is among Chile’s leading wine producers, with exports to five continents.

Family owned since 1935, Viu Manent has come a long way over the past 75 years, marked by the Viu family’s love of the trade and their ongoing commitment to the quality of its wines.


LABEL

Really loved the eclectic art work on the label.  Certainly make you stop to pick it up.

COLOR

On the palate, more blackberry and cherry with a decent amount of spice. Full bodied, very nice long and smooth finish.

AROMA

Big, prominent nose, some cherry, blackberry, vanilla and oak.

TASTE

On the palate, more blackberry and cherry with a decent amount of spice. Full bodied, very nice long and smooth finish.

PAIRING

Pair with grilled or roasted red meats, pasta.

PRICE (VALUE)

At around $12, this one ranks high on the value scale

THE BOTTOM LINE

At around $12, this wine is a wonderful value. The next time you’re taking down some prime steer make sure you’re armed with one of these bad boys. Pick one up today – you’ll enjoy it. Salud!

OVERALL RATING

3stars

 

VERY GOOD

OPI Score = 64  What’s This?


Vintage: 2009
Varietal: Malbec
Region: Cachapoal Valley
Country: Chile
Winemaker: Viu Manent Winery
Average Price: $12

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Josh Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH AWARD (JUN 2017)  learn more


PICK OF THE WEEK  learn more


An award winning sommelier and successful wine executive, Josh Carr realized after 9/11, that life was too short, and decided to go for his dreams, founding Joseph Carr Winery in 2005.

The winery operates under the negociant model, dedicated to producing hand crafted wines, made from the best grapes sourced from growers in Napa Valley, Carneros, and the North Coast of California.

This particular bottle, Josh, named after his father, is part of Carr Winery’s second label, Josh Cellars. Carr jokingly refer to these wines as “vin de garage.”, however, these wines are all in fact handcrafted and sourced from organic growers.


LABEL

Nice, simple, clean and understated label.

COLOR

Good rich, dark color.

AROMA

A little bit of oak and fruit on the nose.  I let it sit for about 10 mins before trying it.

TASTE

On the palate, blackcurrant, spice, plums. Full bodied. Great long finish.

PAIRING

Pair with grilled red meats, ribs, meat sauced pastas.

PRICE (VALUE)

At around $11 this represents a great value.

THE BOTTOM LINE

At around $11, this is a value cabernet sauvignon and a strong quality second label offering from a talented wine maker. A diamond in the rough. Pick one up today! Salud!

OVERALL RATING

3stars

 

VERY GOOD

OPI Score = 73  What’s This?


Vintage: 2011
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Region: Sonoma
State: California
Winemaker: Josh Cellars/Joseph Carr Winery
Average Price: $11

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