Drinking wine is an adventure for the senses. It involves not merely tasting the wine, but also smelling the bouquets from it.
While our tongues can detect sweet, salty, bitter, and sour flavours, our noses can detect over 10,000 aromas. Here at Singapore Wine Vault, we aim to maximise your wine experience to its fullest.
So to all you wine lovers, here are five things you should know to improve your wine knowledge and drinking experience.
Good wines come from bad wine experiences
Ironically, one of the best ways to know what you like is by determining what you don’t like.
You can do this by trying out new wines and expanding your palate preferences. In doing so, you will be able to recognise which components are not pleasing to you and figure out the ones you will enjoy.
If creamy or buttery aromas do not entice your senses, then you could try unoaked wines. If you’re into more tropical flavours like pineapple and mango, maybe a Chardonnay would work best for you.
To decant or not decant, that is the question
Aaah, yes, the topic that most lovers of fine wine would almost always debate about: Should wine be decanted or not?
On one hand, decanting wines, especially the older and more vintage ones, separates the wine from its sediments. It also aerates the liquid to get rid of any musty reductive character it might have accumulated.
On the other hand, many wine experts say that if you let the wine “breathe” too much, you could oxidise it and lose some of the rich flavours and aromas.
So should you decant your wine? More often than not, you should. Highly extracted, woody red wines will benefit the most with proper decanting, while the delicate aged wines the least.
When it comes to whites, the swirling action you do with the glass is enough to decant and aerate it.
Tip: When wines are shipped for at least 5 hours, they may start to taste strange (This is called bottle shock). Experts suggest letting the bottles sit for about two weeks before opening and decanting—to allow for the wines to recover.
The right decanter actually matters
The vessels with which wine is poured into, play a huge part in improving the whole drinking experience. Different wine glasses are designed to capture the right amount of aromas and provide a certain amount of space for air.
This is not to say that good wine would taste awful in a coffee mug or in a cup; quality wine would taste good in any decanter. However, consuming from the right glass allows drinkers to experience the wine more thoroughly and in their most excellent condition.
Red wine is best served in a large bowled glass as its wider opening makes for a smoother tasting wine. Red wine generally has higher alcohol content and tends to be fuller bodied than white wine, thus, a decanter with a large surface area allows it to release its more complex aromas.
White wine is best served in a smaller bowled glass. Since white wine is best consumed at lower temperatures than red wine, a smaller glass helps in maintaining its cooler temperature.
Sparkling wine is best served in a flute. The tall and narrow shape of a flute preserves the bubbles of sparkling wine and concentrates aromas more evidently due to its proximity to the nose.
Chill wines in 30 minutes? It’s possible
Caught in a wine emergency where you need to serve your chilled white wine in less than thirty minutes or do you want a refreshing glass of 50°F white wine? If you have these kind of crises, then these two methods can speed up your wine’s chilling process.
Wrap it: Wrap the wine bottle with a damp towel before putting it in the freezer. As the water from the towel freezes, the temperature of the wine drops in half the time it would have if it was simply popped inside the freezer (around 30 minutes).
Salt-Water-Ice: Place the wine bottle in a bucket of water, ice, and a handful of salt. The salt has properties that lower the temperature of the water below freezing point, keeping the ice from melting, and chilling your wine faster than a freezer could (about 6-10 minutes).
You can say goodbye to that room temperature white wine you constantly need to wait for hours to drink. Let’s toast to that!
Yes, wines can go bad
Wine undergoes a long and complex production process. Improper storage could make the wine go bad. Exposing the wine to high temperatures could turn its alcohol content into acetic acid, giving it a vinegar-like taste and smell. It is also extremely important to know how long your wine lasts in order to maximise the time you need to consume it in its most excellent condition.
Here are a few guides from us for more information about storing wines properly:
At the end of the day, it is really about making an effort to explore different wines and expanding your wine-loving palate. So stop reaching for that one safe bottle you’ve been constantly returning to. Try something different this weekend. You might even discover a new favourite.