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How to Get the Most Out of Your Bottle of Wine

Updated on June 2, 2015

Many of us find drinking wine a stylish and classy activity. Some might call it an art, they have probably learned some skills that came with exquisite upbringing.

Knowing some expensive wines or fine cuisine are some of the small details that you might want to achieve to feel yourself as a sophisticated wine person.

How to select the right wine for the occasion and which glasses to pick for it are essential for your nice time with your guests. In this article, I want to share some of these secrets with you.

Picking a right wine for your dish is the best way to fully enjoy your time with wine
Picking a right wine for your dish is the best way to fully enjoy your time with wine

Choose the Right Wine for the Occasion

Nowadays there are over 1000 established wines in the world. You would agree knowing by heart all of them is really impossible or at least unnecessary. I know of 9 primary wine types - a few white wines, rosé, a few reds, sparkling wine and desert wine.

The easiest way to select the right wine is to know what meals are going to be served. There is no need to investigate the flavours in the wine. The following simple tips will help you with the pairing.

Pair white (light) wines with chicken and fish, reds - with beef and pork. Of course you will find that some light-bodied red wines are nice companion for fish and chicken as well. Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling are good choice for spicy foods. If you want to have some nice wine without an appetizer Sauvignon Blanc or a glass of Riesling would be just perfect. Cabernets and Pinot Noir are your "red" choice.

If you consider yourself a high level wine lover the chart below will give you insights on the pairing topic.

Perfect Food and Wine Pairings

Pairing wine and food made super easy with a nice infographic
Pairing wine and food made super easy with a nice infographic | Source
A double-hinged corkscrew is the easiest way to open a bottle of wine
A double-hinged corkscrew is the easiest way to open a bottle of wine

Open the Bottle with a Single Gesture

Once you have picked the right wine for you party it is time to open it. Please, save your night and use a corkscrew.

Using an alternative way to open a bottle of wine - a knife, a key, a shoe, some nails or a sword might easily result in a wine disaster. It is not what wine is created for.

The process is easy and straightforward:

  1. cut the foil - use a knife and cut the foil 1/2' below the lip of the bottle
  2. twist the corkscrew in the center of the cork until you have 1 or 2 twists left
  3. gently pull the cork out

A double-hinged corkscrew is one of the easiest wine accessories to use. Most of these waiter's best friend openers have built-in foil cutting blade. With its help removing the wine capsule is no brainer. A 5-step worm is a standard in wine corkscrew.

Mind What Kind of Glassware You Use

Using the right glass will add sophistication to your wine experience. Taste and aromas from the right glass are more intense and absolutely better. Drinking wine from crystal clear glass will reveal wine's great rich color. The perfect size for a bowl is one that holds about 12-18 ounces. The rim should be thin: thin-rimmed bowls do not distract from the wine while tasting. Although hand-blown glasses are more expensive than the machine ones they are always thinner.

The ordinary wineglass has a stem for a reason - to be held by. Grabbing the wine glass by the bowl will warm it too quickly and most likely ruin the taste.

Reds Wine Glasses Have Big Bowls

The right glass for your wine can improve its taste and preserve the right temperature longer
The right glass for your wine can improve its taste and preserve the right temperature longer

Stemless glasses are getting really popular - they are a bit cheaper, easy to store and clean and they do not break easily. Nowadays it is fine to serve wine in a stemless glass. However, if you want a sophisticated wine experience, serve your wine in glasses that do have stems.

Different wine types should be served in different glass. Reds' glasses have bigger bowls compared to the white wine glasses. For your white wines get U-shaped glasses. They have higher stems than the reds' ones.

Champagne Glasses Are Upright and Narrow

Champagne glasses are upright and narrow with high stem.
Champagne glasses are upright and narrow with high stem.

If you have champagne served you should use upright and narrower glasses compared to all the other wineglasses. Champagne glasses capture the wine aromas best. This classic glass shape enhances the bubbles. They will burst right at the tip of the lips rather than in the glass. The stem is as long as white wine glasses and helps preserve the perfect wine temperature.

Let Your Wine Breath

Be patient. Your wine has been waiting for a few years for you. You should have the patience to wait for a while. After being trapped in a bottle the wine needs some air. When wine makes contacts with air it gets a bit richer, softer and mellower taste. You will absolutely sense the difference.

All red wines taste better after some aeration as well as a couple of whites. It really is a matter of the tannin level of your wine. If the tannin level is high - the wine needs more time to be aerated. Young wines have higher level of tannin.

Using a wine aerator is a perfect option to enrich the wine taste even more. it is usually a small device that is attached to the top of the wine bottle while you are pouring. As the wine flows through the aerator it is exposed to oxygen.

Pouring a glass red or white wine with a pourer is easy
Pouring a glass red or white wine with a pourer is easy

Pour Wine Without Drips and Spills

Now that the wine has its time to prepare for our meeting it is time for some wine action! Let's pour some wine!

I have already mentioned you above that wine glasses are usually between 12 to 18 ounces and you should pour no more than 1/3 in the glass. Usually 3-4 ounces is more than enough. Why? The biggest reason is to drink it before it has become too warm. There are a few smaller tips that I will share in the next section.

You should pour in the center of the glass from about 6-10 inches. Pour slowly so there are no wine drops around. It will also allow the wine to take some more air if needed.

I used to gently twist the wine bottle toward the end of the pour to keep my tablecloth from wine drips. Now I have a smart solution - a wine pourer. My pourer has a double layer edge that leaves no wine drips, even after I have had a few glasses of wine. The pourer allows me to pour confidently and steadily without wine spills. It is spills that usually result in stains on the tablecloth. I could easily pour wine with just one hand.

Now That Everything Is Perfect - Taste Your Wine

You have spent a lot of time in preparation for this sublime moment - wine tasting. You sit peacefully in a quiet and stylish environment with your friends - it is time to enjoy your wine.

Take your glass by the stem, gently tilt it and hold it to the light. Check the color - when wine is clear and shows some sparkle it means it is just perfect. I mentioned you above to pour just 1/3 of the glass. So you can now slowly swirl the glass. Take a look at the wine legs on the inner rim of the glass. The more legs you see - the stronger the wine is. If you have a hard time figuring out what I mean try with cognac or whiskey.

Keep the wine still and take a sniff. Now swirl the glass and smell again. There are over a thousand of aromas in a wine. Some divide them in three - fruits, earth and wood. You should trust your sense to feel all of them.

Now taste the wine, just one or two ounces. Toss it around you mouth for a while. Sense the flavor and structure of the wine. Wine flavors might relate to fruits such as lemon, raspberry, coconut and apple. Wine structure relates to sweetness, alcohol level, body, acidity, etc.

Sense Your Wine Aroma and Bouquet

Tasting wine is the most fun part of the wine ceremony
Tasting wine is the most fun part of the wine ceremony

Preserve the Perfect Drinking Temperature

You know that red and white wine have different drinking temperature. Reds are served a few degrees below room temperature (57-68°F). Whites on the other hand are served already chilled at about 48-58°F. You should have already cooled your wine to the perfect temperature. Now you have opened it and you should enjoy it. There is no need to go back and forth to the fridge every 10 minutes.

The best solution for you is to use either an ice bucket or a wine chiller stick. I used to use the first until I have found the wine chiller. It is a modern solution. The chiller helps preserve the right temperature for up to an hour. There is no need of buckets and ice. Just pour a glass from the bottle before you insert you frozen wine chiller and that's it.

A wine chiller stick can keep a bottle of white wine chilled for up to an hour
A wine chiller stick can keep a bottle of white wine chilled for up to an hour

My wine chiller stick is made of stainless steel and is really easy to use and take care after. The best thing is that it comes with a built-in wine aerator and a wine pourer in one. It is not only easy but it is smart as well. I just pour a glass, insert the chiller stick and enjoy my time.

If you want to drink your wine and remove all the hassle the wine chiller is available on Amazon.

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