Whether you're saving a bottle for a special occasion or simply just enjoy a glass of wine every night with dinner, check out our top tips to help you get the most from every bottle.
1. Store it properly
In ideal circumstances, you would be able to store your wines in a cellar, designed to always sit at the perfect temperature, but this isn't realistic for many of us. Our key tip is to concentrate on consistency. A wine that goes from hot to cold to warm to cold will fare much worse than a wine which is stored somewhere with a fairly consistent temperature, even if it is a degree or two above the ideal temperature.
Storing it properly also means knowing the recommended cellar life of your wine, and drinking it at its optimum age. You can be forgiven for getting excited and drinking wine early, but there’s nothing worse than hanging onto something for years then finally serving it when it’s brown and lifeless!
If you are looking to make an investment, companies like Vintec offer a range of wine fridges depending on the space you have available, with complimentary apps that offer advice on the life of your wines and how best to serve them.
2. Serve it at the right temperature
Whether you’re finally opening that special bottle or pouring something you bought that day, pay attention to its serving temperature, as there are few worse things that you can do to red wine than serve it at “room temperature” in the summer.
A hot wine will be aromatically overpowered by alcohol and dominated on the palate by heavier characteristics like tannin. The lighter characteristics - like fruit, floral, and spice - will all get lost in the heat.
On the flip side, overly cold wine will literally ice your palate. Imagine holding an ice cube in your mouth then attempting to taste something; the principle with over-chilled wine is essentially the same. Drinking an icy white won’t be unpleasant like drinking a warm red, but it certainly won’t be that interesting!
While we’ve been pushing this message for years, it’s now becoming a hot topic (pun intended) among others in the hospitality industry too, who know that they'll sell more wine if served at the right temperature.
If you follow this guide, you can be sure that your wines will always be served at the right temperature.
3. Serve it in the right glass
Over 50 years ago, we discovered that the shape and size of your glass has an impact on wine's flavour profile. However many wine drinkers still think of glassware as just a transportation method, much like a fork.
For us, it all comes down to the investment you make in the wine. Wine is about enjoyment, and drinking it from the right varietal glass will heighten your pleasure. You spend money and time researching, buying, and cellaring wine, so don’t just throw it into any old glass (or, worse, plastic cup)!
To save you feeling as if you have to purchase every varietal glass we produce, we always recommend you think about what your favourite grape varieties are, both red wine and white wine. If you can’t live without Shiraz, buy some Shiraz glasses. If you go crazy for Oaked Chardonnay, purchase the right glass for it. Don’t compromise on the things you love!
4. Decant it
Decanting is a hugely important part of wine enjoyment, for both old and young wines. It’s a common misconception that decanting is used only for removing sediment from older wines, but decanting young wines is like speeding up the ageing process.
Wine contains sulphur dioxide, which protects the wine as it ages. This protection also masks the fruit in young wines, which is why they can sometimes described as “tight”. Exposing the wine to oxygen burns off the sulphur, exposing more fruit and therefore more flavour. A decanted wine will show more character and depth; you only need to compare a decanted wine to a non-decanted wine to see the huge difference it makes.
Decanting also adds ceremony and theatre. We are known for our large range of stunning and elaborate decanters, which turn wine service into a performance. It’s all about having fun with it!
5. Try something new
Don’t get stuck in a rut with your wine choices. It’s great to have favourites but, with wine styles evolving all the time, you will miss out on discovering something amazing if you don’t try new things.
If you’re lucky enough to have a quality bottle shop nearby, ask for advice, find out what’s just come in, take recommendations. Sign up with a company that has a personalised service to recommend new wines based on what you already enjoy, or will sporadically send you a mixed case where you can try six or twelve new wines.
An even safer way to do this is to find wine bars that have great lists of wine by the glass. Tell the barman or sommelier what you like, and get them to suggest something new. And don’t be afraid to ask them to cool the wine down, or for the better glassware hidden behind the bar!
Ultimately, the pleasure we get from wine is all about emotion: sharing with our family and friends; marking a particular occasion; finally opening something you’ve been holding onto. You can skip any (or all) of these steps and still enjoy the moment, but if you do as above you’ll only get more out of what you love.