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 enjoy every bottle as much as possible.
1. Cellar it properly
This one is obvious. Cellaring it at the perfect temperature is ideal, however the key is consistency. A wine that goes from hot to cold to warm to cool will fare much worse than a wine which is cellared a degrees or two above the right temperature. Companies like Vintec offer a range of wine fridges in different sizes, depending on the space you have available.
Cellaring 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, oxidised, and lifeless!
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. There are few worse things that you can do to red wine than serve it at “room temperature” in the Australian summer. A hot wine will be aromatically overpowered by alcohol and will be dominated on the palate by heavier characteristics like tannin. The lighter characteristics like fruit, floral, and spice, all get lost in the heat.
On the flip side, overly cold wine will literally ice your palate. Think about campaigns for certain beers that encourage you to drink them as cold as possible. Sure, they might be refreshing at this temperature, but they also don’t taste of much. Ever noticed how that last mouthful in the bottle or can is always terrible? This is because it’s warmed up, which means you can actually taste them.
While we’ve been pushing this message for years, it’s now becoming a hot topic (pun intended). Wine brands like Taylor’s now include temperature indicators on the back of their bottles.
With the below guide, you can rest assured that your wines will always be at the right temperature.
3. Serve it in the right glass
Forty years since we discovered the impact that the shape and size of your glass has on wine, we are amazed at the number of people who still think glassware is just a transportation method, much like a fork. For us, it’s all about 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.