Tip 1: How to Chill a Bottle Fast
A bunch of thirsty friends pop around unannounced. They all want white wine and you haven’t got a single cold bottle. What to do? Simple. Stick your wine bottle in a bucket. Fill the bucket half with ice, half with water, covering as much of the bottle as possible. Then add a generous handful of salt to the water: this causes the temperature to drop faster. After ten minutes, the wine will have dropped more than ten degrees.
Tip 2: How to Serve Wine
If your wine is sparkling, pour it down the side of the glass to protect the precious bubbles. If your wine is still, pour it into the centre of the glass to let the bouquet permeate the vessel and float upward. Never fill a glass more than two-thirds.
A Good Wine Is:
- Clean and clear. It should smell and taste fresh, yummy and enticing.
- Concentrated. Whether it’s light and delicate or rich and full-bodied, it should sit pleasingly on your tongue.
- Complex. Good wine has more than one flavour, to keep you interested to the last drop.
- Balanced. No one element – fruit, alcohol, acid, oak – should stick out. They should be in harmony.
- Able to linger. The flavour haunts the back of your throat, urging you to have another sip.
A Bad Wine Is:
- Dirty and bland. It smells unpleasant or boring.
- Thin and dilute. It hardly registers on your tongue.
- Simple. Bad wine has only one rather weak flavour.
- Unbalanced. Bad wine is overly sharp, or woody, or has alcohol burn.
- Mean. The taste disappears at the back of your throat and leaves you feeling short-changed.
Tip 4: The Wine’s Nearly Ready
Not sure if your wine is cold enough? Simply follow the advice of former Christie’s wine auctioneer Ursula Hermacinski: “Twenty minutes before dinner, take the white wine out of the fridge and put the red wine in.”
Tip 5: Once Opened, Wine Lasts...
- 1-2 DAYS for light white and red wines such as riesling and pinot noir; sparkling and pink wines
- 3-4 DAYS for fuller-bodied reds and whites such as shiraz and chardonnay; sweet white wines
- 1-2 WEEKS for pale dry sherry and vintage port
- 3 MONTHS for tawny port, muscat, tokay and sweet sherry.