What does decanting do to a wine?

QUESTION: What does decanting do to a wine? There are two reasons to decant a wine. The first reason is to remove the sediment that can build up in a wine over time. Sediment is particulate matter that has fallen out of the wine. It is safe to consume, but some find it unpleasant and unattractive. The older the wine, generally the more sediment, although certain types of grapes produce more than others. To decant a wine for sediment, stand the bottle up in a cool place for a few days at minimum.

What does it mean for a wine to be unbalanced?

QUESTION: What does it mean for a wine to be unbalanced? When a wine is young , it can take years for all the various elements, such as acidity, tanning and fruit to integrate. Until such time the wine can be considered out of balance. However, some young wines can be balanced in the beginning and age gracefully to develop more elegance or character. A lot of the time, a wine professional will refer to a wine as being unbalanced if the wine tastes too strongly of one particular element, very commonly oak, alcohol or acidity.

What's the difference between Petite Syrah, Syrah, and Shiraz?

QUESTION: What's the difference between Petite Syrah, Syrah, and Shiraz? Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape. It tends to be labeled as Shiraz in Australia and Syrah in the rest of the world (remembering that in France it is more likely to have a geographic name such as St. Joseph or Cote Rotie). There are in fact different strains of Syrahs around the world and often in the same vineyard.

Can you trust wine distributors or are they all driven by relationships with the winemakers?

QUESTION: Can you trust wine distributors or are they all driven by relationships with the winemakers? No to both parts. Distributors are no different than any other aspect of business. There are ones to trust and ones that are only interested in selling their inventory. If you find a distributor whose wines you consistently like, then it may be likely you can trust them. Look to see if they carry the same wines you like every year. If so, support them the way you would any other business.

What kind of wine should you age and what kind of wine can be enjoyed immediately?

QUESTION: What kind of wine should you age and what kind of wine can be enjoyed immediately? Most people won’t know that the oldest wines in the world are white. They generally can age better than reds, depending on the grape variety. The oldest wine I ever tasted was carbon dated to 1670, it was white and only 6% alcohol but the storage was responsible for its great condition, cut off from any form of light, buried for centuries in cold, damp London clay. The longest lived wines are Madeiras, most of which are made from white grape varieties. Some of the great old white Burgundies [Chardonnay] would be classified as some of the greatest wines in the world.

What does it mean for a wine to have tannins?

QUESTION: What does it mean for a wine to have tannins? Tannins are the sensation of drinking wines that result in an almost thick and fuzzy feeling on the lips and tongue. You may also get this sensation when drinking tea. It can come from many different part of the wine making process. The tannins are present in the grape skin which is why they are found more in red wines than white wines.

How do all the different flavors and aromas get into a wine?

QUESTION: How do all the different flavors and aromas get into a wine? There are literally over 100,000 flavors/aromas in a wine. A dog would be able to smell more than a human. The human can’t even smell 10% of them. The smells that can be detected by the human nose vary from person to person. This makes discussion about flavors enlightening because one person can, by reference, trigger your brain into identifying more complexity in a wine.

What is the shelf life of wine after the bottle is opened? How long will the wine be drinkable?

QUESTION: What is the shelf life of wine after the bottle is opened? How long will the wine be drinkable? This will vary based on the grape(s) used and the age of the wine. Once a cork is pulled (or cap unscrewed), the wine will start to react to the oxygen. To slow this process, the only good home solution is to reduce that process. This can be done by transferring the wine to a smaller bottle that has less oxygen contact, but the best thing is to put the wine in a refrigerator which will slow the process down.

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