Advice on how to store and serve wine correctly for the aspiring connoisseur
Do I need to let wine breathe before serving?
Some wines need time between opening and consuming, while others can be enjoyed straight away. Red wines typically benefit more from breathing time than white wines. Appropriate aeration will open up the flavour of a young wine. In the case of mature wines that have been kept closed for a long time in the bottle, there may be a stale sensation once opened with limited aromas. These wines may benefit from being decanted, however, if allowed to aerate for too long the flavour profiles may begin to deteriorate.
Why can wine be kept for so long unopened, but goes off so quickly after?
Oxygen. Oxygen and wine are ‘frenemies’. A small amount of oxygen can help the wine age and develop, but too much will turn it into vinegar. Naturally-occurring bacteria in the wine need oxygen to grow, and when allowed to do so they will oxidise the wine giving it that vinegar taste. The only one way to avoid oxygen rushing in is by not removing the cork.
For how long is wine still drinkable once accessed?
This depends on the type of wine.
- Sparkling wine lasts one to three days in the fridge with a sparkling wine stopper.
- Light white, sweet white and rosé wine last five to seven days in the fridge with a cork.
- Full-bodied white wine lasts three to five days in the fridge with a cork.
- Red wine lasts three to five days in a cool dark place with a cork
- Fortified wine like Port, Madeira or Marsala can last up to 28 days in a cool dark place with a cork.
How should I correctly store wine?
If you are planning to store your wine for a long time without having a negative impact on the flavour, there are several factors you have to consider. First research for how long a particular wine can be stored for. Then think about where you are going to store it.
Wine needs to be kept away from all light as UV rays can damage the wine and cause it to have an unpleasant smell. Store corked wine bottles on their sides so that the corks don’t dry out.
Wine needs a constant temperature or it could age prematurely. If it is allowed to go above 24C, it may start to oxidize. If wine is stored correctly it can last you months or even years.
How do I correctly serve wine?
Different wines are served at different temperatures, and for each type of wine there is an optimal serving temperature to get the best taste out of it.
- Sparkling wines and champagne—6-8C
- Blush, rose and dry white wines—8-14C
- Light red wine—13C
- Deep red wine—15-19C
How can I tell if a wine has been damaged?
There are three main things that indicate that a wine has been damaged: colour, taste and smell. A brown hue in either red or white wines indicated that a wine has oxidised. If you are unsure, smell the wine—if it has been damaged the aroma may be moldy, musty or like vinegar. If stored correctly and left unopened, a wine can last for a long time so is unlikely to go bad.
Coravin is an innovative and revolutionary system that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. It is simple to use: the system passes through a hollow needle through the cork, once inside it inserts argon gas, a naturally occurring inert gas that winemakers have been using for years to protect their fine wines during the winemaking process. This gas pressurizes the wine allowing it to stay fresh and unaltered inside the bottle like if it has not ever been opened. With the Coravin Wine System, oxygen will never enter the bottle spoiling your wine, meaning that if you pour a glass today, in three years’ time it will be as fresh as when you first accessed it.
With Coravin you can stop opening and start tasting. It is simple to use, it keeps your wine from spoiling, thus allowing you to have some later, and can totally make a world of a difference in the way you experience wine. To find out more visit coravin.co.uk