We have all been wine novices at one time. What separates the elite wine-drinkers from the rest is respect for the grape, the process, and the taste. If you want to drink wine like a pro, try to avoid these common 13 mistakes!
1. You Leave Open Wine On The Counter
As with many foods, the refrigerator is your friend in keeping their preservatives engaged. Stick open wine in the fridge with its cork wedged back in and it will stay fresh longer, up to eight days, in fact. Even red wines. The trick being to take it out at least 15-20 minutes before serving to get the wine warm back up.
2. You’re NOT Opening Bubbly The Right Way!
Yes, there is a right way of opening sparkling wine. No, it’s not shooting the cork across the room scaring your bestie half to death! It’s all in the twist. Instead of twisting out the cork, twist the bottle. Gripping the cork, or better yet —the wire basket, twist the bottle and voila. Your sparkling wine will be open and no one will lose an eye.
3. You Swirl Your Sparking Wine
The temptation is there. You’ve seen wine connoisseurs sip and sniff and swirl their days away. It feels like you should do the same, even with bubbly sorts. Please don’t. This action causes the bubbles to dissipate, making everything good about carbonated wine… disappear.
4. You’re NOT Chilling Your Red Wine
Stay with me for a moment… Most red wines should be served at a slightly cool, let’s say air-conditioned, temperature. If you have just purchased a bottle of Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon, there is a good chance its a few degrees too warm. Guilty of this myself, I pop open that bottle, pour into my decanter, and go to town! My friends, if you want to taste the wine aromas best, stick that bottle in the fridge for a maximum of 10 minutes. This will give you slightly colder than room temperature (think damp basement), ready to drink red! If you leave it in the fridge for longer than ten minutes, be sure to give it some time to warm a little —15-20 minutes at room temperature should do the trick!
5. You Fill Up Your Wine Glass
Oh dear, this is a rookie mistake. Filling your class up to the brim may seem great because you get more delicious wine, but instead, only fill half way at most and have two glasses. This will give your wine a chance to breath in your glass, allowing its aromas to do their thing!
6. You Don’t Experiment
We get it, you’ve found a wine that tastes pretty good and it only costs $12 bucks. Good for you. A pat on the back is in order, and now you have a fall-safe option. But please, for the sake of all wines holy, do not stop there. The whole world is filled with so many grape options and wine blends. Get out and try, try, try some more. Trying wines from the world is like packing your tongue a suitcase and sending the slimy little fella on a round-world trip of a lifetime! If you close out all of your options, you will never know if there is a cheaper wine —dare I say it— even better than your go-to!
7. You Blend Cheap Wines
Nooooooo! Stop this brutality right now, I say! People have lead you to believe this will aerate your cheap wines, opening them up and making them taste more expensive. Do not — I repeat DO NOT —fall for this dirty lie. Blenders move too quickly, causing your wine to come apart at the streams (lol-get it?) in ways that will make it taste…blah. Instead, invest in a decanter. Pour your cheap wine in here and let it get the oxygen it needs. Try different cheap wines, too. While some will have less-than-stellar taste, others may just surprise you.
8. You’re NOT Wine Pairing With Food
Pairing wine with food is half experimentation and half knowledge. Pick the wrong wine with the meal, and both taste not so awesome. But, if you pick the right wine, you’re in for a treat. My advice, do your research, but also don’t be afraid to step outside the box (or bottle). After all, rules are meant to be broken.
9. You’re Aging Wine Far Too Long
Again, research is needed here. Many store purchased wines do not need aging, and in fact, will taste worse the longer they sit. For these wines, dust is your enemy. However, some wines can sit and age in your cellar for a year or two and keep getting better. Find out which ones are which before you destroy precious liquid grape.
10. You ONLY Have One Type Of Wine Glass
Okay —this is not the worst. But, wine tastes differently depending on the glass it is served in. There are several different glass options from stemless, to a champagne flute, and beyond. So, having a few basics on hand is always a good idea to illicit the best pour.
11. You’re Holding Your Glass All Wrong
If you cup your wine from the bowl of the glass, you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed. Especially with bubbly, holding a glass there causes the wine to warm up from the heat of your palm —Ew! Hold the stem as much as possible to keep that wine cool. If you are using a stemless glass, the key is to set it down. Don’t hold it while your chit-chatting or again, warm palms will wreak havoc.
12. You’re Drinking Champagne Straight Out The Bottle
A celebration always makes this drinking technique seem like a good idea. I am here to tell you it’s not. Carbonation helps keep alcohol in little air pockets. Chugging champagne brings that alcohol into your system way faster. So, you get drunk quick, and also, you earn a pulsating headache. Aspirin please! Instead, pour it into a flute and sip until your hearts content —migraine free.
13. You’re Thinking About It
Relax, the first and most important, rule is to enjoy your company and your wine. I know I’ve given you a lot to think about. Take a breath and relax, as long as you use some of these suggestions, you will improve your wine drinking habits, and impress your friends with your new knowledge!
Let us know of any other wine faux pas in the comment section!