“Nosing a wine” refers to smelling the wine. When smelling a wine, the taster dips their nose into the upper portion of the wine glass (not into the wine itself) and breathes in the aromas coming off of the wine. Depending on the complexity of wine and the varietal of the grapes used in its production, a wine’s aromas may cultivate in many, deep layers of smells throughout the glass, so when smelling the wine, the taster may dip their nose deeper and deeper into the glass.
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Collecting wines is a personal process. When it comes to wine, whatever you like is a great place to start. Red or white, sparkling or rose, wines of all kinds are there to be enjoyed and collected!
To collect wines, you’ll want to learn more about building a cellar. This article addresses some basic thoughts on what to put into it.
Wines are best stored in a cool, dark place in your house. Preferably, the space will have a stable temperature year-round, and not be actively disturbed. Fluctuations in temperature can cause the wine to “breathe” in the bottle, pulling in air from outside the bottle.
Wine is best stored with bottles on their side, to ensure the corks do not dry out. Dry corks can lead to oxidation and spoilage. If the wine is sealed with a rubber cork or screw cap, they can normally be stored upright.
For a particular type of wine, the best answer to these questions will come from the winery that produced it. Each wine may last more or less years, depending on how it was produced, the varietal, and its chemical composition.
Generally speaking, red wines keep longer than white wines.
When a wine goes bad (“turns”), it is due to several possible factors. Possible reasons include oxidation, bacterial spoilage, or simple age. There may be noticeable off-aromas or flavors (or both). The wine may begin to re-ferment, and may be completely undrinkable.
As a wine ages in its bottle, minute amounts of air seep into the bottle through the cork. Rubber corks and metal screw caps can prevent this, but can create other possible problems of their own.
If a wine bottle is stored on its side, the cork will not dry out, and this can prevent spoilage. Wine bottles that are stored upright will tend to see their corks dry out, and that can lead to oxidation.
Storing wine in a cool, dark place, with a relatively stable temperature and humidity throughout the year, can prevent fluctuations in the air pressure in the bottle, which also can prevent spoilage issues.
Generally speaking, most red wines peak in quality at around 8-10 years of bottling, and then begin to slowly diminish. Most white wines don’t improve much once bottled, and will generally keep for 6-8 years before losing their luster.
Wine is packaged in many different containers. Bottles of all sizes, cartons, boxes… the list goes on. In some European countries, people can bring sealing, food-grade plastic bags to the winery and have them filled on the spot.
When it comes to traditional bottling methods, most consumers purchase wine in 750mL glass bottles. These are most often sealed using wooden bottle corks. In recent years, attention has been brought to the fact that cork trees take a long time to grow. Additionally, cork can contain bacterial spoilers that will taint the wine and ruin the entire bottle. Recycled cork is one option: Old corks are ground down, chemically treated, and pressed back into the shape of a cork for re-use. These are guaranteed to be spoilage-free.
Regardless, with increasing worldwide demand for wine, there’s simply not enough cork (and recycled cork) to go around. Some winemakers have taken to alternate bottling methods, in part for sustainability efforts.
Alternatives to wooden cork include rubber corks. These are made of food-grade rubbery plastic, and used exactly the same as a wooden cork. One down-side to these is aesthetics.
Other options include metal screw caps. These require no corkscrew and are literally unscrewed to open the bottle. They can be resealed by hand, and are generally air tight, so unsealed bottles may last quite a bit longer Additionally, some Oregon wineries like Torii Mor are actively researching the use of screw caps on a small portion of all of their wines, to directly compare how the various wines age and survive the years, versus wooden bottle corks.
This is entirely up to you. Purchasing wine from a store is like buying milk or bread. Purchasing wine direct from the winery is an experience.
By visiting a winery, you will learn so much about the wine and the people that produce it, that you stand to gain new appreciation for the wine. You may also learn of other wines they produced that you might like and which you would not know about if you went to the store. Also, you may learn of case discounts and upcoming events happening at the winery.
The price of a good wine varies as much as any other product, and is based on a multitude of factors. The varietal and its relative cost to cultivate; The amount of grapes yielded in a particular vineyard’s harvest; The amount of time and artisan expertise required to ferment and produce the wine; The materials used throughout the production, particularly in barrelling and further ageing processes; The materials and production supplies used to bottle; And marketing, post-production sales, distribution overhead, and all the other things it takes to get that bottle into your hands. So many things determine how much a good wine is going to cost you.
With so many options available, both in terms of varietals and wineries producing that particular wine, and so many styles and production sizes, a given wine can range anywhere from $15 to eight times that, or even more.
This question is hard to answer, in part because individual taste and budget are big factors in determining what you may want to spend on a wine, how you might gauge the quality of wine in comparison to the cost, and the ultimate question: Would you purchase it again?
An aged wine is one older than a winery’s currently released vintage, and which has been in the bottle for at least 1-2 years.
It’s not uncommon for a winery to allow its wines to age for 18 or even longer, to reach the right quality and be ready for release. This means a wine produced in 2017 might not be bottled and released by the winery until sometime in 2019. Even then, the wine is going to need time in the bottle to develop its own characteristics.
Most white wines age gracefully, but with a shorter lifespan than reds. This has to do with the chemical composition of white wines: Fewer tannins; Save for Chardonnay, most never see any oak; Lighter and more delicate flavors that may not improve with time; And so forth. White wines generally diminish in quality faster than reds.
Conversely, many red wines need a certain amount of ageing in the bottle for their flavors and qualities to emerge. Acids and volatile compounds interact with tannins and ultimately smooth out. Many red wines have a “sweet spot” of ageing at 4-6 years in the bottle. Some may need up to 8-10 years to really hit their max. After that, it may be a slow decline as they gracefully age.
When purchasing an aged wine, such as from a winery during a library sale or when getting a private tour of their cellar, your best bet is to ask the winemaker or winery staff for their recommendations. If you’re lucky, they may be pouring a selection of aged wines as part of the event, so you can get a first-hand taste of the product for yourself.
Generally speaking, if you’re thinking of buying aged wine, if it’s available in a magnum, chances are much better the wine is in better shape, than if just a 750mL bottle, as overall less oxidation has occurred throughout the wine.