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Wine is a learned taste. <> Wine Color. <> Price vs Quality.
Letting wine breathe? <> Sulfites in wine. <> Wine serving and storage temperatures.
Wine, The Bible and a Mormon. <> The invention of champagne. <> Webmaster's Favorite Wines.

Letting The Wine Breathe.

I noticed a search engine report for this site where someone was looking for information on how long after openning the wine, should it be served. Perhaps you have asked yourself, "How long do I have to wait before drinking an opened bottle of wine?". Or, worse yet, maybe you've never considered the notion before. No matter, let's address these questions and talk about letting the wine breathe.

Letting the wine breathe is only for wines that are dark, heavy and robust. Lightly colored wines do not require that the wine be allowed to breathe before serving. Lightly colored wines are usually served chilled and are ready to drink immediately after openning. Robust wines like a Cabernet or Merlot are a different story. Robust wines should be allowed to breathe (or be exposed to open air) before serving. The simplified reason for this is that there are microscopic gas bubbles that are released from the wine when it is uncorked. This gas is sort of a by-product of the natural frementation process. The gas is "suspended" in the wine while it is in the corked bottle but is allowed to escape after uncorking. This gas causes a bitter taste in the wine and gives it a sharp "bite" so to speak. Allowing the wine to breathe a bit, will allow the gas to escape so that you can enjoy the true taste of the wine.

To let the wine breathe, pour a glass for each person at the table and let the wine just sit there for about 10 minutes or a little less. If you suspect that your dinner guests are going to dive right into it, pour the glasses ahead of time and bring them already filled to the table. Letting hte wine breathe in the wine glass is the fastest way to allow the wine to become drinkable. The more of the wine that you expose to fresh air after uncorking, the less time it will need to breathe. For example. If you uncork a 750ml size bottle of wine and leave it sit on the counter, there is only a small amount of the wine that is exposed to fresh air. If you allow the wine to breathe in the uncorked bottle, the wine would need to breathe for about 30 minutes at a minimum.

Another way to help speed up the process is to make use of a carafe. I don't know if I spelled that right or not but I do know that pouring the whole bottle into one and serving the wine from that will help a lot. Make sure that if you serve the wine from a carafe, that you place the empty bottle on the table next to it because people like to see what kind of wine they are drinking. It gives the table guests the opportunity to study the lable.

So, letting the wine breathe is a good thing. The taste of the wine will smooth out and you'll be able to enjoy the true taste of the wine. On that note, I should mention that one of the most common reasons why a person will return a bottle of a wine to the store is because they don't know about the need to let a bottle of wine breathe before drinking it. If after you let it breathe a while and it still tastes like stale wet socks or something, then you might actually have a bad bottle. A bad bottle of wine is not an uncommon thing. Good wine is difficult to make and I would catagorize it as "produce". It's just as easy for wine to go bad as it is for produce to go bad.

One of the ways a wine can go bad is if it turns to vinigar by having been exposed to air somehow. Corks that dry out can allow air to seep past it and slowly turn the wine bad. That's why you lay bottles of wine down in a wine rack , so that the wine will keep the cork moist and the bottle sealed. Another ailment that a bottle of wine can suffer from is called, being "corked". It has to do with bacteria growing in the cork and causing the wine to taste like stale socks. It won't hurt you if you drink "corked wine" but who would want to? To battle these two problems, wine makers are often using artificial corks. I actually prefer them because they are cool to play with and you don't need to store the bottle on it's side with an artificial cork.

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