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Becky's Kitchen Tips (Wines and Beers)
Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:55 pmFood.com Groupie
Well, today I am going to tell you a little about wine and beer. I hope you enjoy reading about this and hopefully learn something. If you have any questions, please ask us!! If you have some suggestions, please tell us about them!!
When all is said and done, sipped and swallowed, wine appreciation is just a matter of your personal taste! Let's face it, what may seem too sweet to some people, may be too salty to others. So, go with what you like.
Color of Wine:
Whether red or white wine, good wine should be bright and free of cloudiness or suspended bits. Moselles are pale gold with a touch of green, white Burgundies are a richer gold, and Beaujolais are purple-red. Red wines usually get lighter in color as they age and white wines usually get a deeper gold color when they age. If you tipe the glass to one side and look at the outer edge of the wine against a white cloth or background, you can best see the color and hue of the wine. Looking down into the glass won't work because the wine's depth will make the color deeper.
About 80 percent of your sense of taste is based on your sense of smell. In order to enjoy the aroma of wine, an 8 ounce glass should be filled only about halfway and should be tapered so that the bouquet gets concentrated. Fill the glass halfway, swirl the wine so that more of its surface is exposed to air and more bouquet is released, then sniff. Better wines will give you the bouquet of their grapes. For example, a Moselle will smell flowery and fragrant, a Beaujolais will have a fruity smell, and a red Bordeaux or California Cabernet Sauvignon may have a deeper, more complex bouquet. Generally, younger wines have fruitier bouquets and older wines have a more refined and subtle smell. Bad wine can smell "corky," cheap wines can often give a sort of prickly sensation in the nose caused by excessive addition of sulfur dioxide, which is used to stabilize wines. Wine will sometimes smell musty, sour, or vinegary; the latter is an indication that the wine is too acidic.
Your taste buds can only tell salt, sour, bitter, and sweet and tastes are sensed on different areas of your tongue. So, you need to let wine rest on your tongue for a moment so that you can separate the different tastes. I won't get into all the ways that professionals do this, but really it is a matter of taste which wine you prefer. If you are having a party, it's always best to offer white, red, and rose wines so that everyone can get something he or she likes.
Generally, inexpensive wines are blends of various grapes and are grown in places where the quality is about the same every year because the vintners grow hardy grapes that consistently produce high yields. In great wine regions such as in France and Germany, greater risks are taken to grow less hardy, high-yielding grapes and so, depending on the weather, there will be great or poor years. Since wine drinking is a matter of personal taste and good wine depends on grape growing conditions and wine maker's skills; for many years, American wines were snubbed by various wine drinkers. However, in recent years, some wines from various parts of the United States have been getting better quality marks than some European wines at international tastings. Most experts say that you shouldn't buy the cheapest wine in any category because the cost of bottling, corking, and other aspects of production are the same for ALL wines, it's the contents that affect the price!
Unpasturized beers must be stored in the refrigerator. However, most beers are better off stored in the fridge anyway so that they are ready to drink. Most beer sold in bottles and cans are pasteurized to prevent spoilage during transport and storage, while draft beers (in the keg) and certain other beers are not; many people say that unpasteurized beer has a better taste. Pasteurized beers will keep for several weeks in a cool place, but if you have had some beer for a long time, like a couple of months, and you plan to serve it to company, it's best to check, since it may have gone flat.
It is ready to drink when you buy it and need not be saved for aging. Also, don't store champagne in the refrigerator. Purists say that champagne can absorb odors from other foods in the fridge over a long period of time. Also, in cold temperatures, the cork will eventually shrink, allowing the bubbles to escape and the champagne to go flat. Store champagne in a cool, dark place on its side. Place it in the refrigerator or in a bucket of ice water for at least 2 hours before serving.
Wine that is capped instead of corked is wine that is ready to drink when you buy it. Wine that doesn't need aging or that you will drink soon can be stored standing up for a short time, but wine that is to be aged should be stored lying on its side to keep the cork damp so that no air can reach the wine. If you buy a case of wine, the whole case can be placed on its side in a cool place for storage, or insert wine into cabinets to hold stored wine bottles on their sides. Wine can breathe through the cork, so cellar odors can be absorbed by the wine. Also wine rests better in the dark, and it doesn't like vibrations, especially if it is an aged wine. Store wine away from laundry machines or other vibrating equipment.
Storage Temperatures for Wines:
Most wine experts say that the ideal temperature for a wine cellar is between 55 and 60 degrees F, with 45 to 70 degrees F being the outer limits. Keeping the temperature constant is even more important than the exact temperature. The best humidity level is 75 percent. Humidity prevents the corks from drying out, allowing the wine to evaporate or spoil. However, too much humidity will allow fungus to grow. If you are moving during very hot or very cold weather, you will need to insulate the wines. When moving at any time of the year, wrap the wine bottles in about a 1 inch thickness of newspaper for shipping. Once the wines have been moved, let the bottles rest undisturbed for at least a month before they are opened.
Must go for now, friends! But, tomorrow, I will get into tips for cooking with wines and beer etc.
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