As much as I feel I’ve learned about wine, I still feel like I know nothing. Some of the etiquette basics still stump me.
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So Ereka Vetrini, lifestyle host, and a contestant on the first season of The Apprentice in 2004, came by to help me out.
Here are a few of my questions:
What temperature do I serve a glass of wine?
Typically people serve red wine too warm and white wine too cold, says Vetrini. “If red wine is served too warm it does not retain the taste of its acidity and may make the wine feel 'flabby' in the mouth.” When white wine is served too cold, the flavors of are hidden by the chill. So try to serve red wine no warmer than 65 degrees and white wines at around 45 degrees.
How do you fill the glass?
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Most of us know that you don't fill a wine glass to the brim, but exactly how full should the glass be? Fill red wine glasses one-third full, white wine glasses one-half full and sparkling wines, like champagne, about three-quarters full.
Filling a red wine glass only one-third full allows you to give it a good swirl. Aeration is important for red wines, particularly young red wines, it opens up reds, balancing them by softening the tannins. Aeration also reduces the carbon dioxide levels and the odor that accompanies them so that you can smell their true aroma.
Is it necessary to smell it?
It's not pretentious to give wine a sniff, it's smart, says Vetrini. Even a novice will know the smell of a bad wine.
What do I bring to a dinner party?
If you’re hosting a dinner party or invited to one, "when in doubt, pick a Pinot." A light-bodied Pinot Noir is a sure bet if you’re looking for a red, and a Pinot Grigio is a great choice for a white.
I think what I love most about my venture into wine is that I will never learn it all. So that just means I just will have to continue questioning, discovering and of course, tasting.
Questions for our Wine Pro
What is your death row wine?
I love Cabernet Sauvignon! It's rich and jammy.
What region produces the best wine?
In a perfect year, Burgundy will produce a perfect red (Pinot Noir) and a perfect white (Chardonnay). But for consistency, I always look to California. Year in and year out, the sunshine produces wonderful wines.
What is the best wine and food pairing you’ve ever had?
Sauterne from Bordeaux (otherwise known as "the nectar of the gods") with creamy blue cheese on a toasted baguette.
What will the U.S. wine industry look like in 10 years?
I think the popularity of wine is growing, and it will soon become America's first choice. Everyone will see wine as accessible, affordable and enjoyable!