How To Choose A Bottle Of Good French Wine

First, let’s decide: what we will drink. A French wine has its own ranking system.

Table wine has the lowest rank. It is the cheapest and the simplest. Local wine is ranked slightly higher. It is produced in certain regions of France.

The next stage is higher-quality wine produced in a limited territory. Its production techniques is under the strict control. Manufacturers are required to use only certain varieties of grapes growing on the particular wine industry castle’s soil.

Finally, the highest ranked wine category – aristocratic “controlled by descent” wine. This wine is bought by collectors and sold at auctions for the crazy money. Requirements for its manufacturing are much more rigid. For example, even if the grape harvest has been abundant, there is a strict limit of producing elite wines. Prestigious wine must me limited!

How to choose elite wine?

First of all, pay attention to the label. It should not be garish or colorful. Typically, the better the wine, the label looks more modest. And if you choose the higher-class wine, it must have three words in its inscription. First – Appellation (winemaking community), or Chateau (Castle). Then the name of the community or castle. And the key word “control” means that the wine is controlled by descent.

Very often these three words are typed in very small font. But they are the key! If they are not on the label, the wine could not be considered elite. The best French wines have also “Grand Cru” classification. Most often this inscription can be found on the label after the name of vineyard.

What should you pay attention to when choosing wines from different regions of France?

The most famous are Bordeaux and Burgundy wines.

Individual wine-making households – Chateau – are located Inside the Bordeaux wine-growing areas. Therefore, when choosing Bordeaux wine you must draw your attention to the name of the castle.

Each Chateau has its unique flavor, identity and bouquet. Even if a few castles are located in the neighborhood and use the same sort of wine grapes, they produces quite different wines. Indeed, each Chateau has its own secrets, which are handed down for several centuries. Unlike Bordeaux, Burgundy is famous by wine-growing communities, which may belong to several tens of producers.
Pay attention to the producer of the wine – its taste and smell depends on its producer.

How do size and length of the bottle corks characterize the quality of wine?

The real connoisseurs of French wine knows what the cork means. Firstly, it must be made from cork oak bark. Secondly, the name of the community or castle as well as the harvest year must be printed there. The longer the cork, the more expensive drink, and the higher its quality. But short pressed cork is a sign of cheap wine.

As is the convention, the long-lived wine corks is changed every 15 years.

As for the bottle, the most famous elite wine bottle is called “Magnum” (1.5L). The fact is that “Magnum” is used for very high quality wine of the best years.

The Secrets In Your Wine

From the biblical times to the present, a glass of wine has been celebrated across cultures to mark happy occasions and love. Wine is the elixir of life and an aphrodisiac. Without wine, poets could not have loosened their minds and tongues to write and deliver moving poetry.

Enjoying Your Bubbly?

Cheers greet the familiar sound of the cork popping out of the champagne bottle. The festive mood gets merrier and the drinking ensues. But do you know that champagne and other bubblies have their whims and caprices? To serve up the best tasting drinks, there are some practices to observe so you can enjoy your wine.

Sparkling wine must be poured properly into tall and thin flutes. Don’t pour into the center of the glass because you’ll disturb the bubbles. For non-bubbly wines, decant it into the center of the glass. For both wines, don’t fill the wine glasses to the brim, but only about a fourth or a third from the top of the glass. White wine like Riesling is served in tulip glasses, while red wine like sherries are served in rounded glasses with large bottoms.

When the drinks are served in their proper glasses, your guests can enjoy the flavors and the aromas of the wines. This enhances their drinking pleasure and yours as well. Don’t forget, though, to fill up glasses when everything has gone up a decibel higher – music, laughter and conversation.

Wine Temperature

Older wines taste better when chilled and decanted before serving. Decanting makes sure that cork sediments are not included when you serve a drink. Did you know that cork sediments affect the wine’s flavor and aroma? Use cheesecloth when you pour the wine into the decanter just to make sure that no cork sediment is present and do this before the guests arrive.

Not all wines have to be cooled to get the best flavors out. Vintage wines are warmed because the aged flavor comes out best. You can always have a drink from it from one of those liquor flasks. Sparkling wines and roses are best served when cooled to 45 degrees Fahrenheit and sherry at 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cooled wines taste better and smell better, otherwise it would be too unpleasant to drink. Don’t worry, though, if you don’t have time to chill the wines before the guests arrive. A 10-minute chill in the refrigerator will be good enough.

Secrets From the Vineyard

Red grapes produce the famous Cabernet, Merlot, Sauvignon, and Zinfandel, but they all taste differently, each with their kind of seduction. These grapes were grown in France, Spain, and Argentina. These will, however, have a shared distinction of the fruit.

But how do these red grape wines differ from one another? Cabernet has the flavors of plum, black cherry, and currant and strong tannins. Zinfandel is a stimulating drink spiced with wild berry and pepper, while a Sauvignon Blanc has a bit of herbal kick to it. The Muscat is spicy.

Vintners guard their trade secrets tightly, passing on the secret only to the next generation who will manage the vineries and the business. The hapless Fortunato in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado was a connoisseur of wine and the Medoc, a French red wine, was his downfall. But for all wine lovers and tired imbibers, wines will always be an elixir and the source of the heart’s fountain of youth. So toast to the wines that make the world go round.

How to Be Ingenious When Sourcing Wine Making Supplies

If you’re going to make wine at home with the intention of selling it, you’ll definitely need some capital with which to buy all of your wine making supplies. But if you’re making wine as hobby; meaning the wines you’ll make are either for self-consumption or to be shared with family and friends, then, you don’t really need to buy everything from the stores – unless, of course, you have money to spare.

With a little ingenuity and some thought, a quick survey of your kitchen tools and items already available at home can be used for wine making, rather than going out and buying supplies from stores. Here are some ideas on alternative wine making supplies:

Fermentation vessels-Food grade storage containers, wine jugs and milk jugs are good substitutes. You can ask local restaurants for food grade storage containers that they no longer use. Don’t accept the ones they’ve previously used to store pickles. Such containers may have certain stains and flavors that cannot be removed even with vigorous washing and may actually affect the quality of your wine. They can sell it to you at a low price or may even give it to you free! In relation to wine jugs and milk jugs, you my have plenty of them lying around the house. They work well and it’s easy to find stoppers that will fit them. You can also make use of crock pots or slow cookers that you don’t intend to use in the near future.

Bottles and corks- You don’t really need to buy bottles, corker and corks if you have other means of storing and/or sealing your homemade wine. For example, you could store your finished wine in old beer bottles and seal them with bottle caps. Another option is to store homemade wine in plastic soda pop bottles with plastic screw tops. Remember when you used to buy your wine from shops? You can also make use of your old wine bottles and their corks. Clean glass bottles thoroughly from inside out. Use a brush to scrub the outside surface and remove the labels. Make sure that there are no glue marks left. Sanitize used corks by soaking them in hot sulfate saturated for half an hour.

One thing to keep in mind when using alternative wine making supplies is to make sure everything is properly sanitized and presentable. Especially, if you’re going to make use of second-hand materials or items which have previously been used.

Remember, you can start off using what you currently have and only buying supplies that you need, when you need it. This not only allows you to save money in the process but also makes good use of items lying around or items that you would have thrown out.  

Choices Aplenty – What Wood to Make Your Wine Server Out Of?

Unless everyone could have a vineyard in Napa Valley, storing wine in the house can seem as daunting as determining the authenticity of a labeled Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. But it’s not very difficult to create small-scale wine servers or storage spaces. By meeting ideal specifications, wine can be stored – and enjoyed – in the comforts of home. All that’s necessary is knowledge of the requirements, and a definite list of preferences.

Whether wine will be stored in a basement, cellar, or on a customized server, the same major considerations are maintained in preserving the quality of wine: humidity, temperature, and position of storage.

Humidity – It is ideal for wines to be kept in a slightly humid atmosphere to ensure that the cork stoppers on the wine bottles do not dry out. If they do, the wine comes into contact with air, oxidizes, and loses its quality and taste. A too-moist atmosphere, on the other hand, may damage the labels on wine bottles, or attract growth of microorganisms within the storage space. That is why wine servers are made of solid wood – it is porous enough to retain moisture, but easy to keep clean, cool, and dry.

Temperature – Ideally, most wines should be stored in slightly cool surroundings – but not refrigerated – and away from direct light, which can heat the wine and alter its quality. It’s not ideal to store wine inside normal dining room furniture such as cupboards or exposed shelves. Cupboards would always be opened to get other items from time to time, and open shelves are exposed to daylight and sudden changes in temperature, depending on the weather. Wine should be kept in an exclusive space like a room or a dedicated solid wood cabinet.

Position of storage – Champagne can be stored upright, but experts recommend storing other wines at a slightly oblique angle instead of upright or down on its side. This orientation of the bottle allows the wine to touch the bottom part of the cork. The cork needs to be moist, so that it would not become dry. At the same time, this position will not displace the air bubble, or ullage, from the top of the liquid, because it helps wine mature and age better. This is not so achievable – nor secure – with flat surfaces or shelves found on usual dining room furniture or household storage spaces. It is best to have a wine server customized to securely store wines at an angled orientation.

Some minor considerations can also be taken into account, like the vibration, or stability, of the wine bottles. It would be advisable to store bottles in tight or secure fittings to limit disturbing the contents, or the risk of the bottles breaking. The security of the wine’s location should also be considered, especially if the wine owner has rare and very expensive varieties of wines in his collection.

With these considerations in mind, the next step is determining how to acquire and set up a wine server at home.

Wine Servers as Solid and Lasting Investments

In the city, there are some local wine cellars that offer to keep customers’ wines at ideal conditions, for a fee. But it’s actually less stressful to just recreate the ideal conditions at home.

Usually, people purchase wines only when they are going to consume them immediately, like for a special occasion or holiday. If this is the case, it is perfectly okay to simply store the wine in the box or packaging it was bought in, and kept in ordinary spaces. Short-term exposure to elements does not have such detrimental effects in wine.

Good wines, however, are investments, and they increase in value and quality over time. If the wine owner wants to preserve a collection of these wines, proper space should be allocated for the bottles.

A cellar, stairwell cupboard, or wardrobe would already be good examples of spaces to store wine. If they are available, the remaining step would be to have racks built from solid wood to position the wine properly.

Wine racks made from other materials, or light wood, are already widely available in home appliance stores. Most of these options are practical, but they are usually ideal only for short-term storage, or for wines which shall be consumed immediately anyway.

If space is a constraint, or if wine is being brought out frequently for entertaining or celebrations, a more practical option would be to install a wine server in the dining room, hall, or kitchen. It can be customized depending on the size of the wine collection.

It is up to the wine owner to decide whether to hire professionals or to personally install a wine storage area. But the quality of wine servers or wine racks depends heavily on the type of wood that will be used for construction. It should be made to last long, resist wear and tear, and be beautiful enough to match the rest of the homeowner’s dining room furniture and furnishings.

Wood Options for Wine Storage

Solid wood is really the best material to build wine servers or wine racks, just like most dining room furniture. They are long-lasting, easy to repair, and their aesthetic never goes out of style. Wood naturally changes color over time, due to natural weathering. It also takes easily to manual “staining” or darkening to achieve a more rustic or vintage appearance.

Solid wood is also more ideal than other materials because it is more resistant to temperature changes. However, it is also prone to natural damages like weathering, organisms, or getting scrapes, cuts, or gouges on its surface. Hardwood would usually be resistant to these agents if it is pre-treated.

Any type of hardwood is ideal for creating a wine server, as long as it is of good quality. It is also important to have the wood treated with a waterproof finish to make it resistant to stains and damage. The choice of wood to use for servers or racks depends on the wine owner’s preferences for color, texture, appearance, and finish, just like choosing any other dining room furniture.

The strength and hardness of the wood will depend on the function and the size of the collection it will hold. For wine racks, it will be sufficient to use sensible and durable wood, but for wine servers, more durable wood types are necessary if it will hold not only wine bottles but wine accessories, all at once. It might also house a heavy cooler if the server will be placed above ground, and shall be prone to warm temperature.

Here are some examples of popular choices for wood material for wine servers. These hardwoods are the types already available in wood stores or specialty shops. They are also types that will be offered by professional cabinetmakers. For discerning wine owners, rare and special wood can be an option, but the priority is really the strength and durability of the solid wood.

Cherry – This reddish-brown hardwood is popular because of its even texture and propensity to look beautiful after “shining” or buffing. Compared to other wood types, cherry greatly changes in color through age and natural sunlight, eventually gaining shades of a deep red-brown coloration.

Oak – Oak is an extremely sturdy and solid type of hardwood. Its variety of Red Oak is the most common choice for dining room furniture and other wood furnishings. It is more durable than other solid wood types, and is more resistant, although not immune, to coloring over time.

Hickory – Hickory is the hardest and most solid type of hardwood easily available in the market. Unlike other types, it naturally comes in varied shades (like medium blonde to brown), with light and dark patches appearing on a single surface. It changes in color substantially.

Walnut – Walnut is slightly uncommon compared to other wood types. It also has a rougher texture compared to other solid wood. It is much darker in color compared to other wood types, and it changes in color slightly through aging.

Hard Maple – Hard maple is a rough wood, and is lighter in texture compared to other types, so it doesn’t take to artificial “staining” or coloration as well as other types. Its natural shade can even grow lighter over time as it ages. But it is very durable and resistant to cuts, gouges, and scrapes.

Soft Maple – The natural coloring of soft maple is irregular. Although it is off-white in color, it usually has a discernible grain pattern on its surface. It is ideal for storage interiors, or else stained with a dark color.

A serious wine collector can enjoy the benefits of a well-built wine rack to display and store their entire collection securely. Individuals who enjoy good times with their friends and relatives can better entertain with strategically located wine servers that can hold not only wine bottles, but also wine accessories like glasses, decanters, cork openers, and other things.

Whichever situation applies, the ideal options can always be determined by doing some research, and by exploring all the choices given to a wine owner. A well built wine rack or wine server can become a beautiful piece of dining room furniture or hallway furnishing. It can last to become an integral part of memorable happenings, and it can be passed down from generation to generation, as an heirloom.