Often speaking on wine education, impromptu and planned, I realize that for someone that espouses to write for beginners, I haven’t done much on that score…lately. So, prompted by a couple of questions in the last week – “Which wine will make my wife want to have sex with me?” being the most explosive – here goes:
- Red wine usually has more alcohol than white wine does, so for that wife you plan to bed, serve her wine 30-60 minutes before.
- When at a tasting, spit (aka expectorate) or dump wines you don’t like. Please. That’s what the pour out bucket at the winery bar is for. And linger over the wines you like.
- Cocktails have a lot more alcohol, and sugar, than wine. Be mindful. If you love the taste of a Cosmopolitan, and want to be able to drive, buy the handy dandy canned ones – there is less alcohol in them. And, of course, you can have your cans at home.
- Water for wine. For every glass of wine have a glass of water to avoid getting ill later. If I am at my home, or a private party where I’m not just tasting to rate wines, I may take a Pepcid AC before I drink. It’s like a get-out-of-jail free card…I won’t get sick…and I won’t be driving.
- Food absorbs alcohol so go for that party plate of cheese and crackers, and sit for awhile, before heading home. Of course eating while drinking helps too.
- DUIs aren’t worth it. You can buy a BAC- Breath Alcohol Concentration to keep in your car. I have a very good pal that blows into his and then decides whether to drive, call a Taxi or go for a walk.
- White food (fish) pair with white wine. Red food (steak) pairs with red wine. But if white food has red sauce, such as BBQ shrimp, experiment with a spicier red wine. Salty foods with sweet wine is one of my favorite desserts: Stilton Blue cheese and a dessert wine is so much better at the end of a meal to me than a big old hunk of cheesecake and coffee.
- Smell your wine, take a minute to swirl it and smell it again. Taste your wine, think about it and then taste it again. Those wine descriptors are there for everyone…just take the time. And of help would be to smell mushrooms, black pepper verses white and jasmine. If you haven’t taken the time, you will miss it.
- If you are used to drinking hard liquor wine may kick your butt, and vice versa. Be mindful. Whatever we aren’t used to will hit us harder.
- French wine labels are difficult to read, flip to the back, they are making wines for us more than ever so varietals, such as Cabernet or Merlot may be listed on the back of a Bordeaux.
- Try Chilean Carmeneres (like a Cabernet), Australian Shiraz (Over a CA Zin), New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (over a CA Sauvignon Blanc)…because they are not only tasty, they can sometimes be found for less. A Napa Cab is over $100 because we are paying for real estate.
- A browner-colored wine may be older than a purple-colored wine, but it doesn’t mean it’s gone bad.
- For dessert, when I’m asked, I opt to skip regular fare and go for a Stilton blue cheese and a dessert wine. Just a half bottle of wine will be enough for 6-12 guests to have a splash. And just wait and see how that blue cheese changes.
- Hot climates (Australia) produce fuller wines, cold climates (Germany) lighter.
- Vodka is a very neutral tasting liquor – be careful when ordering any vodka based martini with mixers and/or juice. You will get drunker – faster – then expected.
- An “ice bath” will chill your red faster than refrigeration or putting it in the freezer. Put your bottle in an ice bucket, surround it with ice, pour in water, and then wait 20 minutes.