Enjoying wine is an art unto itself. But that doesn’t mean that the process needs to be obscure or intimidating. From decantation to the right serving temperature, here are five easy tips to make your red wine taste better.
What Is Red Wine?
Red wine is a complex alcoholic beverage made with the fermented juice of crushed grapes. The characteristic appearance of red wine comes from the production process. Unlike white wine, red wine undergoes a slightly lengthier maceration period where the skins and seeds of the grapes are kept in contact with the juice for an extended period of time.
In addition to being responsible for the color of red wine, this process also gives red wines an alcohol content that is usually higher compared to other types of wine.
5 Tips To Make Your Red Wine Taste Better
Ok, you’ve bought a bottle of enticing red wine and are ready to enjoy it. Don’t uncork the bottle just yet! First, read these ideas to take your experience to the next level.
1. Decant Your Wine (and Choose the Right Decanter)
Decanting red wine before drinking it is one of the simplest ways of improving your tasting experience. And yet, this step is often overlooked even by seasoned wine aficionados. Decanting wine helps to separate the solid residues (or sediment) from the liquid. Additionally, decantation exposes wine to oxygen, a process known as “aeration.” All these factors combined contribute to enhancing the taste, aroma and structure of red wine.
If you don’t know how to decant wine, don’t worry. Here’s a quick guide to wine decantation:
- Let your bottle sit upright for at least 24 hours before decanting
- Choose the right decanter (as a general rule, decanters with a wide base are better suited for full-bodied red wines, medium-sized decanters are the best option for medium-bodied wines, and small-to-medium decanters are for light-bodied red wines)
- Open the bottle
- Pour the wine into the decanter making sure to keep the bottom of the bottle low to avoid disturbing the sediment
- Let the wine sit in the decanter for at least 30 minutes
- Serve the wine from the decanter
And if you don’t have a decanter on hand, don’t worry. As we’ll see in the next sections, there are other ways of aerating wine.
2. Aerate Wine
As we saw earlier, exposure to oxygen enhances the flavor and complexity of wine. This occurs thanks to a series of chemical reactions that involve some of the compounds found in wine such as esters, terpenes, and tannins. The result is a more enjoyable experience that unlocks the full profile of wine. Here are your main alternatives for wine aeration:
- Use a decanter (see previous section)
- Swirl the wine. When there’s no decanter around, simply swirling the wine in the glass helps enjoy some of the benefits or aeration.
- A wine aerator is a device designed to speed up the interaction between wine and oxygen. Some wine aerators are handheld, while others are to be fitted onto the bottle.
3. Choose the Right Glass
The type of glass you choose can be the difference between good and great when it comes to wine tasting. The ideal red wine glass lets the wine “breathe” while concentrating the aromas of the wine and directing them toward your mouth and nose. From the thickness of a wine glass to its shape, you must pay attention to every detail in order to experience wine at its fullest. Here’s what you need to look for:
- A large bowl (the bowl is the part of the glass that holds the wine)
- A narrow rim (the part of the glass where wine flows from the glass to your mouth)
- Glass at the rim must be thin
- Although it’s not indispensable, experts advise using hand-blown wine glasses when possible
4. Serve Wine at the Right Temperature
Temperature is another variable you should consider when serving red wine. If the temperature is too high, the alcoholic sensation is accentuated, which can be unpleasant. However, when temperature goes below a certain threshold, some flavors are masked, detracting from your tasting experience. As a general rule, fruity red wines are best served at a temperature of about 57-65°F (14-16°C) while the ideal for medium-bodied red wines is between 60.8-64°F (16-18°C).
5. Pair Wine With the Right Food
Although some surveys suggest that as many as 60% of Americans prefer to drink wine without a meal or appetizers, certain foods can heighten the flavors of red wine, bringing out qualities that would otherwise go almost unnoticed. Here’s a quick guide to the foods that go best with the different types of red wines:
- Best pairings for full-bodied red wines. Roast beef, strong-flavored cheeses, spicy food, grilled or barbecued meats.
- Best pairings for medium-bodied red wine. Lightly spiced meats, pasta, fish, duck, barbecued chicken, medium-bodied cheeses
- Best pairings for light-bodied red wines. Pork, poultry, pecans, peanuts, mushrooms, light-bodied cheese.
Want To Learn More About Wine? Winenow! Is The Place To Be
Wine Now! is a space dedicated to the enjoyment and appreciation of wines from all around the world. We are located in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Contact us today to learn more about our philosophy and our mission.