Wine is a perfect friendship: It's supportive, flexible, understanding, smells good, and doesn't interrupt when you tell it about your rough day -- but only if you take care of it.
Here are the worst mistakes you're probably making in this relationship, along with tips for how to fix them and give your wine the respect it deserves:
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Most people think white wines belong in the fridge, but the ideal temperature for all wines (red, white, orange, pink) is actually between 45- and 65-degrees
, much warmer than your refrigerator stays.
According to Wine Spectator, keeping it in the fridge is fine for a few months
, but the lack of moisture in there has a tendency to dry out the cork, which can let air (wine's notorious frenemy) sneak in and oxidize the wine, flattening out its flavors
and making it taste like vinegar.
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Most people, especially if you're short on space, tend to keep your wine rack on the counter, probably near the oven. This is bad, because that's one of the hottest places in the kitchen.
When a wine is "cooked," or "maderized
" (especially a red wine), reaching 77- to 80-degrees, its flavor changes and will end up tasting like sweet vinegar.
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Because the kitchen tends to be the warmest place in the house
, it's best to keep your wine in a cooler, drier place: an actual wine cooler, your closet
, or if you have one, a basement.
Also bad: your boiler room, laundry room and (we don't even know why you'd do this but) your bathroom, all for the same reasons.
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Light, especially UV light, is a wine-killer. The sun can prematurely age the wine, which is why a lot of wine is in dark bottles (think sunglasses for wine
, Wine Spectator says). Because of this, don't ever buy wine that you see in a store's window.
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Once it's open, your wine typically only stays drinkable for one to two days
(if it's an older wine) or possibly two weeks in the fridge (for younger wines), before it becomes so oxidized that it tastes like vinegar.
If you're not going to finish the bottle within the week, your task is choosing the lesser of the evils: Your fridge will typically keep it drinkable longer.
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Wine is a lot easier to recork with the skinnier side, but Wine Enthusiast recommends shoving it back in with the wine-stained side
, the idea being that there's no telling what has come in contact with that skinny side when it was first in the bottle.
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There's a certain trick when pouring wine to keep it from dribbling from the bottle all over the table: "Just before pulling the bottle away [from the glass], give it a quick quarter turn with your wrist
, then tilt it back toward the upright position to prevent dripping," Tasting Table recommends.
Keep a napkin around the neck of the bottle to catch any stray drips.