Wine Facts [Part 4]

How long will wine last in a bottle that’s been opened?  What does “toast” have to do with wine?  How many wineries are there in the United States?  These and many other questions about wine will be answered here.

 

Wine Facts – Leftover WineLEFTOVER WINE

There is no specific length of time of how long wines will keep once they’re opened.  Of course, for the wines in my house, once the bottle is opened, the wines keep as long as they are still in the bottle… which may not be all that long.  But the real answer is very subjective, as each wine (and drinker) is very different.  Generally speaking, dry white wines have the shortest life once opened.  They can lose their character after one or two days, especially inexpensively made, New World whites.  For reds, most start to go after two days.  There are always exceptions.  Sweet wines, such as ice wine, port and sherry, last a lot longer because of their higher sugar and/or alcohol content, both of which behave as a preservative.  Most ice wines last up to three or four days; ports can be fine anywhere from one to four weeks, depending on the quality.  Opened wine bottles can be given squirts of liquid nitrogen from spray cans sold in wine shops (like “Wine Preserver”) to help extend the “life” of the leftover wine.  Another option is to pour the left over wine into a clean, empty half size bottle and cork it.  This minimizes the amount of oxygen that comes into contact with the wine.

We’ve all had to deal with leftover wine and it’s always nice to learn new ways to save it. Check out our Wine Ponder exclusive article about ways to preserve your wine and make it last longer, plus some useful ideas for your leftover wine: What To Do With Leftover Wine.

 

Wine Facts – Toasted HeadGETTING TOASTED

The term “Toasted Head” refers to part of the wine barrel making process.  Inside the barrels, the wood is “toasted” by fire to a degree of light, medium or heavy – choices for the winemaker for their specific wine.  The ends of the barrels, or “heads”, can be “toasted” for additional flavor if preferred.
Fun Fact:  The name “Toasted Head” is also a brand of wine produced by RH Phillips as well as a rock band from Southern California.

Watch a fascinating 2 minute video of a French oak barrel being put together by hand and toasted in a “tonnellerie” (barrel making facility) near the Cognac region.

 

Wine Facts – Wine PairingWHAT A PAIR

There are no fast & easy rules when choosing wines to go with your meal, and the rules that do exist aren’t necessarily always right (Related article: “Wine Pairing Is Fun!“).  The one rule that often comes around is “Red with gristle, white with everything else”.  For example, drinking red wine with rich blue cheeses can give you an awful taste.  In reality, cheese can dampen the flavor of wine.  When selecting wine with dinner, consider white wine (if you do drink white).  It goes well with a lot more food.  The only foods that truly go well with big red wines are cuts of meat like a leg of lamb or beef rib eye.  If you prefer reds to whites, consider lighter varietals such as Pinot Noir and Sangiovese.  Of course, I happen to love a Zinfandel with spicy food or even pizza.

 

Wine Facts – DecanterD-SOONER DECANTER D-WINE BE MORE BETTER

Not all wines need to be decanted.  Even those with decanting obsessions admit that there are some wines that aren’t made for that.  Pinot Noir isn’t usually decanted because of its subtle aromas can dissipate rather quickly. The same goes for some whites such as Rieslings and Sauvignon Blanc.  They can actually lose their refreshing crispness.  Other wines are right on the border and depend on what style of wine you like.  Full-bodied whites, such as oaky Chardonnays and some sweet wines, may benefit from decanting.

 

Wine Facts – BalanceBALANCE MAKES PERFECT

Structure refers to the balance among the flavor, acidity, alcohol and tannin in wine. If any one of these elements dominates, then the wine is not well structured.  When these components are balanced with each other, the wine has good structure.  It should age well for years as each element develops in proportion and bonds together with the others.
NOTE: Tannin in white wines, especially ones that aren’t aged in oak, is less a factor in the balance of a wine.

 

Wine Facts – Growing IndustryA GROWING INDUSTRY

According to recent stats, there are more than 6000 wineries in the United States. The number of wineries continues to grow in all fifty states at a collective annual rate of 5%.  There are approximately 2000 wineries in California.

 

 

Did you miss the previous wine facts? Check out part 1part 2part 3 and part 5.

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