FAQs

Q?What’s the best way to store my wines?
A.

Store your bottles horizontally.  This ensures the corks are kept in constant contact with the wine, keeping the cork from drying out.  If the cork dries out, it can’t keep the bottle properly sealed; wine could leak out and air could get in.  Invasive air is an arch enemy to proper wine storage.

Visit us or Ask us at Lake Mary Cork&Olive, 1061 S. Sun DR. #1009, Lake Mary Florida             Phone: 407.323.0555.

Need more info talk to our wine guides at Lake Mary Cork&Olive. We will find you the right wine for you and your friends. Our goal is your complete satisfaction. We will stand by your wine and beer needs.

Q?What are the best serving temperatures?
A.

Store your bottles peacefully.  Wine, like people, prefers a stable, moderate environment–not too hot, not too cold, 55 degrees is optimal.  Don’t store your wine in the kitchen near your stove or out in the garage where temperatures will fluctuate dramatically.  If you can, invest in a small wine refrigerator.  However, if space is a factor, find a cool, dark cupboard or closet in a temperature stable place in your home. Heat can kill your wine!

Visit us or Ask us at Lake Mary Cork&Olive, 1061 S. Sun DR. #1009, Lake Mary Florida             Phone: 407.323.0555.

Need more info talk to our wine guides at Lake Mary Cork&Olive. We will find you the right wine for you and your friends. Our goal is your complete satisfaction. We will stand by your wine and beer needs.

Q?When should I decant wine?
A.

Some wines are meant to be enjoyed young; pay attention to which wines should continue to rest and which are ready to uncork.  Tannins act as a preservative, allowing wines to age for several years and, sometimes, decades.  However, many wines have soft or no tannins and are made in a style that is meant to be drunk within a couple of years.  Keep your big, beefy, tannic reds in the back of your closet and keep your early-drinking wines in an easy-to-get-to spot.  You may even wish to use cellar tags that cue you to open wines within a certain timeframe.  It’s ideal to purchase several bottles of the same wine so that you can open them over time, experiencing how the wine evolves as it ages.

Visit us or Ask us at Lake Mary Cork&Olive, 1061 S. Sun DR. #1009, Lake Mary Florida             Phone: 407.323.0555.

Need more info talk to our wine guides at Lake Mary Cork&Olive. We will find you the right wine for you and your friends. Our goal is your complete satisfaction. We will stand by your wine and beer needs.

Q?What is the best glassware for serving wine? Decanting & Glassware?
A.

Decant your wine as needed.  Typically reserved for red wines, ‘opening’ the wine by pouring it into a decanter may be a beneficial step in your serving process.  In the case of aged red wines, there is a careful ritual to decanting in order to avoid pouring out any of the sediment that may have accumulated in the bottle over time. For younger red wines, the exposure to air can really help intensify and develop the aromas.

Simply pulling out the cork and letting the bottle sit for a while won’t do much.  It’s best to pour your wine into a decanter or other clean glass vessel. (Be sure there is no soap residue or moisture in it!)  If you only have a plain glass jar on hand, pour the wine into the jar, swirl it around a bit and pour it back into the bottle for presentation.  This is called “Double Decanting.”

Use the right glassware.  For daily quaffing of easy-drinking table wines, a clean, simple glass with a thin rim will do.  If you’re enjoying a wine with more complexity and depth, then it’s best to use a glass with a nice deep bowl and tapered opening.  The bowl will give you room to swirl and the tapered opening will deliver focused aromas to your nose.  Remember, the wine will develop in your glass more than anywhere else.

Visit us or Ask us at Lake Mary Cork&Olive, 1061 S. Sun DR. #1009, Lake Mary Florida             Phone: 407.323.0555.

Need more info talk to our wine guides at Lake Mary Cork&Olive. We will find you the right wine for you and your friends. Our goal is your complete satisfaction. We will stand by your wine and beer needs.

Q?Are there general guidelines for food and wine pairing? Pairing Food & Wine?
A.

There are no hard and fast rules.  I like to abdicate choice on this topic.  Drink what you want with food that you like.  There are, however, some great winning combinations out there as well as some awful clashes.

A few good guidelines to eat and drink by: Start on the lighter side. Begin your evening of wine drinking with a light-hearted wine and graduate to your heaviest wine at the close of the meal.  It’s hard to appreciate the spectrum of wines if you taste them heaviest to lightest.  Non-vintage Champagne or sparkling wine is a great (and festive) way to start.  If you are serving zesty hors d’oeuvres such as olives or seasoned nuts then Dry Sherry is a classic choice.

Match ‘mouthfeel.’  You never want a wine to overpower your food or your food to overpower your wine; attempt to balance your match.

A lighter dish usually works best with a lighter wine.  A nice, crisp white such as Sauvignon Blanc pairs beautifully with prawns, shrimp, lobster, and crab.  The natural acidity of this wine also balances the fattiness of classic shellfish accompaniments like emulsified cold sauces.

Visit us or Ask us at Lake Mary Cork&Olive, 1061 S. Sun DR. #1009, Lake Mary Florida             Phone: 407.323.0555.

Need more info talk to our wine guides at Lake Mary Cork&Olive. We will find you the right wine for you and your friends. Our goal is your complete satisfaction. We will stand by your wine and beer needs.

Q?Age Wine or Not?
A.

Most people assume that the longer that you keep a wine, the better it will get. So probably the most commonly asked question you hear is, how long do I keep the wine before drinking? (Since its best to store wine under certain conditions, like in a cool damp underground cellar, this is known as “cellaring” wine.)

It is a misconception that you must age wine. The fact is, throughout the world, most wine is drunk “young” (that is relatively soon after it is produced, perhaps 12 to 18 months), even wines that are “better” if aged. While some wines will “mature” and become better over time, others will not and should be drunk immediately, or within a few years. Eventually all wine will “go over the hill,” so even the wines meant to be kept for many, many years should be drunk before its too late.

Wines which are expected to be matured in the bottle before drinking can go over the hill faster if not properly stored. If someone is giving you a very good deal on an old red wine that you would otherwise expect to be great, start to wonder how it was kept! And a famous name on the label is no guarantee whether a wine will age well (sometimes they make mistakes, or the grapes that year (“vintage”) just won’t produce wines suitable for extended aging (“cellaring”).

Tannin is a substance that comes from the seeds, stems and skins of grapes. (For a taste of heavy-duty tannin, try a strong cup of tea.) Additional tannin can come from the wood during barrel aging in the winery. It is an acidic preservative and is important to the long term maturing of wine. Through time, tannin (which has a bitter flavor–“mouth shattering”?) will precipitate out of the wine (becoming sediment in the bottle) and the complexity of the wine’s flavor from fruit, acid and all the myriad other substances that make up the wine’s character will come into greater balance. Generally, it is red wines that are the ones that can (but do not have to be) produced with a fair amount of tannin with an eye towards long term storing and maturation. The bad news is that you shouldn’t drink it young since it will taste too harsh (and probably cost too much, besides). The good news is that (with a little luck) after a number of years, what you get is a prized, complex and balanced wine.

Remember that red wines get their color from the stems and skins of the grape. This gives the wine tannin and aging capacity. White wines may have no contact with the stems and skins and will have little tannin (though some can be added, again, through barrel aging). Therefore most white wines don’t age well. Even the ones which do get better through time will not last nearly as long as their red cousins. A fair average for many “ageable” whites would be about 5 to 7 years (some might go 10). On the other hand, really “ageable” reds can easily be kept for 30 years and longer.

So, how do you figure out how long to keep a wine before drinking it? We’ll get to a summary, but it is just a summary. Check out other sources for the particulars! The Internet provides a wonderful medium through which people who may have the wine you are thinking about drinking might already have done so. They usually are willing to share their opinions. There are several Usenet groups to this end.

Two wineries, side by side, producing the same grapes and the “same” wine. One ages considerably longer than the other. Why? While they are the “same” grapes, perhaps the soil or microclimate (small variations in the local weather due to terrain; what the French call “terroir”) is just a bit different. Maybe the vines are older. The winery may have processed the wines differently (for example, heavy filtering). (In fact, even the size of the bottle matters–a half bottle ages faster than larger bottles.) There are lots of reasons, so general rules are just that–general.

In any event, the red French Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be drunk within days. Its a light, fruity wine.

White wine is the next least aged wine. But here there is a range from a light wine like Sauvignon Blanc or a light Chardonnay, to more ageable “complex” Chardonnay of good White Burgundies. Probably drink the former within a few years (aging isn’t needed, and the latter from 3 to 7 years). Dessert wines like Sauternes or other late harvest wines (Riesling, Gewurztraminer, etc.) should be aged. Sauternes get better over a very long time: 10, 20, 30, 40 or more years!

Then come the reds. While the vast majority of wines produced today can be drunk immediately, a good number of red wines will benefit by SOME aging and some will benefit from a lot of aging. The ones that you open now that taste like road tar may very well be fantastic in 5 or 10 or 20 years. Look to some French Bordeaux (maybe up to 30 years) or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Getting more specific about some red grapes, rules of thumb might be for the very best wines: Cabernet, 10 to 15 years; Merlot, 4 to 7 years for many; Nebbiolo, 10 years or more; Pinot Noir, about 5 years to start.

Some people contend that while California wine won’t “go bad” in the bottle, it doesn’t get any better–unlike French wines that mature (get better) with cellaring. Don’t ask me to explain this controversy as I have had plenty of California wine that seemed to me to be better after aging (but then, I said I wasn’t an expert. On the other hand, I know I like it when I drink it.)

So much for the summary. Didn’t help much, did it? As you learn more and more about wine, you get a feel for which wines are produced to be aged. That doesn’t mean that you still know when it is the best time to drink the wine. You need to check around. Ask fellow wine drinkers (and, any unbiased wine merchant with whom you can establish a relationship). Get a book that gives opinions. Read the magazines. Ask around on the ‘net. These resources have the ability to tell you what happened when they drank the wine. Was it still good, is it starting to go over the hill, is it gone? At least one correspondent tells me that Australian wines seem to mature faster in Australia than in Europe, even if kept at similar temperatures and humidities. Just one more reason why it is best to ask (and taste) about individual wines.

Lucky ones (like wine critics or friends of expansive people with big cellars) can get to be part of “vertical tastings.” A “vintage” is the year in which a wine is produced. Line up a particular wine on a table with a bottle from each vintage, say, 1971 through 1992 and what you get is a “vertical” of that wine. A young wine, designed to age, can taste harsh (from the tannin). As you sample older and older bottles, the wine will mellow. Flavors come into balance. The oldest wines will lose their tannin and their fruitiness and eventually have a flat taste. Somewhere in there is the vintage which tastes the way you like it. That part is up to you, not to the pundits. But their comments can help. There are lots of resources (see Learning About Wine) which can help you get an idea which wines should be drunk when.

When we first started learning about wine, we bought way too much white wine, which somehow we still have. Some of it–which was wonderful when purchased–can now best be described as awful. Since you’ll hear the old cliche that you should cook only with wines you would drink, that wine isn’t even good for cooking. I plan on trying to turn it into vinegar.

Aside: One of the first really “good” wines we had was a 1984 Acacia Winery Lake Chardonnay. We bought a case of it and drank it slowly (like I said, we’ve got a lot of white left over). A few years back we asked the winemaker how it would be. His answer was “never open it . . . just remember the way it was, you’ll be happier.” We’re glad to say he was wrong. As this is being written, that bottle was opened last night (it was 10 years old). Past its prime but still pretty good! So even the winemaker may not always know, either.

When you are just starting out, it probably doesn’t pay to buy many wines for aging (“laying down”). First off, you are going to want to drink some of them, and the ones that are “good” won’t be so good this young, and they’ll cost too much besides. There are plenty of wines that are good now. As you drink these wines, you’ll get an idea of what types of wine you like. With a little learning, you’ll get an idea of the style of wine you want to put away. And you may not make the mistakes we did, besides. (On the other hand, we did manage to get a few wines that did age well and we are just drinking now. So much for rules.)

Don’t forget, how you store the wine will affect how long it lasts as well. Even the size of the bottle will change its life. Getting good advice about particular wine is the only good idea here.

Visit us or Ask us at Lake Mary Cork&Olive, 1061 S. Sun DR. #1009, Lake Mary Florida             Phone: 407.323.0555.

Need more info talk to our wine guides at Lake Mary Cork&Olive. We will find you the right wine for you and your friends. Our goal is your complete satisfaction. We will stand by your wine and beer needs.

Q?What is the ideal temperature to drink wine?
A.

Room temperature. Well, that’s what you always hear. The problem is that, at the very least, it is a bit inaccurate, and at the worst (as demonstrated by a whole lot of restaurants around where I live) you wouldn’t want to drink it at 80 degrees Fahrenheit (“it’s the room temperature, isn’t it?”)

As cool wine warms, vapors rise off the wine. Since your sense of smell is a very big part of what things taste like, getting those vapors into your nose is important. Try drinking a bottle of wine that has been heavily refrigerated. In some ways, it will taste a lot like water, or at least tasteless alcohol. On the other hand, if you serve a little below room temperature, you’ll get the benefit of the vaporizing effect. So one rule of thumb is to serve the wine 1 or 2 degrees below room temperature.

But, there is a limit to the warmth. To some extent, you can use the following hints for: •Best red wines; “big” red wines: 59 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit, 14 to 16 degrees Centigrade. •Lesser reds, rose, and “complex” white wines: 50 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit, 10 to 12 degrees Centigrade. •Less complex white wines: 46 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, 8 to 10 degrees Centigrade. •Sweet white wines, Champagne: 43 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit, 6 to 8 degrees Centigrade.

If the wine is too cold, can you warm it in the microwave? I wouldn’t think so, but one correspondent tells me that he saw (they call this hearsay, don’t they) a notable wine expert do it with an old and expensive bottle, so . . . . Personally, I find that holding the glass with my hands usually gets it warmed up pretty quickly.

Call it scandalous, but I am quick to ask a restaurant to chill a red wine (gasp!) which comes to me way above a proper drinking temperature.

Visit us or Ask us at Lake Mary Cork&Olive, 1061 S. Sun DR. #1009, Lake Mary Florida             Phone: 407.323.0555.

Need more info talk to our wine guides at Lake Mary Cork&Olive. We will find you the right wine for you and your friends. Our goal is your complete satisfaction. We will stand by your wine and beer needs.

Q?What is Phylloxera vastratrix?
A.

Wine has been around for thousands of years, but in 1863, catastrophe struck. French vineyards were infested by Phylloxera.

Phylloxera is a louse that attacks the roots of the grape, causing the leaves to fall off and eventual death of the plant. The bug had come from America where the grapes were resistant to the creature. Phylloxera spread quickly through much of Europe and would have been completely devastating, except that a “cure” was found. It was possible to take Vitis vinifera and “graft” it to American rootstock. The American rootstock was not affected by phylloxera and the grafted grapes were the European variety.Vines being dug up before burning

French grapes grow well in soil rich in lime. Native American grapes don’t (and the wine they make is derogatorily described as “earthy” or “foxy”). American grapes were resistant to Phylloxera, the French grapes were not. Why not create a “hybrid” that has the best qualities of both? (You could grow the grapes from the hybrid, and this is done is some parts of the world, however most the desired variety of European grape onto the hybrid rootstock.)

There are many hybrids, but for California wineries, one particular hybrid rootstock seemed to stand out among all the rest: AxR #1. During the 1960’s, wine grape planting in California took off. (Some farmers in the Napa valley saw their relatively inexpensive land soar to US $50,000 or so an acre. It’s interesting to see the old farmhouses with the shiny new Mercedes parked in front of the homes of the luckier farmers–and no, I don’t think all the Mercedes belong to transplanted doctors and lawyers.) AxR #1 was planted all over the place.

Unfortunately, it turned out that there were at least two types of Phylloxera, known as Biotype A and Biotype B. AxR #1 was resistant to the first, but not the second. Type B is now spreading like crazy throughout the state. While there are other rootstocks to chose from, many producers may not be able to withstand the cost of replanting and will close. (It takes five to seven years for new vines to produce grapes–too long to wait for many.)

The grower makes the decision on what stock to plant, but there are those who have heaped a fair amount of blame on the people at the University of California at Davis (UCD) for supposedly “pushing” AxR #1. It had been known by the French for at least 50 years that AxR #1 was not perfectly resistant. It would fail after 10 or 20 years in the ground. While AxR #1 has many good qualities, whether UCD did not make enough of AxR #1’s shortcomings remains a controversial topic.

Visit us or Ask us at Lake Mary Cork&Olive, 1061 S. Sun DR. #1009, Lake Mary Florida             Phone: 407.323.0555.

Need more info talk to our wine guides at Lake Mary Cork&Olive. We will find you the right wine for you and your friends. Our goal is your complete satisfaction. We will stand by your wine and beer needs.