Wine Advice with Jeff

Wine Advice with Jeff

Want some tips and tricks on wine from an expert? Our winemaker Jeff LeBard has got some advice.

Wine Is A Personal Journey: there is no right or wrong wine. Enjoying wine is an intensely personally journey and you are never wrong. Whatever you like is always right. No level of education will change this. Follow your palate and always let it be your guide.

Serving Wine: Serve white wines cooler than you would serve red ones. Do not leave white wine in the fridge or freezer for too long. Red wine should be cool to the touch (just below room temp 63-65 degrees). White wine should slightly chilled (around 55-58 degrees).

Storing Your Wine: If you don’t plan on drinking your wine right away it makes sense to put it in a cellar. The ideal cellar is 56-58 degrees with 60% humidity (same as if you were to dig a cave under the earth). One key to keeping your cellar wines in-tack is maintaining a constant temperature with little to no variations. Do not keep your wine stored in corners of the garage where it gets hot and cold. Even a few degrees of temperature differentiation over a long period of time will make a big difference in how the wine will age, smell and taste. Here at Gainey, we make wines that are good for enjoying closely upon release. If you do plan to save the wine for later, just pay attention and keep the temperature on it constant.  The golden rule is the longer you age it the more stringent you must be with storage conditions. 

Removing The Wax Top: This is a PSA to all of our Evans Ranch wine club members: don’t try to cut the wax off the bottle. Rub the palm of your hand on the wax to heat it up, push straight through it with the cork screw and then use a cantilever opener.

Grapes: If you lined up Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot grapes, they would taste slightly different but you wouldn’t be able to identify them as their respected varietals at that stage. You will not really start to see the dramatic differences and footprints of the wine until primary fermentation is completed. 

The Winemaking Process: It all begins with the yeast eating sugar. That sugar then produces alcohol/carbon dioxide/heat. With red wine, all the solids get pushed to the top during fermentation and we reincorporate them to get the flavor and color from the skins and seeds. If you were to separate the skins and seeds from red wine grape the same way you for white wine fermentation (immediately after picking the grapes), you would end up with something more akin to a rose. All the red color exists in the skin, as do most of the tannins and other chemistry that make a red wine. Think of it like steeping tea: the longer the skin and seeds ferment, the more color and flavor you’ll get in the wine.

Sulfites in wine:  Contrary to popular anecdotal belief, sulfites are rarely the culprit behind reactions most people have to red wines.  The most common complaint is that sulfites cause headaches or shortness of breath.  The truth actually is that sulfites account for less than 1% of all adverse reactions to red wines.  A small percentage of the people that suffer from asthma makeup this 1%.  Remember just because you have asthma doesn’t mean you will have adverse reactions to wine. The more common culprit is histamines. Histamines are a natural biproduct of the fermentation process.  While red and white wines generally contain about the same amount of sulfites. However, red wine can contain up to 200% more histamines than white wines!  If you want to put this to the test ask your doctor which antihistamine would be safe to take before drinking red wine.  You may be surprised that sulfites were never the culprit at all!  Tannins have also been known to cause headaches or other moderate symptoms of dehydration.  Water and moderation are the keys to not feeling poorly after a day of indulging in any alcoholic delights!    

 

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