Thursday, November 10, 2005

Look it up, drink it down, preserve what's left

Wine can be one the most enjoyable and memorable elements of entertaining---or one of the most confusing and costly. A few simple and relatively inexpensive items can tip the balance towards the former, whether you are serving wine at a simple dinner or a big wine-tasting party. Here are my entertaining must-haves for Taste Everything Once's Come and Entertain MeMe event.

Looking it up
The label on a bottle of wine can lead to many questions: What is Aglianico? Where exactly is Languedoc-Roussillon? Why does this German label have as many words as a short novel? Although answering is not essential to enjoying the wine, answers can help you find new wines on your own or help you interact with staff at wine shops. Therefore, a first-rate wine guide like Williams-Sonoma Wine Guide, The New Wine Lover's Companion or The Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia is one of the critical components of my entertaining collection.

Drinking it down
Those intricate cut-crystal wine glasses you received as a wedding gift may be a thing of beauty, but might have several attributes that prevent the best in a wine from being revealed. Many have unusual shapes, thick rims, tint, or too much mass. Experts suggest that your wine glasses should have the following attributes to increase your wine-drinking enjoyment:
  • A stem allows the glass to be easily rotated to aerate the wine.
  • Clear glass allows the best evaluation of color.
  • The glass narrows near the rim to collect volatile compounds inside the glass for your enjoyment. The narrowing also helps keep the wine in the glass when you swirl it around.
  • Thin glass is less obtrusive.
The Williams-Sonoma Burgundy or Bordeaux probably meet all of the above requirements. However, I prefer basic stemware from Sur La Table. The Stoelzle-Oberglas Red Wine Glasses, and the Stoelzle-Oberglas White Wine Glasses possess all of the key features and are relatively high quality.

Preserve What's Left
Sometimes a bottle makes it through a party without being emptied. It's an unlikely scenario, but not impossible. A preservation tool like Vacu Vin (from Sur La Table) can prevent the wine from degrading before you are ready to finish it off.


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3 comments:

Jennifer said...

Leftover wine? I've never heard of such a thing!

Thanks for helping with such great advice.

golliwog said...

i continue to be amazed at the depth and meticulousness of your writing!

Hassan said...

When finished reading this you must visit www.masalalook.com to watch the reality of this theory... Thanx....