Sacramento, California, where I live, is surrounded by wine country – Amador, El Dorado Hills, Clarksburg. To gain a better appreciation of the fabulous wines that are made in the area, I recently took a series of wine tasting classes at The Wine School aboard the Delta King in Old Sacramento, taught by G.M. “Pooch” Pucilowski, Wine Editor for Sacramento Magazine, and the guy in charge of all of the judging of wines at the California State Fair wine competition. The purpose of this prelude is so that when I get completely skewered for suggesting the following, that you know that I didn’t just make them up out of thin air. These are just a few of the tips that our wine expert Pooch recommended. And, if you are about to completely dismiss them as absurd or utterly sacrilegious, I ask that you first give them a try.
Tip #1: The Microwave
Red wine should not be consumed cold, but between 60° to 65°F. It just tastes better that way. But if you open a bottle of red wine and don’t finish it, the best thing to do is to pop the cork back on and put it in the refrigerator, where it can keep for a couple of weeks. When you pull the wine out to drink it later, you can leave it on the counter to slowly come to temperature. Or, you can pour a glass, put it in the microwave, and zap it a few seconds until it warms up a little. Every microwave is different, and depending on how much wine is in the glass, the number of seconds will vary. I suggest starting with 5 seconds and adding 3 second increments until you get there.
Tip #2: Shake that Bouteille
Red wine often needs to come in contact with some air to reduce some of its sharpness. Usually this is accomplished by pouring the wine into a decanter. If you’re drinking a young wine that is just too rough, you can also accomplish the same oxygenation by pouring out 1/2 glass of wine from the bottle, putting the cork back in part way, and shaking the heck out of the bottle. Obviously, you’re not going to do this with a well aged wine that may have some sediment. But if it is a young wine, sediment shouldn’t be a problem, and it’s the young wines that typically need this air.
Bonus Tip: Wine Ice-cubes
How do you keep your glass of white wine cool on a hot summer day? If you know what wine you will be drinking in advance, you can use an ice cube tray to freeze some of the wine into wine-cubes. Just add them to your glass of wine.