Ask the Expert


    > Should you ever chill red wine?

    Yes, room temperature was set years ago in England at about 65 degrees. Feel free to chill a red but just down to about that temperature. Any cooler than that and it will inhibit some of the flavor of the wine.

    > How long do red wines need to be decanted before serving?

    As a general rule, I would use your nose and sense of taste to see when it is ready or drinking. Every wine has a different amount of time that it will need to rest before drinking. A minimum time might be 30 to 60 minutes.

    > How long can I keep an open bottle of wine for?

    Wine is best when drank the same day it is opened. We really try to drink the bottle of wine the same day. However, there are ways to preserve wine for a few days. After being open for a few days, it is best to use the remainder of the wine as cooking wine.

    > How can I tell if my wine is faulty?

    Generally, the bouquet or clarity will be off. For example, when wine has been opened you smell a musty cork scent or a total lack of fruit aroma, this is cork taint, a bacteria in the cork that spoils the wine.

    > Why are white wines served cooler than reds?

    White wines are generally served cooler than reds to help balance acidity and fruit flavors. Reds tend to open up and have a more full flavor at room temperature. Whites will have a crisp, clean flavor when served chilled.

    > What is the etiquette when friends bring a bottle for dinner?

    Should we serve it, or are we supposed to keep it for later? This is how friends contribute to the evening dinner, by all means, drink it. However, if it is a young wine that can be aged or a wine that doesn’t go well with the planned dinner, feel free to save it for a later date. Of course, invite your friends back to drink it!

    > What’s the difference between Champagne and sparkling wine?

    Champagne is made in Champagne, France. Sparkling wine is what is made everywhere else. Essentially, sparkling wine is the same as Champagne.

    > What is a good after-dinner wine?

    Generally, a sweeter wine such as port, ice wine, sauternes make wonderful after-dinner wines.

    > If I were to have one variety on hand for impromptu holiday get-togethers, what would you recommend?

    I would recommend a nice Merlot. For a white wine, I would have a Chardonnay. These two wines go well with a broad range of holiday foods.