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Opening a wine bottle

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If a wine has been stored in the fridge or cellar, it should be brought out of the cold for approximately an hour (depending on the ambient temperature) before opening. If any type of wine is too cold, the aromatics and flavors will be masked. However a wine that is too warm will give an exaggerated perception of alcohol as it evaporates off the surface of the wine. Of course, some people simply prefer their beverages to be cold, and would not enjoy the wine as much if it were served at its “ideal” temperature. Experiment with different service temperatures to see how you prefer the wine. Most wines can be opened and fully appreciated at the moment it will be drunk. Some wines do benefit with aeration. For coarser, tannic, hearty wines, an hour to two hours is ideal. For an old vintage, which has seen over 10 years of cellaring, it would be beneficial to aerate the wine up to 8 hours prior to service in order for the full bouquet to ‘wake up’ and express itself. This applies to aged red wines and aged white dessert wines like Sauternes. Contrary to popular belief, simply opening a bottle and letting it stand prior to consumption does not let the wine ‘breathe’. In order to truly aerate the wine it must be poured into glasses or a decanter so as to maximize the surface area for the wine to interact with the air. Studies have shown that pouring wine in a glass and waiting 2 minutes before drinking it is more beneficial to the wine than opening it 24 hours in advance.

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