A Wine Stimulus Package

Roberto Viernes
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Wednesday - February 25, 2009
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Here are my tips on how you can make your dollars go further and how to save some money to spend on wine as well:

* Forget about buying a wine opener. When I was in France, a colleague of mine and I were stuck with a bottle of wine but no wine key or any other opener. So you know what we did? No, I didn’t break the bottle open with a secret sommelier smack like on Kung Fu theatre. He pulled (more like ripped) off the capsule then took his pen, pushed the cork into the bottle and we poured the wine into our glasses.

You’re probably wondering if the wine tasted like cork. The answer is no. Remember the wine was already touching the cork, and it does not impart any detectable flavor (unless it is faulty or tainted). If the cork does give flavor, then all wines with cork as a closure would taste like cork.

Anyway, this would save you some money, since there are some pretty expensive wine openers out there. Laguiole and the like can cost more than $100 a piece!


* Pass on the decanter. Who needs a decanter when you already have a wineglass? As I’ve stated in the past, you can do the same thing by the glass that you do by the decanter. Decanters can be very expensive, especially the really pretty ones. Use the moolah on the tasty liquid you would be serving from one.

* Buy in bulk. I don’t know of a single wine retailer that doesn’t give a discount when you purchase either six or 12 bottles of wine at one time. And if you find one, let the manager know that they should reconsider not having such a policy. If you’re smart, and I know you are since you’re reading this column, you save your wine buying for when you need to, so get at least six bottles so you can save anywhere from 5 percent to 10 percent on your purchase.

* Buy as a group. If you enjoy wine, I’ll bet you have friends who enjoy wine, too. Maybe you and a few of them can put together a hui for that “special” (read expensive) bottle that you’ve been dying to try. You can’t drink it all by yourself anyway. Then again, I know some people who would. But that would be selfish, now, wouldn’t it?

How to maximize your wine experience:

* Invest in some really good wineglasses. I personally use Riedel glassware at home, and I often bring them with me when I know I’m going to partake of some great wines. If you haven’t already tried wines from these glasses in comparison to what you are currently experiencing with the glasses you have at home, it’s the difference between regular cable and HD! The glasses pay for themselves after just a few uses, as you get the full experience of the wine instead of just a portion of it from “normal” glasses.

* Drink your wines at the right temperature. White wines are generally served too cold and red wines too warm. Even sparkling wines are served way too cold. As a rule of thumb, white wines taste best at 55-60 degrees F and reds between 65 and 70 degrees F. Sparkling wine is not beer and should be served between 50 and 55 degrees F. Try it and you will see that the wine has much more to say and show off. Often people say that the wine opens up after 30 minutes or so. Many times it’s because the wine is actually coming up to the proper serving temperature after being in the fridge.

Tasty wines under $15: 2007 Bodegas Lurton Pinot Gris, Argentina ($9) This has a rock star nose of sweet citrus and Bosc pears. It has a lively palate with zesty citrus and a long finish. 2007 R Winery ‘Little R’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley, Australia ($13) Really dark cherry with oaky spices and a whiff of the herb garden. Rich and velvety, and there is a strawberry note on the clean finish.

Roberto Viernes is a master sommelier. E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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