Wine Tips and Tricks

…and Clever Clues

 

1. Learning About Fruit Flavors in Wine

2. Economical Sipping

3. Red or White with Dinner?

4. Removing Wine Stains

5. More Clever Clues to come…

 

1. Learning About Fruit Flavors in Wine

To discover the fruit flavors in your wine, you’ve got to know what the fruit tastes like. And unless you live in a place I’ve never heard of, you’re just not going to have all the fresh fruits available that are often nuanced in wine. Solution? Jam. Seriously: Go to your supermarket and get some jams. Blackcurrant, plum, black cherry, strawberry and apricot are probably good ones to start with. I even found most of these at my local dollar store, so they only cost me a buck! And it really helps as you learn to taste the different flavors in wine. It’ll be handy at breakfast, too.

2. Economical Sipping

I totally get it. You like wine, but even those $8.00 bottles seem a bit much on the wallet sometimes. Well, this might be an obvious suggestion, but I’ve been amazed at the number of people who’ve never considered this before:

Have you checked out the prices on the big ol’ 1.5 liter bottles at your wine store? (They’re called a “Magnum”) Often, you can find great deals on these, which are twice the amount of a regular bottle of wine and often go for $10.00-$12.00 or so. Some of my favorite red wines can be found at a better price in the Magnum bottles since more and more companies are producing this option. If you store it well, it can keep for several days and keep you and your guests sippin’ in style!

Also, try the wine sales rack at the store–you can sometimes score some good deals and it will give you an opportunity to try a wine that you might not otherwise be able to afford. Or shop online if your state allows shipping.

Finally, if you are having a party and want some tasty wine but can’t afford the cost, check out the box wine section of your store. Yep, you heard me. Just like the Magnum bottles, more and more companies are producing some tasty stuff in boxes. Now, don’t just buy any box wine–some of them really are not so great. But lots of newer versions are coming out with some pretty good vino and you might be able to score something you enjoy in a 750 ml bottle for a fraction of the price. In fact, I received a recommendation for “Black Box” box wine from a very nice antiwinesnob reader just recently. I have not tried it yet, but I’ll be sure to post a review when I do. If you try it, let me know what you think, okay? Just send it to jesse@antiwinesnob.com

If you do decide to buy boxed wine and are concerned about presentation, just empty the wine into some glass decanters or carafes for self-service. I bet your guests won’t know the difference.

Caveat: In an effort to be as non-snobby and open minded as possible about bargain wine, I’ve actually tried some of the wine from those big jugs with screw caps that are often located at the bottom rack of your liquor store. There may be an exception that I’m not aware of, but, generally speaking, unless you want an unpleasant experience followed by a sour stomach, stay away from these!

3. Red or White Wine With Dinner?

So, you’re having a dinner party and you don’t know what kind of wine to serve with your main course.

Well the truth is, nowadays, you can serve whatever type of wine you like with whatever your course may be. The old adage of Red Wine with Red Meats, White Wine with White Meats is a bit passé in today’s society. Still, clichés exist for a reason, and the reason (in very basic terms), is this:

Red Wine: Because of the richer tannins and rolling flavors found in red wine, the flavor and feel of le vin rouge tends to be more overpowering. When eaten with other rich flavors such as a creamy cheddar cheese or a juicy steak, the tannins in the wine actually bind to the proteins in your food, thereby leaving your tongue less susceptible to the astringent, drying sensation that red wine often provides. Additionally, the rich flavors complement nicely with the strong, rich tastes found in your steak or cheese and the two work in harmony together.

White Wine: White wine tends to be crisper, lighter, higher in acidity but much lower in tannins (if any). Because of this, white wine tends to go nicely with milder dishes such as poached seafood or raw oysters. The crisp, light flavors do not overpower the subtle flavors of the food and provide a pleasant, refreshing accompaniment with them.

So which to choose? Really, any you like. While the above paragraphs demonstrate the reason behind the adage, there is no reason why you can’t try a rich, red wine with raw oysters or a crisp Chardonnay with you veal parmesan. In fact, I enjoy matching apparent opposites such as this. The flavors and contrasts are fun to experiment with.

Plus, if you’re like me, sometimes you just prefer a red over a white (or vice versa), no matter what you’re eating.

Bottom line? Red or White is really up to you and it is an acceptable practice in our modern age to drink whichever with whatever foods. In my experience, the folks that speak condescendingly about “You’re supposed to drink red wine with that….” usually don’t know much about wine in the first place and are just spouting out what they’ve heard from everyone else.

So enjoy. And hey, at the bargain wine prices found in my reviews, you can try one of each!

4. Removing Wine Stains

Employ these tactics at your own risk.

So, you’ve had a few friends over and you’re all sitting around the coffee table, having a good time. Someone gets up for another hit of your fabulous fondue and accidentally kicks the bottle of red wine that you put on the floor. Before you know it, it looks as though a homicide has been committed on your white rug and you’re dashing with ninja-like reflexes for the nearest towel.

What to do?

Windex.

I’m serious. This stuff is amazing. After dabbing up the wine as quickly as possible, spray Windex all over the stain and dab again with a clean towel (don’t use anything where the colors in the towel might rub off). Do all of this as quickly as possible and repeat. Chances are, you can minimize the stain or even make it disappear.

Voila! Red stain is banished. Plus, you might have impressed your friends a little.

Two other home remedies I’ve heard of are Oxiclean or salt and water. I’ve not tried either of these, but I have used Oxiclean for other stains and have been pleased with its performance. If you experiment with the salt-and-water remedy, make sure you use room temperature water as hot water can set the proteins in the stain and make it very difficult to remove. Let me know how it turns out, too. (jesse@antiwinesnob.com)

5. More Clever Clues to Come

Keep checking with antiwinesnob!

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