If you’re like us, a glass of wine is a MUST after a long week at work. However, we are the first to admit that none of us in the office are wine connoisseurs. As the evenings get warmer and we find ourselves entertaining more, we thought it might be a good idea to ensure that we are being good hosts (and not embarrassing ourselves with some wine faux pas). That’s why we went to the experts at St. Supéry in Napa to get the skinny on how to pour the perfect glass of wine at our next party.
Here’s a look at what they had to say when we met over a glass of wine (naturally!).
1. How long should I decant a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot:
30 minutes – 2 hours (e.g., Bordeaux): Decanting is really a personal preference and isn’t necessary for all red wines. We especially like to decant older, full-bodied reds since sediment (particles) are what you want to remove from the wine. We find that aged wines tend to need less time in a decanter (less than an hour sometimes) since they have a tendency to fade more quickly than younger wines. Younger, strongly tannic red wines typically do well with up to 1-3 hours in a decanter.
If you’re new to decanting, we highly recommend continually tasting your wine in the decanter to keep track of your wine’s development over a few hours. Just keep in mind, once a wine is decanted, it can’t be undone since you’re introducing oxygen to the wine.
2. What’s the best way to save leftover wine?
Save your empty half bottles so you can transfer your leftover wine into a smaller vessel, like a 375 ml, which will help minimize its exposure to oxygen. Always ensure you have a tight seal from either your cork or wine stopper when recorking your wine. Another option is to gas your leftover wine by spraying either nitrogen or argon which blankets the wine’s surface protecting it from oxygen. There are also a variety of different wine saver vacuum pumps that remove the leftover oxygen from your bottle to preserve your wine. (In most instances, not all the air is removed from the bottle.) If you love to cook, I recommend freezing leftover wine in an ice cube tray for making stocks or sauces at a later date. Choose a designated ice cube tray for this purpose as red wine may stain it.
3. What are your favorite foods to serve with red and white wines?
Fuller-bodied California Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux-style blends pair wonderfully with grilled steaks or chops since the firm tannins of the wine soften with protein. Also, consider a nice complementing sauce for the pairing. Lighter, crisp white wines like Sauvignon Blanc typically have beautiful citrus and tropical aromatics with slight herbaceous notes that pair well with seafood, cheeses and are excellent pairings for salads, kale, grilled asparagus or brussel sprouts.
4. How long can an opened bottle stay open without going bad?
It really depends on the wine’s age, grape varietal and where it was grown as well as how you store it after opening. Youthful, strongly tannic red wines typically last longer than lighter reds. In the short term, exposure to oxygen is what brings out wine’s beautiful flavors and aromatics, which is why some wine is decanted. But extended exposure to oxygen deteriorates wine. One way to slow the aging process is via cooler temperatures, like storing your recorked wines in the refrigerator. We recommend trusting your palate. If the wine tastes good to you, enjoy it.
Tips to follow…
– Lighter, crisp white wines and rosé typically last 3 or so days in the refrigerator recorked.
– Full-bodied white wines last 2 or so days in the refrigerator recorked.
– Red wines last 3 or 4 days in a cool, dark room with a cork or stopper.
And a special note for wine lovers in hot climates, we recommend storing recorked red wine in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. When ready to serve, pull the red wine from the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before reserving so it will warm up to the proper temperature of 65-68°F. Sweeter wines like the St Supéry Napa Valley Estate Moscato last up to about a week in the refrigerator.
5. Which glass is appropriate to serve with both white and red wine?
A classic Bordeaux Glass is a great option since it can be very versatile for red and white wine.
6. Which kind of wine should I serve for a large party?
Look for simple, tasty wines that are readily available and that fit your budget. It’s important to offer a white and red since some people only drink white and some only drink red. Whatever wines you decide to choose for a party, sample them before you buy in bulk. Consider the timing of your event or gathering and the temperature outdoors: Choose more white wine options than red wine when it’s warmer weather and vice versa when it’s cooler weather. White Wine Choices: Aromatic, opulent, palate-pleasing whites like St. Supéry Napa Valley Estate Oak-Free Chardonnay or St. Supéry Dollarhide Estate Sauvignon Blanc are very versatile and enjoyable for most white wine drinkers.
Red Wine Choices: A soft, velvety red wine, such as St Supéry Napa Valley Rutherford Estate Vineyard Merlot, has wide appeal with lush fruit aromatics. Versatile to enjoy on its own and also great with food pairings. Full-bodied wines such as St. Supéry Napa Valley Cabernet and Dollarhide Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec are recommended for those guests who enjoy bigger, more structured reds that are also great paired with charcuterie, cheeses, beef, lamb and other hearty main courses.
7. What kind of wine glass should you use when drinking the following wines?
When drinking a Sauvignon Blanc us a long, narrow white wine glass that’s specific for Sauvignon Blanc. For Moscato use white wine or dessert wine glass with a narrow bowl. For a Merlot or Cabernet, a Classic Bordeaux glass is perfect.
8. At what temperature should I serve a Sauvignon Blanc?
Chill your Sauvignon Blanc or your Moscato to an optimal serving temperature of 45-55°F.
9. Can white wine be too cold?
Yes, white wines can be served too cold. Again, serving temperatures for white and red wines are a personal preference. Whites release beautiful fruit aromatics when not overly chilled and show their best anywhere from about 40-55°F (lighter-bodied whites at the colder end of the spectrum, fuller-bodied whites at the warmer end). To put it into perspective, most food refrigerators are around (35-40°F). We recommend pulling your whites out of the refrigerator 5-20 minutes prior to serving depending on a lighter or fuller-bodied white wine.
Thanks to St. Supéry for their insight! If you are in the Napa Valley, please stop by St. Supéry to enjoy their estate wines, participate in an interactive wine experience, learn about our sustainable farming practices in their Vineyard to Glass tour as well as stroll through their fine art gallery.
Photo Credit: Photo by Adza