White Wine Basics: Serving and Storage

There are general rules when it comes to storing and serving wine, whether it’s red or white. However, there are also specific rules you need to apply when storing or serving a bottle in order for you to get the most out of your wine’s performance.

White wine for instance, should be served chilled. On the other hand, the red variety can be served at room temperature, but you would want to serve it chilled if you want it to deliver all its aromas and taste good at the same time.

Storing of the Bottle

The optimal storing temperature for white wine is 53°F. Some experts also suggest storing it at a temperature of 58°F for best results. You don’t want to simply store it in your kitchen refrigerator, though, because the vibration caused by the motor of your fridge is an enemy of wine. The best place to store your wine, then, is a wine refrigerator, where you can specify the temperature level just right for your bottles.

For unfinished bottles of white wine, store them in the fridge with the cork or wine stopper tightly inserted. If you plan to keep the wine in for a few weeks, make sure you store the bottle on its side. This will keep the cork moist and prevent air from entering the bottle, a culprit known to significantly affect the quality of your drink.
Serving Glass to Use

Serve your wine in small mouth wine glasses. Unlike red wine, white wine does not need to be aerated so it’s not necessary to serve it in a wine glass with a large opening. In the same manner, always serve white wine in stemmed wine glasses to avoid heating up the drink with your hands.

In terms of pairing white wine with food, there really is no strict rule to follow. This means you can try to experiment as much as you want to find out which food combination satisfies your palate the best. However, there’s a general rule you can use as a guide, and it’s fairly easy to remember: to pair red wine with red meat and white with white, with chicken, turkey, and duck as good examples of white meat that’s perfect for this drink. Depending on the bottle you have, this wine can also pair well with lobster, crabs, shrimp, sausage, steak, pasta, pizza, and most Italian food.

I Love German Wine and Food – A Mosel Riesling

If you are looking for fine German wine and food, consider the Mosel region of central western Germany on the border of Luxembourg. You may find a bargain, and I hope that you’ll have fun on this fact-filled wine education tour in which we review a local white Riesling tasted with several meals and paired with imported cheeses.

The Mosel Valley has long been considered one of the most beautiful river valleys in the world. This region, previously known as Mosel-Saar-Ruwer for its three rivers, is proud of its Riesling wine. Some of the greatest Rieslings in Germany and in fact in the entire world come from the Mosel Valley. Experts can often identify Mosel Rieslings because of the slate in the local soil, which may impart a taste of flint. Mosel vineyard slopes are among the steepest in the wine-producing world, sometimes attaining 70 degrees. The soil is so precious that every spring local workers lug pails of soil up these slopes, reversing temporarily the effect of the rains that wash the soil down every winter.

Mosel is fifth among the thirteen German wine regions with respect to both vineyard acreage and total wine production. Slightly more than three quarters of the wine produced here is QbA and somewhat less than one quarter is higher quality QmP wine. Only one percent is table wine. Over half of of all Mosel wine is Riesling. The German hybrid Müller-Thurgau represents about 20% of the wine production. In third place is the historic variety Elbing that dates back to Roman times and is the major grape variety in the neighboring country of Luxembourg. Only about 2% of Mosel wine is red.

Basically the Mosel Valley runs from Koblenz not far from Germany’s former capital Bonn to the city of Trier that sits very close to the border. These two cities are linked by the Mosel Weinstrasse (Mosel Wine Road) which is about 140 miles (224 kilometers) long on the eastern side of the river and somewhat less on the western side. Of course, you could take the autobahn to get between Koblenz and Trier at breakneck speed. If you do, you’ll miss the interesting little towns and vineyards along the way.

Bernkastel-Kues is a town of about eight thousand that sits astride the Mosel River with Bernkastel on the east bank and Kues on the west bank. Bernkastel is about seven hundred years old but the area itself was first inhabited thousands of years ago. Bernkastel’s medieval town square is lovely with numerous half-timbered houses, some of which were built in the Fifteenth Century. St. Michaelsbrunnen (St. Michael’s Fountain) is right on the square and other historic fountains are nearby. Make sure to see the ruins of Burgruine Landshut (Castle of Landshut) for an excellent view of the city and surrounding vineyards. The first weekend of September marks the annual Weinfest der Mittelmosel (Wine Festival of the Middle Moselle River Valley) that includes a festive procession and a great fireworks display.

Bernkastel is home to the Bernkasteler Doctor vineyard producing one of Germany’s most expensive wines. According to popular legend a Fourteenth Century Archbishop of Trier was too sick to be helped by traditional medicine. He tasted some of the local wine, recovered, and said, “The best doctor grows in this vineyard in Bernkastel.” Due to questionable changes in German wine laws wine bottles labeled Bernkasteler Doctor may now be made by thirteen producers instead of three as previously. Let the buyer beware.

Kues was home to the Fifteenth Century theologian and philosopher Nikolaus Casanus who founded the St.-Nikolaus-Hospital that operates a wine estate and the Mosel-Weinmuseum (Mosel Wine Museum). The museum’s library is open for tours and its wine cellar is open for tastings. Several local winemakers hold Tage der offenen Weinkeller (Open wine cellar days) in which they present and sell their wine in their own wine cellars.

Before reviewing the Mosel wine and imported cheeses that we were lucky enough to purchase at a local wine store and a local Italian food store, here are a few suggestions of what to eat with indigenous wines when touring this beautiful region.
Start with Gaensestopfleher (Foie Gras).
For your second course enjoy Entenbrust an Brombeerjus (Duck Breast in Blackberry Juice).
As a dessert indulge yourself with Schokoladencreme (Chocolate Mousse).

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed

St. Urbans-Hof Riesling Kabinett 2005 8.6% alcohol about $20.00

Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. The 2005 Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett – still manages to show true Kabinett delicacy on the palate, which Weis attributes in part to earlier harvest and frankly in part to this site’s compatibility with higher yields. Skin contact and minimal clarification in the cellar help compensate for any danger of dilution. (Lower-yielding parcels nowadays must result in Spätlese or Auslese.) Pineapple, grapefruit, black currant, and Golden Delicious apple dominate the proceedings, suffused with an aura of smoky, crushed stone, and mouthwatering acidity. This is once again a ‘little’ Mosel archetype and a terrific value … And now for the review.

Before the meal I thought to taste this wine on its own. It was delicately acidic and palate cleansing with light bubbles. Then I started with sweet and sour purchased barbecued chicken wings. The wine was fine with light acidity. Now I was ready to begin, so to speak. My first pairing was with a commercial barbecued chicken leg with the paprika-coated skin, potatoes roasted in chicken fat, and some disappointing pickle slices. The wine’s fruit intensified to meet the chicken’s fat. This Riesling was quite round when dealing with the melt-in-your-mouth potatoes.

The next meal was an omelet with a local Provolone cheese and Turkish salad. The wine was round, thick, and pleasantly sweet. The word feathery came to mind. It sort of floated especially after the Turkish salad. Then I savored a high-quality, chocolate-coated vanilla ice cream bar. The wine retained its acidity; it was almost a good match.

The final meal was more of a snack. I ate some packaged Texas corn fritters with generous dollops of 14% sour cream. The wine was bold, sweet, and pleasantly acidic but frankly wasted on such plebian fare. I did finish the bottle with home made barbecued chicken to which the wine did honor. Even though the barbecue sauce wasn’t sweet the combination was excellent.

The initial cheese pairing was with a Dutch Edam that was nutty, a bit fatty, and somewhat sour. The Riesling’s sweetness seemed to step up a notch and it displayed tingling acidity. It’s been a long time since I enjoyed a wine and cheese pairing this much. Then I went to a mild-tasting Italian Friulano. The wine was acidic with sugar in the background.

Final verdict. This Riesling is a winner. I wouldn’t hesitate to pair it with a top of the line German poultry dish, the kind that you pay big bucks for over there. At 8.9% this is one of the least alcoholic wines that I have tasted in a long, long time. And you know what, I didn’t miss it a bit.

Light, Bright & Sparkling – How To Choose Your Next Bottle Of Wine

Plenty of people are intimidated at the thought of buying wine, because ‘wine is so confusing’. That is not too far from the truth, because the sheer variety of wine can certainly be bewildering. Therefore, most wine buyers, unless they are experts, prefer to stick to tried and tested brands and vintages. However, you can be a little adventurous when you choose your next bottle of wine. Don’t believe us? Here’s how:

First up, trying new wines is not as risky as you think. Sometime ago, the Wine Market Council released data that showed that Merlot, Chardonnay, and White Zinfandel are the most popular wines in the U.S. However, with close to 20,000 different wines available in the country, there’s certainly room for experiment.

So when you choose your next bottle of wine, you could well afford to be a little daring and buy a wine you haven’t tried before. Obviously, price will be a factor, but once you establish your budget, you could try asking the wine store staff to give you some helpful tips about various brands and labels.

Wines, as you probably know, are classified into five broad types depending on their method of vinification: table wines, sparkling wines, dessert wines, aperitiv wines and pop wines. However, unless you’re an expert, and we’re assuming you’re not, you are best advised to classify wines according to taste. Ultimately, you will be the best judge of what tastes good to your palate, so no matter how much anyone recommends a label or a vintage, trust your taste above all else.

Tastes the best

Wines are essentially made up of chemical compounds fairly similar to those occurring naturally in fruits, vegetables, and spices. The taste of a particular wine depends on the grape variety that has gone into its making, but the ‘oak cask’ factor is at work as well – to be explained later.

So a wine may be dry, off dry, fruity, or sweet, depending on the grape variety. To take an example, a wine’s sweetness is determined by the amount of residual sugar it contains post-fermentation, relative to its acidity. Dry wine, for instance, has extremely low residual sugar content.

However, when it comes to flavors, a wine may contain chocolate, vanilla, or coffee flavors, to take only three examples, and all of these come about as a result of ageing the wine in oak casks – hence the oak cask factor. Then again, if you detect a banana flavor, you can attribute it to the presence of particular yeast, and not any grape. Similarly, plenty of people report detecting animal scents in wine, once again attributable to natural yeasts.

Finally, here’s a list of some relatively uncommon brands that you could go for the next time you choose a bottle of wine:

Nebbiolo: A red wine that tastes of leather, tar, stewed prunes, chocolate, liquorices, and roses

Tempranillo: Another red wine that contains vanilla, strawberry and tobacco flavors

Melon de Bourgogne: A white wine with lime, salt, and green apple flavors

Viognier: Yet another white wine that tastes of peach, pear, nutmeg, and apricot

Chenin Blanc: A white wine with wet wool(!), beeswax, honey, apple, and almond flavors

Sangiovese: An earthy red wine that tastes of herbs, black cherry, and leather