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Do Wives Listen – AKA How to store Wine

March 21st, 2012

I have something shocking to relay to all of the men out there who are in committed loving relationships with women. We are all familiar with the acquiescence nature of their nodding and smiling, as you give them some hard earned bit of knowledge that will in no doubt better their situation in life. They may not be taking us seriously at all. I don’t think they are listening.

Sharing is Caring

I am years telling my wife all about the amazing world of wine and I am generous to a fault when sharing with her all the stories and advice that I feel has enriched my life. Sometimes I would spend hours regaling her with tales from the vines. I thought she was enthralled; now I am beginning to believe that she was secretly listening to her iPod as I pontificated.

When Wine goes Bad

When Wine goes Bad

I came home recently to her proud declaration that the wine in the house was now on display. I wasn’t sure what this meant as I don’t have too much wine in the house at any one time. I tend to move it ‘into position’ on a sideboard ahead of future consumption, so the display part was confusing me.

Don’t put the wine in the Oven

We have a furniture piece on which sits the TV and there is a glass shelf which forms the base on which the TV sits, but there is lots more space on this surface. My wife decided to slide the wines in under the glass and beside the TV, Video, DVD, Sky Box and under a lamp. You would find it tough to pick a worse place to store wines, other than in the oven.

The Cliff House and their Wine cellar

The Cliff House and their Wine cellar

Wine hates fluctuations in temperature. Wives do not listen to husbands. Germany owns Ireland and China owns the USA. These are all facts and one must respect facts, but we don’t necessarily have to like them. We must adapt as these facts start to affect our lives. The wines were moved immediately and the dirtiest of looks given in the direction of the decorator.

That piece of narrative leads us to the point of the article, the correct storage of wines. That wasn’t subtle at all, was it? Wine storage can be broken down into three categories, light, humidity and temperature. All three need to be controlled if you really want to keep those prize bottles. If you plan on opening the bottle before you get it home, this storage problem may not affect you. The statistics on the time between purchase and consumption is startling.

Another fine cellar @ Ballymaloe House

Another fine cellar @ Ballymaloe House

Stay away from the Light Carole Anne

Let us talk of the light. The lighter the wine, the more at risk it is. Wine, if made properly, is an organic, living entity and is sensitive to change, as are we. Light and delicate wines are most at risk, which is why you will often see them in dark bottles. Strong, direct sunlight or incandescent light can adversely react with phenolic compounds in wine and create these potential wine faults. This is why ‘they’ recommend a dark cupboard, as opposed to a window display.

Humility and Humidity

I am a big fan of humility in wines, and in people. If you are as great as you think you are, we will discover it at the appropriate time. This theory applies to both wine and people and has nothing to do with humidity, which is all about moisture in the air. This is needed in order to keep wines with cork enclosures from drying out. If the cork starts to dry out, then it allows oxygen in and this is bad. Incidentally there are mixed views on the optimum level of humidity; but 75% seems like a good enough number.

Some Like it Hot

The big thing that wine does not like while being stored is big changes in temperature. Once again, the more delicate the wine, then the more sensitive it is to change. Your big Barossa Shiraz will fare much better than your German Riesling. Once again there are various figures bandied about regarding optimal storage temperatures. I like 12-13 degrees centigrade myself but you are OK at 15. The key is not to fluctuate too much. Cold is better than hot, but too cold is also bad as the corks expand and that dreaded oxygen gets in.

Wine is stored on its side to keep some contact with the cork and stop it from drying out. So that’s all you need to know on how to store your wine. All you need to do now is call down to Red Nose Wine and start that cellar. TV cabinets are not ideal storage venues, but to be fair to my wife, and her apparent dismissing of years of tutelage, when she asks my opinion on which shoes go with which dress, or when she is asking for my input into important domestic decisions, I don’t always give it 100% focus. I’m usually thinking about wine.

The Nationalist Wine Column is back

The Nationalist Wine Column is back

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“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

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