How to read a wine label and serve wine

With the holidays coming, wine is a must for any household really for any type of celebration.  For the longest time I would steer away from certain wines because I just didn't know what I was buying.  If you tend to have the same avoidance, I do hope this blog post can help you strive to include more wines and wine choices into your holiday atmosphere   Seems easy enough to read a wine label, right?  Well, it could be a little more tricky than you might think. Here's the rundown on the basics.

Cristalino Brut Cava

Reading a wine label, above all very simple, you just have to know what to look for. Here is a quick rundown of what's important on a wine label.

• The brand name: The brand is important enough, but sometimes the least likely known brand might be better than the name brand.

• Where the grapes are grown: It could read Napa Valley, it could read just France or Italy, this is important to knowing where your wine was created from.

• The type of wine: Reading something similar such as Chardonnay, or Cabernet or even Sauvignon. Your taste options and what you like will more than likely depend on this wording on the label, so pay attention to what it is you're drinking.

• Quality: Such as Special Reserve, etc.

• Where the wine was bottled: Now this isn't the same as where the grapes that made the wine were grown, this will read anything from "Bottled in Cellar", "Cellar-ed in California" or even "Bottled by Awesome Wine Guys", etc.

• Amount of Wine: This will be near the bottom of the bottle and read the oz, ml, or even gallons, depending on how much you purchase.

• Alcohol Percentage: This is always near the bottom of the label and it's the alcohol per bottle percentage such as 13.6% by volume and so on.
Most people are prone to serving their White Wines too cold and their Red Wines too hot, and it ends up making the wines taste rather dull in the end.

The best way to remember how to serve white wine is the temperature you stored it at, which should be about 50-55°F, is the best way to get the great flavor to come through on the wine.  If you store your white wine at room temperature, use an ice bucket with a little water in it to get the temperature to come down on the wine before serving it.

The best way to remember how to serve white wine is anything below 70°F.  Anything higher than 70 degrees is too high of a temperature for red wines.  Red wine doesn't taste very appealing hotter than 70 degrees and it loses a lot of taste in the heat of the wine, as well.

Temperatures and Chilling Times:

• Champagne & Sparkling Wines:  40-45°F (Chill for about 30-45 minutes)

• White Wines:  45-50°F (Chill for about 20-30 minutes)

• Light, Fruity Reds:  50-55°F (Chill for about 15-20 minutes)

• Full-bodied Reds:  60-65°F (Chill for about 10 minutes)

Whites out of chilling 30 minutes before serving, reds in 30 minutes before serving.  Some people differ on that time, but anywhere from 15-30 minutes before serving should be just fine.


Eco-Tip:  Choose gifts that don't contribute to the use of virgin materials.  Look to vintage at antique stores or thrift stores.  Who knows, the antique you are giving to a relative or a friend, that you paid $20 for could end up being a real treasure and worth more than you think.  For this and other tips on going green visit, The Earth and Me Go Green.


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