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Posts Tagged ‘preservation’

Wine Dispensing Best Practices

March 12th, 2013 No comments

WineKeeper’s Magnum 8 Bottle

You found that perfect wine while tasting at a sun-soaked vineyard years ago. You carefully carried a bottle home and placed it in your wine cellar. You monitored the temperature and humidity. You researched and thought about when the right time to open it. Finally, tonight’s the night: it’s time to uncork that bottle and at long last, enjoy the wine inside. But here’s the rub: you don’t want to down the whole precious bottle in one night. How do you enjoy the wine over a few days without losing that taste you’ve worked so hard to build?

Anyone who’s left a bottle out on the counter or in the refrigerator knows that the wine just doesn’t taste quite as good the next night. Can you save your wine without losing taste? The answer is yes: Your just need a wine dispenser.

Wine dispensers are devices designed to preserve wines. They store wines at appropriately cool temperatures, and keep oxygen from coming in contact with the liquid inside the bottle. You’ve probably seen wine dispensers used at restaurants and bars. But wine dispensers are available for home use, too.

One wine dispensing system we recommend is the WineKeeper. WineKeepers work by replacing the oxygen in the open bottle with nitrogen, a gas that doesn’t react with wine. Meanwhile, they hold bottles in a refrigerator specifically calibrated to the right temperature to preserve the wine. To use the system, you uncork the wine, insert the dispenser’s stopper faucet, and plug in the gas. You’re ready to pour a perfect glass.

WineKeeper offers a wide variety of dispensers. If you’re a restaurant or bar owner, you might be interested in something like their 8-bottle model, available in all kind of finishes from oak to stainless steel, and customizable with features like chrome faucets and a door lock. This model has different temperature zones for white and red wines, making it simple to keep each at its correct temperature.

If you’re a home enthusiast, you might be more interested in WineKeeper’s 4-bottle model, called the Napa. Though smaller, this model uses the same nitrogen preservation technology and advanced refrigeration system, and has two separate compartments for wine and red wines.

Whether you need a commercial or personal model, WineKeepers will keep opened bottles of wine fresh for weeks, so that you never waste that second half of the bottle again.

Has My Wine Gone Bad?

June 19th, 2012 No comments

If you’ve been drinking wine for a while, you’ve most likely encountered a bottle that has gone bad somewhere along the line.  Unlike wines that simply taste “less-than-good,” bad bottles taste unbelievably bad!  What causes such ruined wine?  Here are a few factors…

bad wine that tastes like vinegar

Image from northof9finewine.blogspot.com

A Bad Cork: Bad corks are the number one cause of “bad” wine.  If stored improperly (upright instead of on its side, or in an environment without much humidity) a bottle’s cork can become too dry.  It can then crumble, exposing the wine to air prematurely.

Air Exposure: Premature exposure to air (often because of bad corks) makes wine go flat and taste weak.  Any air leak will quickly ruin decent wine.  Some people mistakenly think that re-corking a bottle of opened wine will enable it to be preserved as before.  Unless you’re using a wine preservation system similar to the Winekeeper Vintner 3 Bottle Wine Dispenser System, just popping the cork back on will not preserve your wine; the air remaining in the bottle will wreak havoc on your remaining wine.

Warm Storage: If wine has been stored for a lengthy period in heated conditions (direct sunlight, an uncooled storage area, a steamy car trunk, etc.) It can acquire a rubbery, burnt-like taste.  One telltale sign of a bottle that’s been exposed to heat is a cork that leaks a little bit of wine.  If you’re storing wine at home in your cellar, consider investing in a WhisperKOOL XLT 1600 cellar cooling unit that not only regulates temperature, but also humidity!

Past its Prime: If a wine ages too long after it’s reached its maturity, it will begin to taste like vinegar.  Lots of people mistakenly blame vinegar-tasting wine on something that happened during the production process.  Most of the time, however, that vinegar taste simply indicates the wine was stored way past its prime.

So, if you’re storing wine, make sure it is kept out of direct sunlight, stored on its side in a climate-controlled environment (preferably where moisture is also monitored), and consumed close to the time when it reaches its maturity.  Follow these simple steps, and the amount of bad bottles you open in your home will be minimized. Cheers!

Some Dry Red Wines

June 5th, 2012 No comments

Are you new to the world of wine?  Unsure what wines are considered to be “dry?”  Read on!

Quite simply, dry wines have the greatest alcohol content; their juice ferments until almost all of the grape’s sugar is utilized.  Thus, dry wines contain little residual sugar and are not “sweet.”  What common wines are considered dry?  Here’s a little list for the eager wine student:

Host your own wine tasting event with a WineKeeper 4-Bottle Showcase preservation system.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Pinot Noir (the wine that “goes well with everything”)
  • Merlot
  • Sangiovese
  • Shiraz
  • Tempranillo
  • Red Zinfandel (it’s the White Zinfandel that’s the sweet stuff!)

Keep in mind that some of these wines may taste “fruity,” but do not confuse a wine’s fruitiness with its “sweetness.”  Fruit flavors often naturally balance a wine’s absence of sugar.  Also, don’t confuse a wine’s tannins with how dry it is.  Tannins can give sweet wines a “drier mouth feel,” but their abundance does not make a wine dry.  Remember: it’s all about the sugar!  Curious about how these wines taste?  Why not buy a bottle of each and host a few mini tastings, yourself?  You can easily save any leftover wine with the WineKeeper 4-Bottle Showcase preservation system. Cheers!

Dare to Mix Red and White Wine?

April 10th, 2012 No comments

mixing red and white wineBefore reading further, please understand that wines like rosés are not just mixtures of red and white wines.  They are made by a process similar to red wine, but the skins of the grapes are removed before they fully turn the wine a deep shade of red.  (Read more about the process of making rosé wine in our previous post How to Choose a Great Rosé.) That said, some experimental wine drinkers delight in mixing red and white wines, producing curious concoctions that either intrigue or disgust  (This is the adult equivalent of the way kids mix multiple sodas together at fast food restaurants).  While purists will have no part in such playing, some wine drinkers delight in making their own mock blends of “signature” wines this way.

Is it possible to mix red and white wines to create new blends of your own?  Yes, it is.  Will they be any good?  While there’s no guarantee, if your palate is discriminating enough you may just very well be able to come up with a custom mix that suits your fancy (We can’t speak on behalf of your guests, however!).  And while your blend will not be a real rosé, it may still exhibit an interesting, rosé-like appearance.

How should you go about mixing red and white wines?  If you want your results to be drinkable, follow these simple steps:

  1. Decide on the two wines you want to mix.
  2. Fill a glass halfway with whichever wine has the weaker flavor.
  3. Add half a shot glass full of the stronger wine.
  4. Stir!
  5. Sip, and see what you think.  If the flavor is too weak, repeat to steps 3-5.

If you’re lucky, you may have discovered a personalized blend you’re absolutely crazy about.  Then again, you may have Frankenstein’s monster on your hands!  If so, discard your glass and use a wine preserver like the Napa 4- bottle wine dispenser to keep the unused, untainted portions of your two opened bottles fresh for another time to be enjoyed on their own!  Good luck, and happy mixing!

Featuring: The WineKeeper 3-Bottle Executive

March 15th, 2012 No comments
WineKeeper 3-Bottle Executive

The WineKeeper 3-Bottle Executive

Ever have a really good glass of wine you’d like to savor forever?  If not forever, how about one you’d want to keep around to sip on over the next few weeks?

We’ve all had those magic bottles of wine we wanted to keep around for little tastes, but couldn’t preserve adequately for more than a few days.  With the WineKeeper 3-Bottle Executive, however, the game changes!  Designed to elegantly display three wine bottles, the WineKeeper 3-Bottle Executive keeps your wine chilled, ready to dispense, and well-preserved for weeks!  Now, you can keep that “magic” bottle around to savor!  Available in a modern black or traditional oak finish, the WineKeeper 3-Bottle Executive can easily match your kitchen or wine room decor.  Lightweight (12 lbs.) and easy to move, the WineKeeper 3-Bottle Executive uses easy-to-replace Argon or Nitrogen canisters.  It makes a perfect, portable wine dispenser at parties, as well as at home.  Don’t let that good bottle of wine go to waste!  Keep it fresh and chilled with the WineKeeper 3-Bottle Executive.

Introducing the WhisperKOOL Slimline Cooling System

February 28th, 2012 No comments

Have a wine cellar, but not enough room to install a proper cellar cooling unit?  That’s what some people believe. Avoid a big wine storage mistake in your small cellar by investing in the WhisperKOOL Slimline cooling system; it’s designed to fit in that frequently-unused space above your cellar door!

WhisperKOOL Slimline cooling system fits above your cellar door

The WhisperKOOL Slimline Cooling System

Even if your cellar is small, the WhisperKOOL Slimline’s over-the-door installation makes it a perfect fit.  In fact, the unit is made to cool cellar spaces up to 350 cubic feet.  With its sleek design, the WhisperKOOL Slimline takes up very little space, and the space it does require is an area that typically goes unused!  This cooling unit is also one of the most energy-efficient systems for smaller cellars; it requires less power to operate than most cooling systems (only 3.5 AMPS while running.)

Like other WhisperKOOL series units, the Slimline system uses the same control system, including several monitoring probes and a convenient, digital display.  Weighing just 50 lbs., the unit measures 22’W x 10.25”H x 19”D and has a 30°F temperature differential.  (Not too shabby for a unit designed to go above a cellar door!)  Utilizing WhisperKOOL’s  Advanced System Protection Technology, your cooling unit is designed to have a long life.  In fact, the compressor even comes with a 5-year warranty.

So, if you’re stuck wondering where in your cellar you can fit a quality wine cooling unit, fret no more; the WhisperKOOL Slimline is here to save the day!

Top 5 Wine Storage Mistakes

February 23rd, 2012 No comments

Let’s face it, people make mistakes.  And when it comes to wine storage, a lot of people make innocent mistakes that end up costing them a few (or more!) good bottles of wine.  Here’s how to avoid some common wine storage blunders.

The Top Five Wine Storage Mistakes

Always store wine on its side

The proper way to store wine: on its side! (photo by Jorge Royan)

1. Storing wine upright.  If you store wine with your bottles standing up, the wine does not keep the corks wet, meaning they can dry out, allow excess air inside, and then make the wines taste like vinegar.  It’s easy to buy a case of wine, put it off the the side in the basement (upright) to store later, and forget about it until it’s too late.  Don’t let this happen to you!  Store your wine on its side.

2.  Not controlling temperature.  Gradual changes between the seasons won’t harm wine, but rapid temperature fluctuations–like big, same-day changes–will age wine prematurely.  If your cellar temperatures are all over the map, invest in a WhisperKOOL Extreme 8000ti (a large cellar unit) or another quality wine cooling unit, so your cellar’s temperature stays constant. Read up on proper temperatures for your collection, too.

3. Not controlling humidity.  Corks will shrink if cellars fall below 50% humidity, letting excess air into your bottles (even if they’re properly stored on their sides).  In fact, a humidity level of 70% or 80% is quite good for your wine!  If your cellar is too dry, invest in a humidifier to preserve your precious vino.

4. Sunlight in the cellar.  UV exposure degrades a wine’s organic compounds, making it age too rapidly.

5. Vibration or frequent moves. Keep your wine away from vibrating machinery, and even trucks going by when possible.  Low vibrations can “shake” wine bottles, thus disturbing their sediment and speeding up the aging process.  If using house-shaking, vibrating power tools, its best to use them away from where you store your wine. And don’t move your bottles more than necessary.

By avoiding these errors, you’ll better preserve your wine collection and insure it ages appropriately.  Cheers!

What are Wine Diamonds?

February 21st, 2012 No comments

Ever drink a glass of really good wine and find little crystals at the bottom?  These are “wine diamonds,” not sediment, and they have been helping to preserve your wine!

Potassium hydrogen tartrate is a byproduct of winemaking. In cooking it is known as cream of tartar.

Potassium hydrogen tartrate is a byproduct of winemaking. In cooking, it is known as cream of tartar.

Wine diamonds are, in actuality, potassium bitartrate crystals that sometimes form on a wine bottle’s cork, most often when chilled.  During the winemaking process, itself, they naturally form on the sides of fermentation tanks.  They can be found in both red and white wines, and do not in any way mean that there’s a problem with your wine.  In fact, when present, they help lower the pH, making a hostile environment for many types of bacteria that can spoil wine, helping to preserve wine after fermentation.

The majority of winemakers, however, have gone to great lengths to eliminate these crystals from their bottles.  (Mostly, this is a reaction to complaints about the harmless crystals.)  Very cold stabilization before bottling (usually between 2 or 3 weeks) is a “solution” that brings these tartrate crystals to the fore, allowing them to be easily filtered from the wine which is then warmed back up.

If you do find wine diamonds in your wine, your wine was probably made very naturally, and this is a good thing!  Also note that consuming the crystals will not harm you; these wine tartrate crystals are the very same ingredient in the cream of tartar you used for baking the other day.  They’re also used in a bunch of other foods and nonalcoholic drinks.  It so happens that wineries are the only commercial sources for tartrates, and they often collect and sell wine diamond deposits that form in their tanks.

So, the next time you see a few crystals at the bottom of your wine glass, know that they have occurred naturally, are nontoxic, and that they have helped to preserve your wine.  Cheers!

Recipe: Wine & Lemon Sauce for Chicken

January 5th, 2012 2 comments

Every family seems to have a unique, coveted lemon chicken signature dish.  Perhaps this easy wine and lemon sauce recipe will help liven up your current poultry preparatory practices, or perhaps you’ll be inspired to add additional ingredients to make this sauce truly your own?  Here’s all you’ll need:

Sliced lemons, ready to make a white wine and lemon sauce.

A photograph of lemons by André Karwath

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup white wine (we recommend any good Sauvignon or Fumé Blanc)
  • 2 lemons, or more
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

While your chicken is cooking, mix the flour, pepper, and salt together in a bowl.  Add the olive oil and wine.  Mix well!  Pour the mixture into a small pan, and heat on medium until the sauce reaches a desired thickness.  Next, cut your lemons, and squeeze as much juice from them as possible into the pan.  (You can add more lemons, if desired, and bottled lemon juice will suffice if you’re in a pinch.)  Stir quickly, then remove the pan from heat.  Transfer the sauce into a serving bowl, and top with parsley.  Spoon the sauce over your fully-cooked chicken, and enjoy!  As always, be sure to serve the wine you used to make the sauce with the meal.  If you have wine left over, don’t throw it out; consider using a nitrogen-based wine dispensing system like The Keeper Wine Preservation System to keep it fresh for the next time.  And to bring out the flavor of your Fumé Blanc even more, consider adding one or more of the following ingredients to your sauce: dill, basil, chives, crushed hazelnuts, mustard, or capers.  Mmmmm!

Chardonnay Clam Sauce

October 27th, 2011 No comments

Here’s a simple and delicious clam sauce recipe that’s perfect for pasta, and perfect for the fall.  You’ll need:

Hands holding Littleneck Clams

Littleneck Clams, image from Wikipedia

  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil (Extra Virgin is usually best)
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Fresh, Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 Cup Chardonnay
  • 1 Pinch Salt
  • 1 Pinch Black Pepper
  • 8 to 12 Fresh Clams in Shells (or a can of baby clams)
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh, Chopped Parsley
  • 1/2 Lb. Pasta (I use linguine, cooked as directed on the package)
  • Shaved Asiago Cheese, to Taste
WineKeeper--Napa 4 Bottle

WineKeeper--Napa 4 Bottle

Before cooking your linguine/pasta, steam your fresh clams until their shells open; this is the sign that they’re cooked and ready.  (If using canned clams, there’s no need to steam.)  Prepare your linguine/pasta according to the package’s instructions.  When the pasta is almost finished cooking, combine the butter, olive oil, and garlic in a skillet.  Melt the butter, and saute the garlic for 1 to 2 minutes.  Add your Chardonnay, and pour in a little residual clam juice, if desired (about 1/4 cup from the bottom of your steamed pot of clams, or from the can).  Reduce temperature to low, and cook for 1 minute.  Add clams and parsley, heating them for another minute.  Put the cooked linguine/pasta on a plate, and cover it with this sauce.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper, evenly distributed, then cover with shredded Asiago cheese, according to taste.  Enjoy, and don’t forget to serve the rest of the Chardonnay with the meal!  If you choose to have another wine in its place, don’t waste your Chardonnay; use The Keeper Wine Preservation System, or the Napa 4 bottle WineKeeper dispenser and preserver unit to save the rest for another time.  Enjoy!