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Drinking Wine

How should wine be stored? At what temperature? How should it be tasted? Why should it be smelt? What are the health benefits of drinking wine? Read on and find out.

Smelling wine

Even the most inexperienced of wine drinkers knows that wine needs to be smelt in order to fully experience its flavour. Wine is always served in glasses with wide rims so its aroma can rise. Before sipping wine, pour a little in your glass and swirl it gently. Swirling releases the molecules in the wine that give it its aroma. The aroma rises to the top. Inhale while taking a sip. Often, the aroma itself can tell you if the wine is okay to drink or if it has gone bad. If it has gone bad and has a harsh, bitter and vinegary flavour, call for another bottle.

If you have not been brought up in a wine drinking culture you may have trouble telling good wine from bad wine. You will first need to gain some drinking experience! Start by experimenting with various types of wine. Order wine by the glass the next time you eat out, and ask the waiter to recommend something. Order a different wine each time, so you can figure out what you like. Buy wines that are around 3-5 years old. Very young wines will need to be stored a little before drinking.

Serving wine

Although there is no fixed temperature for serving wine, white wine is best served a little cold while red wine should be served a few degrees below room temperature. When wine is served below room temperature, vapours are created and the aroma rises to the surface, giving you a much better wine tasting experience. Wine should rarely be served at room temperature, especially if you are in a warm climate, as it can taste flat.

To cool a bottle of wine, place it in the fridge a few minutes before serving. What if your wine is too cold? Although you can heat it up in the microwave, it's best not to. Nothing heats a glass of wine quite as well as body heat. Hold the glass between your palms and the wine will heat up gradually.

Storing wine

Wine should be stored in a dark place with a stable, relatively cool temperature, and with around 60 percent humidity. If you are careful about where you store wines, you can store them for multiple years and they will improve in age. Certain red wines can be stored for as long as 30 years, while others should not be store for more than 7 to 10 years. Most white and red wines can be stored for 5 to 7 years from the year of production.

Although it is best to finish off a bottle of wine at one sitting, this does not always happen. So what do you do wine left over in a bottle? An opened bottle of wine should always be refrigerated or the flavouring will get ruined. Essentially, when a wine bottle is opened, it starts ageing rapidly. Although certain wines can handle this rapid ageing process, most just start going 'bad'. Don't worry about the wine going 'bad' in the sense of it being unsafe to drink. Wine doesn't go bad, but it can start tasting pretty terrible. Refrigerating wine arrests the ageing process, so the wine tastes just as good three days later as it did when the bottle was first opened. Finish off the remaining wine within 2 to 3 days.

Benefits of drinking wine

There are certain benefits associated with drinking wine. According to research, red wine is good for the heart. Both red and white wine have antioxidants, and recent research has shown that those who drink white wine on a regular basis have stronger hearts. However, other research has also pointed out that drinking around 2 glasses of wine a day could cause more harm than good. 5 glasses of wine a week seems to be about right, for optimum health benefits.

If you are trying to lose weight, it is best to steer clear of all wine, since wines are packed with sugar. However, red wines, with the exception of Port, tend to be drier than white wines, and are a better option if you are on a diet. Allow yourself wine very occasionally.

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