Most of the wine one purchases is drunk at home, so it is important to
feel comfortable with the use of wine, a subject that can be so
This is my unsophisticated guide to enjoying wine at home.
Buy wine in a supermarket where the wines are kept well and there is a
quick turnover. If you need advice, a specialist wine shop is a better
place to buy. Remember, these days there are wonderful wines that cost
less than NIS 40. You do not have to buy expensively to drink well.
However, the cheapest wine is never the best bargain.
costs (label, capsule, cork, bottle) are roughly the same. So the
difference between a bottle that costs NIS 20 and one for NIS 40 is the
Remember where and who you are.
automatically go for the import. Just because it is Chateau Something
from France doesn’t mean it is better than the equivalent Israeli wine.
wine is a food product that will deteriorate if left in the wrong
conditions. so avoid direct sunlight or direct heat on the bottles from
any appliances. lay the bottle down so the cork stays moist. if you
don’t have a wine rack, then a wine carton makes a perfect rack. you can
find an empty one at your local supermarket.
lay the bottle-filled carton on its side or place it upright with the bottles of wine upside down.
open a bottle of wine, use a bottle opener you can work with. There are
all sorts of contraptions, and there is no shame in using the one that
works for you.
Wines with synthetic corks and screw caps are
okay. Many quality wineries use these for good wines, so don’t consider
it less of a wine just because it has a screw cap.
The labels on the backs of wine bottles explain the various degrees at
which the wines should be served. However, this is too much information.
No one knows the difference between 12º or 14º or 6º and 8º, so let’s
not be pretentious. Who has thermometers to check wine temperatures,
anyway? Instead, put your hand on the bottle and you’ll know
instinctively if is very cold, cold, chilled or at room temperature.
all sparkling, sweet or inexpensive white wines should be served very
cold. If that means putting a bottle in the freezer, so be it. Just
don’t forget it! Most better quality white wines should be cold, and
light red wines should be chilled.
Actually, in the Israeli
climate and with our high alcohol contents, I put all my reds in a
domestic fridge for 20 minutes before serving, even the expensive ones –
or, rather, especially the expensive ones. So much for wine snobbery!
It comes out slightly chilled, not too cold, and will warm up in the
Serving Everyone asks if they should open a bottle to let
it breathe. In truth, this is a waste of time because the only part of
the wine that is exposed to the air is the bit in the neck of the
bottle. Best is to tip the wine out into a carafe or water pitcher, and
then pour it back into the bottle. The wine will be softer, more
approachable, and you will have the pleasure of serving it from the
You need one wine glass (per person) to enjoy wine. Buy a
glass that feels good to you in terms of stem, a reasonable size, not
too small, and one that is hardy enough for the dishwasher. When you
pour wine, the glass should be half full, no more. As you finish
pouring, twist the bottle slightly.
It will make you look professional and avoid drips.
you know in advance that you are not going to drink the whole bottle,
immediately after you pour the wine, put the cork back in. If it doesn’t
fit in, then try it upside down. It will go in more easily.
put the bottle, whether red or white, in the fridge. This will slow
down the aging process. Remember, the enemy is air, so if you want to
save half a bottle, it is better not to leave it open to the air during
the meal. A bottle like this will last a good few days. No need to buy
any of the vacuum wine savers, which are sometimes not as good as the
advertisements say. You can always transfer a bottle of wine into a
small empty mineral-water bottle. You can squeeze the plastic bottle as
you fill it to ensure there is no air in it.
Which wine with what
food? It doesn’t matter. Good wine goes with good food and good
company. Drink what you like. If you want to think about it beforehand,
match the wine to the mood, not the food.
Opening sparkling wine warrants attention because a flying cork is dangerous.
the wire surrounding the stopper with a finger on the top of the bottle
at all times. Then point the bottle away from people, hold the cork in
one hand and the bottle in the other and gently rotate the bottle, while
easing the cork.
The cork should make a sound like an erotic
sigh rather than a loud pop. Fill the glass slowly at a slant, and it
will help you to avoid spillage.
Cooking Cooking with wine is
important, but don’t cook with undrinkable wine. The cooking will only
concentrate the unpleasant flavors. On the other hand, you don’t need to
cook with an expensive wine, either. Use wine to keep fish moist or as a
marinade for meat. It is a useful way to color a sauce. Add wine early
on in the cooking process, and you will get the wine sans alcohol, well
integrated in the dish. Add late, and you will get more wine flavor.
a spare bottle of mediocre wine into a pan. Boil the ingredients to get
rid of the alcohol. Then pour the wine into an icecube tray and freeze
it. You’ll then have cubes of wine flavor to use in cooking without
having to open a special bottle.
Wine does not have to be complicated.
get bent out of shape trying to be an expert or be under pressure to do
things right. All that matters is to open that bottle and just enjoy
Adam Montefiore works for Carmel Winery. He regularly writes about wines in Israeli and international publications. firstname.lastname@example.org.