Friday, December 21, 2007

Don't Blame Me If You Drink The Whole Bottle

Tip Of The Day: How to make even the cheapest wine taste better. It sounds like a useless gadget, or the creation of a wine snob to show off to his/her friends, but a wine decanter can and will improve the taste of red wine. You can find lovely, sturdy glass decanters at Cost Plus World Market for $19.99.

Tip For Tomorrow: What I made from the fabric I purchased from SR Harris, otherwise known as "How I Totally Copied A Christmas Gift Idea from the Gift I Got Last Year."

Further Elucidation Of My Cheap Deal: If you ever wander through the house wares floor of any major department store, you are probably struck (much like I am) by the sheer amount of crap you can waste your money on. My personal favorite? S’more makers. Is constructing a s’more so difficult, you need a specific machine to complete the task? I thought all you needed was, like, fire. And a stick.

One item I found particularly useless (albeit shiny and decorative, like me!) was the wine decanters. They come in glass, in crystal, in a variety of shapes and sizes, and seem uniformly pointless. But now I know the truth.

And the truth shall set you free. Free to do things like drink more red wine, because it tastes BETTER.

Revelation time, folks. Wine decanters – the kind with a narrow neck that opens into a wide, rounded bottom (like mine!), sort of like an inverted mushroom – actually work. When you pour red wine from the bottle into the decanter, it gets aerated, which makes (somehow, don’t ask me how, I don’t know) the wine smoother, better tasting, and easier to drink.

And what’s better than wine you can drink easier, and therefore faster, and therefore IN LARGER QUANTITIES? Nothing.

However, tasting is believing. Unless you do a taste test between a glass of un-decanted and decanted wine, you won’t truly understand just how well these things work. Word Of Caution: get a decanter that is made to aerate the wine, not just store it in a pretty crystal container.

How much do decanters cost? You could spend over $300 on a fancy-dancy crystal one, but why bother? You want to use the thing, not glare at it, seething over your credit card bill.

I recommend the decanters from Cost Plus World Market. I bought mine there last Christmas for only $19.99. They still have them for sale, and the Rosedale store just got in a shipment of them this week. If you live nowhere near Rosedale, call your nearest store. They’ll know what you’re talking about, and whether or not they have decanters in stock.

Reader's Tip: Decanters make great hostess gifts, especially if the host isn’t known for his great taste in wine. I think they even improve Two-Buck Chuck. And if you disagree, you can always use the offending wine for washing pots and pans, as one of my readers suggested. I do love a good reader suggestion.


Anonymous said...

Interesting idea.

Most often people decant older reds to remove sediments. Sediments are found in more traditional processes, in wines that have aged in the bottle, and more frequently in home made wines.

If you're wondering if a wine has sediments you can usually tell by looking thru the neck at a bright light and tilting the bottle so you can look thru enough its not quite opaque. You'll be able to see the solids.

These really need decanting. No one likes to chew wine. Its kind of sad that the kind of people who pay alot for wine (like the heavy French reds) wouldn't dare dream of not showing off the label. And so they ensure they don't get to actually enjoy what they spend small dump trucks of cash on.

So far as letting it breathe, which is what you are talking about there are a couple of cautions. First, get a wide mouth decanter, like a carafe. The point is to allow more surface area than just in an open bottle. Second, beware 72 degree wine.

I know, you chill whites, not reds. But none of its meant for room temp. Try cooling the red to 50-60 range. (Like it was stored in your cool, dark wine celler...) You'll get alot more out of it. The caution here is to let it breathe, but not warm up completely before you enjoy.

Aerated and slightly chilled, even modest table wines become much more paletable.

Of course no wine post is complete without a link to fav wine of the old country (old country being upstate NY)

-El Jefe

Larue said...

El Jefe knows his liquor. Its true.

Sadly, I don't care for wine. If you want to do a post on margaritas or Bailey's Irish Cream, I am there for you 100%.

Cake [> said...

I don't even like wine. So El Jefe I HATE WINE!!! Ha-Ha.

Cake [>

Anonymous said...

Of course, if you are looking to be truly cheap, skip the decanter and just swirl the wine in your glass. Swirl it a lot. The process opens and aerates the wine in the same manner as would pouring into a decanter. And you look pretty spiffy doing it.

Kate (in the Kitchen....where it's all about food and wine)