Top 10 Common Questions About Wine
1. What’s the best wine?
This is probably the question customers ask most frequently in wine shops. The retailer usually responds with a barrage of questions, such as:
- Do you prefer red wines or white wines?
- Sweet or dry?
- Are you planning to serve the wine with any particular dish?
As all these questions suggest, the “best wine” depends on your taste and circumstances. There’s no single “best wine” for everyone. Hundreds of very good wines can be found in most wine shops. Thirty years ago, there were far fewer – but winemaking and grapegrowing know-how has progressed dramatically, to the point that there are now few poor wines. We tend to think Seven Mountains Winery has the BEST wines, but we might by slightly biased. You won’t necessarily like every one of those good wines that you have chosen, however, there’s simply no getting around the fact that taste is personal. If you want to drink a good wine that’s right for you, you must decide what the characteristics of wine are that you prefer, and then get advice from a knowledgeable retailer to help you choose a wine.
2. When should I drink this wine?
The answer is now, obviously, it’s always wine-thirty. In reality, the great majority of wines are ready to drink when you buy them. Some of them may improve marginally if you hold them for a year or so, and many of them will maintain their drinkability, but they won’t improve enough for you to notice, unless you’re a particularly thoughtful and experienced taster. Some fine wines are an exception. They not only benefit from aging, but also they NEED to age in order to achieve their potential quality. Our port wines, Raven’s Roast, General Potter’s Fort, and Blondie are examples of these fine wines that get better with age.
3. Is wine fattening?
A glass of dry wine contains 80-85% water, 12-14% ethyl alcohol, and small quantities of tartaric acid and various other components. Wine contains NO FAT! A typical 4 oz serving of wine is around 105 calories, the sweeter the wine (more sugar) and the fortified wines (higher alcohol) also contain additional calories.
4. What grape variety made this wine?
Most New World Wines (Americas, Australia, and other continents besides Europe) tell you what grape variety they’re made from right on the label, it’s often the very name of the wine. Traditional European wines blended from several grape varieties usually don’t give you that information a) because the winemakers consider the name of the place more important than the grape anyways, and b) because often the grapes that are local varieties whose names few people would recognize.
5. Which vintage should I buy?
Nearly every wine is available in only one vintage, which is referred to as the currant vintage. For white wines, the grapes were harvested as recently as nine months ago or as long as three years ago, depending on the type of wine. For red wines, the currant vintage is a date one to four years ago. For the most part, the vintage to buy is the vintage you can buy, although classified-growth red Bordeaux wines are a notable exception.
6. Are there any wines without sulfites?
Sulfur dioxide exists naturally in wine as a result of fermentation. It also exists naturally in other fermented foods such as bread, cookies, and beer. Winemakers use sulfur dioxide at various stages of the winemaking process to stabilize the wine and safeguard its flavor. If you wish to limit your consumption of sulfites, dry red wines should be your first choice, followed by dry white wines. Sweet wines contain the most sulfur dioxide.
7. What are organic wines?
The new standards of organic agriculture established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2002 contain two categories for wine:
- Wine made from organically grown grapes: these are wines whose grapes come from certified organic vineyards.
- Organic wine: these wines come from organically grown grapes and are also produced organically, that is, without the addition of chemical additives such as sulfur dioxide during winemaking.
But not all wines from organically grown grapes are labeled as such. Some winemakers prefer to sell their wines based on the wines’ quality, not the incidental feature of being organic.
8. What is a wine expert?
A wine expert is someone with a high level of knowledge about wine in general, including grape growing, winemaking, and the various wines of the world. A wine expert also ha a high degree of skill in tasting wine. Today, many people become wine experts through the programs of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust or various professional organizations, which include examinations at the end of the study.
9. How do I know when to drink the special older wines I’ve been keeping?
Unfortunately, no precise answer to this question exists because all wines age at a different pace. Even two bottles of the same wine that are stored under the same conditions can age differently. When you have a specific wine in mine, you can get advice in several different ways:
- Consult the comments of critics in newsletters and books
- Contact the winery
- If you have several bottles of the same wine, try one from time to time to see how it is developing. Your own taste is really the best guide – you may enjoy the wine younger, or older, than the experts. Remember, preference is always yours!
10. Do old wines require special handling?
Like humans, wine can become somewhat fragile in its later years. For one thing, it doesn’t like to travel. If you must move old wine, give it several days’ rest afterwards, before opening the bottle. If you’re going to drink an older wine, don’t over-chill it, whether it’s white or red. Stand a red wine or Vintage Port up two to three days before you plan to open it so that the sediment can drift to the bottom.
We also sell wine by the bottle, saves you a trip from going over the mountain 🙂 If you haven’t tried any of our wines yet, you’re missing out! We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!