Expert Q&A

13 ways you’re drinking wine all wrong

You won’t pop your champagne ever again.

If pairing your snapper with a sav blanc and steak with a cab sav is about as close to becoming a wine connoisseur as you get and you’re happy with that, then fine. But if you really want to be the hostess with the mostest, then you need to be well-versed in how to consume your vino. So we spoke to Tempus Two Winemaker, Andrew Duff about where you might be going wrong with your preferred tipple.
  1. You’re keeping open bottles for WAY too long
In other words, you need to call it quits on cracking open a whole bottle just for one glass.
“More than 48 hours and I wouldn’t be keeping wine, but the better the quality, which can mean the more expensive it is, the longer the wine will last longer once opened," Andrew says. "A good quality red wine has a lot more tannins and structure to it than a cheaper one which is thinner, so it’s fine to be open for a greater period of time.”
While white wines may not have those hearty tannins, they can stay good up to 48 hours after opened (if you don't polish the bottle off in one go), thanks to its chilled environment.
“It’s all quality dependent, but your white wine is kept in the fridge, so it’s not really experiencing the same temperatures red wines are if you’re going to leave them out. If it’s during an Australian summer though, throw it in the fridge overnight, and then pull it out when you get home if you’re going to have it for dinner.”
Moral of the story: finish the bottle with your friends in one sitting.
2. You’re drinking your white wine too cold
“White wines should be drunk at around 14 degrees and I think most fridges run at about four degrees, so essentially everyone is drinking their wines far too cold. As the wine warms up out of the fridge, you’ll see a vast temperature difference and vast difference in the flavour profile.”
3. You’re not putting your red wine in the fridge
Turns out having a red wine at room temperature is a total sin.
“In Australia’s climate you should definitely refrigerate red wine to take the edge off. The ideal drinking temperature for reds is around the 18-20 degree mark. Otherwise the wine just isn’t in harmony anymore.”
You don’t have to put it straight in the fridge if it’s just come from the bottle-o though.
“Good bottle stores should be air-conditioned to a degree, otherwise they would lose product, so if it’s straight off of the bottle store shelf, providing there is air conditioning, it would be fine to drink right away.”
4. You’re rushing your decanting (if you’re doing it at all)
It's time to invest in some flasks...
“When you decant wine, oxygen gets into it so the wine can breathe and come back to life. If you can imagine being cooped up in a car for a long car ride, the first thing you want to do is stretch, and by decanting the wine that’s what it does, it stretches.”
So you could start stretching your wine with ANY household object. Seriously.
“Saucepans, anything clean and sort of sterile will work. I probably wouldn’t serve it on the table out of a saucepan but you can always do a quick decant into a saucepan, then funnel it back into the bottle and then serve it. It will really open the wine up quickly and then it will do well overnight because it’s had air interaction.”
You can rush the whole process if the wine will be consumed straight away though by just swishing the wine in your glass, but otherwise you should put your patience pants on and take your time decanting.
“I will decant most reds with a screw cap because it’s quite a reductive environment, apart from a pinot noir, but everything else will have slightly heavier tannins which I will decant and leave for 15 minutes to half an hour before drinking.”
5. You’re not swirling preservative neutralisers around in your wine
Make like Dancing with the Stars and give those preservatives a goddamn twirly swirl, would ya?
“I’m not a big fan of the preservative drops myself but I understand that there is a great need for it because there are a lot of people that carry allergies to sulphur dioxide, which is listed as preservative 220 on the back. What you’re actually adding in those drops is a really diluted version of hydrogen peroxide – it’s bleach. So if you put a couple of drops on your finger and just leave it there it’ll actually start bleaching it.
“Once it goes into the wine it binds with the sulphur dioxide and actually drops out as an acid, so you will acidify the wine a little bit more, but you will remove the preservatives. There’s a point at which it’s too much, because then it will start oxidising the wine, but the big key is to add them to the individual glass with the wine swirling.”
6. You’re not drinking out of thin enough glasses
When it comes to wine, size (and thickness) does matter.
“The thinner the glass you’re drinking out of, the more aromatics you’ll experience and you’ll actually see the wine for what it is. It’s also dependent on shape. I always refer to the glassware I use at home and in the winery, it’s a brand called Riedel.”
Just like certain shaped bodies look and feel better in certain clothing styles, so does wine.
“The pinot will look better in the pinot glass, the shiraz will look better in the shiraz glass, cabernet in a cabernet glass. Riedel also do a generic glass and that's the best one for all wine.”
7. You’re bursting your bubbles by popping champagne
The sound of a champagne cork popping has got to be one of the best sounds in the world. But it turns out it's harming the fizz.
“The best way to keep bubbles is to try and open it correctly. It goes against the grain, but you don’t want to hear the ‘pop’ with champagne. You have to be very gentle so you should do it slowly. It’s actually referred to by the older gentlemen in the wine fraternity as ‘The Angel’s Sigh’, so you just want it to make a little sigh, rather than the ‘pop’.”
Sad news, we know. Here's why it's so bad:
“The ‘pop’ releases quickly and it’ll start to create a vacuum and that rushes all the bubbles out whilst it’s in the bottle, so the wine will actually go flat quicker. Always use a pressure stopper to keep the wine under pressure.”
8. You’re a reckless pourer
Heavy handed? Well, listen up.
“If you’ve got white wine and you’re really splashing it around, oxygen will get in there, so it’s going to start opening up to a point, but volume is a key. The idea is, you should only pour a quarter of a glass if you’re using a glass designed to capture the wine. This is so you can swirl it and get the aromas. That’s the best way to fully enjoy the wine.”
9. You’re paying too much
TRUTH BOMB: Good cheap wine is a thing.
“There are bargains out there. A lot of online companies do great bargains as they obviously cut the middle men out. Or, find your own bargain at a cellar door or with cellar door only products.”
Or if you like to keep it old school, have a chat with the people in the bottle shop and tell them the kinds of flavours and brands you do and don't like, they should be able to point you in the right direction as chances are they've tried a lot of them.
10. You’re adding ice
Dilution is the devil.
“Wine is low enough in alcohol, you don’t want to reduce it anymore as it’s balanced. As winemakers, the sweetness, acid and the full flavour profile of the wine is all in harmony. So while putting an ice cube in there will cool it down, you’ll also dilute it."
Andrew's recommendation? Buy reusable plastic ice cubes as they don’t let any water out.
11. You're not drinking it with soda
Half the wine = half the calories. Plus half the hangover*. It's also often much more refreshing and easier to drink.
*We assume. There is no scientific logic to back this up.
12. You’re not making cocktails with it
“Mixing wine into cocktails to make white wine spritzers, sangrias and Bellini cocktails is a great idea. Spice up your spritzer with your own fresh garnishes. It also means you’re taking more ownership of the product and really enjoying the flavours."
Andrew recommends getting creative with adding sweetness, spiciness, dryness, whatever you want really.
Try this sangria on for size, which he masterminded especially for the 2016 Jeep Portsea Polo:
You'll need:
  • 3 parts Tempus Two Copper Series Tempranillo
  • 1 part Tempus Two Blanc de Blancs sparkling
  • Good splash of Tiro Sparkling Ginger Ale
  • Some red delicious apple cubed
  • Some strawberries (halved)
  • Some sweet navel oranges (sliced)
  • ½ a cinnamon stick
  • Easy method: Combine ingredients and soak for 12 hours minimum.

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