Welcome back to “you ask and I’ll answer.” For those of you just tuning in, you can find me at, Michael@passionvines.com. I welcome you to email me with any wine related questions and I will use this monthly column to answer them. While I will not be able to answer all of them in this column, I do promise to always provide an answer via email.
Q: Tom H. from Margate asks, “How long will my open bottle of wine last?”
A: This can be a little tricky, but a young, fresh wine meant for everyday drinking often shows itself best two days after opening. An oaked wine still meant for early consumption will still reward you 3-5 days after opening. You can slow the degradation of these wines by storing them in the fridge, but typically you won’t get the intended experience a week after opening the bottle. Older wines that have been cellar-aged will start to deteriorate quickly once opened, so consume these wines as soon as you can. The exception is a fortified wine; Aged Tawny Ports can last you a solid month after opening, while Madeira is virtually indestructible. You can open it, be called away for work for months and return to a great-tasting bottle of Madeira. The easiest way to solve this problem? Invite enough friends and family to help you finish the bottle.
Q: Sharon S. from EHT asks, “I drink pinot grigio but my kids make fun of me for drinking the same wine all the time. What do you recommend that is similar?
A: I love this question and not because they’re making fun. Sharon, there are over ten thousand grape varieties in the world and while pinot grigio is one of the top selling, we can certainly find something similar in style — with perhaps a bit more character. When it comes to a Pinot Grigio replacement, I often refer to the “3 V’s” of Italy: Verdicchio (Marche), Vernaccia (Tuscany) and Vermentino (Sardinia). Light bodied, refreshing acidity and perfect for summer! At a price point between $12 and $15 per bottle, I highly suggest you seek these varietals out. In addition, if you have trouble locating these or if you want to explore further, I would love to see you experience Pinot Gris from Oregon, Albarino from Spain, Sauvignon Blanc, Soave from Italy and Gruner Veltliner from Austria. Good luck!
Q: Jane D. from Somers Point asks, “Do vintages matter?”
A: Of course! The conditions that impact a grape harvest are going to have difference aspects every year. The amount of sun, rain, wind, frost and heat — among other things — all lead to the characteristics and health of wine grapes. For example, perhaps a red wine made from a warm year in Bordeaux may show more black fruit and body, while the following (cooler) year in the same location shows more red fruit and acidity. This is what can be so much fun about exploring wine; you get a new experience each year from your favorite wine producers. If this is not what you are after, a non-vintage wine will give you a consistent experience every time you buy a bottle. Thanks for the question, Jane!
Lastly, we finish with me asking you a question. Reply with the answer, and I’ll send you a prize.
Q: When someone refers to “traditional Rhone blend,” what grape varieties are they most likely referring to?
a. Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir
b. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre
c. Zinfandel, Charbono, Carignan
d. Cinsault, Cabernet Franc, Malbec
You keep asking, and I’ll keep writing…