The mysteries of Wine

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 15, 2002

I’ve come to grips a long time ago with the fact that there is a lot I need to learn about things such as throwing a party.

When opening my mail the other day, I came across an interesting pamphlet entitled &uot;Seven things every woman should know about serving wine.&uot;

Now, considering my experience with wine consisted of a few sips and a lot of grimacing, I figured this is knowledge that I needed to know.

This is also knowledge that the woman who wrote it, Signe Zoller, figured women needed to know as well.

Meridian Vineyards conducted a survey last year asking whether or not men knew more about wine than women. Astoundingly, while 61 percent of those surveyed say people assume men know more about wine than women, 63 percent said that men usually doesn’t know anymore about wine than women do.

Well, how about that?

Now, 20 percent of the more than 600 members of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (aka people who can actually cook) surveyed, said they had trouble selecting wine to match food for a dinner party at home.

It’s a good question, speaking from the masses of people who can’t tell the difference from a dry white wine to a red or whatever. So, let’s see what we can learn from this.

Here are some of the tips offered from &uot;Seven things every woman should know about serving wine&uot; published by Meridian Vineyards:

Which Wines to Serve With Your Party Menu

There are no wrong choices, so the ultimate decision is up to you. Light-bodied wines go better with lighter dishes, many cheeses and even some spicy food. Chardonnay works well with dishes that have cream, butter or white wine sauces in them. Ruby red wines, such as Pinot Noir, go with almost everything, but especially food with mushrooms in it.

Full-bodied reds go with foods such as lasagna, meats, stews and barbecue.

What Temperature Makes Wines Taste Best

White wines should not be ice cold because it will mask the aroma and flavor it has. On the opposite end of the scale, red wine should not be too warm. A general rule of thumb is to chill white wine at least two hours ahead before serving it or submerge the bottle for 15 minutes in an ice-filled bucket topped with water.

During the summer, bring out white wines just before serving them. In the winter, remove them about 15 minutes before serving. Red wines are best when the bottle is cool to the touch, slightly below room temperature. If the wine is too cool, leave it at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

To drink, hold the glass by the stem. This avoids warming the wine or leaving fingerprints on the glass.

Wine Glasses – Size and Shape Matter

Wine looks and tastes best in a well-designed glass, one that’s big enough for four to six ounces of wine without spilling it.

ZA roomy glass allows the aromas to be trapped

and develops the flavors. The typical 12-ounce wine glasses that are common will be fine for this use.

The Wine Gadgets You Really Need

Toys and gadgets are always fun to play with! So, if you are looking for ones to go along with your new wine experience, there are three you need to have: A &uot;U&uot;-shaped foil cutter helps to trim the foil off the top of the bottle. Then, there is the handy-dandy corkscrew. Zoller recommends one commonly used by winemakers and restaurants: one that folds over and has a jointed arm and hook that grips the bottle. Finally, there are things called drip catchers you can you.

One creates a pouring spout and the other is a ring that slips onto the bottle’s neck. I guess it’s to prevent people like me from spilling it everywhere.

How to Serve and How Much to Pour

Place wine glasses above the dinner plates, ideally one for each wine served.

The water glass will be the last one, right above where the knife is placed. The wines are poured in the glasses from left to right, light and dry to full-bodied. and usually whites to reds. The glasses should be filled 1/3 full so the wine can be swirled so it can breathe. Breathing improves the flavor of the wine.

The rest of the tips, as well as several other guides to ordering wine, can be ordered at www.meridianvineyards.com.