Americans may be drinking more wine these days than we used to — especially in Washington, D.C., where, it may not surprise you to learn, more wine is consumed per capita than in any other state or district. But that doesn’t mean we know how to properly store and pour it. At what temperature should it be served? How full should our wine glasses be? And are we really supposed to decant?
Here are a few rules of thumb:
Be Chill (But Not Too Chill) About Storage: Ideally, bottles of wine should be stored (preferably, though not necessarily, on their sides) in a cool, dark place — like a basement or closet, if not in a dedicated wine cooler — at temperatures between 45 and 65 degrees F, with 55 degrees F being the sweet spot. Exposing wine to temperatures above 70 degrees F could speed aging or even flatten out the flavors and aromas, Wine Spectator warns. It’s cool to keep wine in your kitchen fridge short term, but don’t leave it there for months on end, as the low temp could damage the corks and, in turn, the wine. Aim to avoid extreme temperature fluctuations and long-term exposure to bright lighting when storing, but don’t freak out if they happen, especially if you’re planning to drink the wine sooner rather than later.
The holidays offer a great opportunity for gathering family and friends, to remember old times and make new memories. And since it’s a celebratory time, it’s inevitable that there will be some drinking going on — a toast with Champagne, wine with dinner, etc. Wine is also a popular host/hostess gift. But after you’ve received the umpteenth bottle of Merlot, what do you do with all the wine? FN Dish has the perfect solution for you.
How about mulled wine? Just think about it. Unless you have a wine cellar to store the bottles, you probably won’t have the space to keep them. And how many times have you put a bottle of wine in your pantry only to discover next Christmas it’s still there? So instead of letting those bottles gather dust, make mulled wine. It’s the perfect way to extend your holiday entertaining into the New Year. Plus it’s a great solution for using up cheap wine (i.e., inexpensive wine — you wouldn’t want to use a $50 bottle for mulled wine).
Having a wine bottle holder is a great way to show off a favorite bottle and add a touch of class to your kitchen. This funky wine bottle holder by Emilia Ceramics will reliably nestle your wine in between pours and serve as a great kitchen conversation piece — especially at the Thanksgiving table.
You can buy your own Zig Zag Wine Bottle Holder here or enter in the comment field below for a chance to win one. To enter: Tell us your favorite food and wine pairing in the comments. We’re giving away a wine bottle holder to three lucky, randomly selected commenters.
For Halloween I often advise people to find one of the many wines available with scary names, such as Sin Zin, Dead Arm or Devil’s Lair. Given the festive nature of fright night, however, it can also be rewarding to whip up a big-batch wine that is sure to give your guests the creeps — in a good way.
Red Punch: The color of villainy, of course, is blood red, so the easiest way to add fright to your night is to mix up a simple Red Wine Punch from Food Network Magazine.
Sangria: With a little more work, you can make a traditional red sangria, whose name appropriately derives from sangre or blood in Spanish. I show you how in this video.
Go Green: Equally impressive would be to surprise your guests with a concoction the color of ghastly green. Obtain some green food coloring and add it to Paula Deen’s Mimosa Punch or Giada’s Apple and Mint Punch.
Twice a month we’re giving readers a chance to ask Food Network Kitchens’ advice about an issue they’re having with a dish. They can’t reformulate a recipe for you, but they’re happy to help improve it.
Question: I’m just not wine-smart — I don’t know a dry wine from a non-dry one. It sure would be helpful if the chefs would say what kind of wine they’re using in a recipe, not brand specific, but if it’s a Chardonnay or a Merlot. And when they speak of using a finishing oil on their food, what does that mean? – Karen Shelton
Answer: Don’t stress about what kind of wine to cook with. It’s pretty straightforward: If it tastes good in the glass, it’ll taste good in the dish. As a basic rule of thumb, think white wines for delicate flavors like shellfish or most vegetables. Use red wines for robust flavors in red sauces and braised meats.
Publishers Weekly: Rachael Ray just released her latest cookbook, The Book ofBurger (coming soon to Food Network Store). The “smart book” features QR codes that provide readers additional cooking information when scanned.
TIME: Mickey Mouse ditches junk-food. The Walt Disney Co. is the first major media company to ban junk food advertisements in an effort to diminish sugary temptations and improve kids’ eating habits.
Associated Press: Schools rise above pink slime. The vast majority of National School Lunch Program states are refusing the product known as “lean finely textured beef,” and fast-food chains and supermarkets are following suit.
Food Republic: Will Greek yogurt soon be replaced? Hailing from Iceland, skyr has a similar tang, but is actually a “fresh skim-milk cheese, strained to a whipped custard consistency.”
Chicago Sun-Times: Do you prefer your red or white? Or how about orange? Also known as “freaky whites,” orange wines are now trending.
If you crave coolness, sometimes the best plan is to swim against the stream. Everyone eating steak? Order the shrimp scampi. Friends dressing up? Go ahead, wear your ripped jeans.
And with St. Patrick’s Day being so famously beer-soaked, your against-the-grain cred will come from drinking wine. Not any old vino, mind you, but one particularly suited to this casual, joyous occasion: Vinho Verde (VEEN-yoh VEHR-day), a light white wine from various native grapes in Portugal.
If there’s one estate in the world that can make perfect wine, it is Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (“DRC” to insiders) in France’s Burgundy region. So special is its Pinot Noir that tourists make pilgrimages there just to gaze thirstily at the vineyards behind its low stone wall. It is so coveted that some careful collectors will scrawl an “X” on bottles that they have drained to prevent counterfeiters from reusing them.
This is the kind of juice that Miles from Sideways would pursue to the end of the earth, even if it meant making like Thelma & Louise and rocketing his red Saab over a canyon into the blue beyond.