If you are hoping for the best from each bottle of wine, your favorite Wine of the Month Club has these suggestions.

Every bottle of wine needs a cool, dark, quiet, non-vibrating resting place if it’s expected to live up to your expectations when uncorked. A cellar is perfect, but there are ideal substitutes to that environment.

A dark cupboard and under the bed in the spare room are perfectly acceptable alternatives. Wrap the bottles in a blanket to block exposure to sunlight and to cradle the bottles from household vibrations. Speaking of vibrations, never store wine in the vicinity of your washing machine or heavy traffic. Also avoid attics, kitchens or garages, as the temperature fluctuations will cause harm.

To encourage young wines to “open up”, oxygenate by pouring the wine into a sparkling clean pitcher, rinse the bottle, then re-pour the wine into the bottle. (Simply opening the bottle to “breathe” is ineffective because so little of the wine is exposed to the air.) Considering a mature or older wine, decanting can freshen the wine and eliminate unsightly sediment. As far as frail aged wines go, such as a red burgundy, decant with care.

Want to discourage anyone from asking for a second glass of wine? Serve the first in a glass that’s not squeaky clean, with perhaps a trace of detergent or soap left in it. The smallest whiff of soap or detergent is guaranteed to flatten fizz and destroy the taste.

Speaking of wine glasses, the ideal wineglass, no matter what wine you’re offering, is a tulip-shaped vessel, which concentrates the wine’s aroma. Choose one made of thin, uncut glass, which allows the color to be easily enjoyed. Avoid serving wine in thick, cut glass. Since a wine glass should be no more than one-half full to release all the aroma, larger glasses are a good option. Small glasses can give the appearance of containing just a mini-serving. For best presentation, sparkling wines should be served in a tall tulip.

Lastly, there’s temperature to consider. Most whites are best served around 8°C (46.4°F); richer dry whites at 11 or 12°C (51,8-53.6°F). Light reds are ideal at 14°C (57.2°F), and no medium red should be served at more than 16°C (60.8°F). The biggest reds are ideal at a max of 18 to 19°C (64.4-66.2°F). Red wine served at room temperature on a hot day will most certainly be too warm; whites around a snowy campfire will be too cold, so adjust!

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Tracie Burket
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