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Be in the know and Enjoy Wine More

Be in the Know and Enjoy Wine More


“Wine is subjective; don’t be intimidated into thinking any other way. Figure out your own preference.”

Wine musings

  • Alcohol is absorbed faster when warm, so high alcohol wines like Zinfandel should be served slightly below room temperature.
  • When you aren’t sure what to order at a restaurant, order an Italian white like a Pinot Grigio, an unoaked Chardonnay, or New World Sauvignon. All three work well with many dishes.
  • Wine in the refrigerator  will cool about four degrees F every 10 minutes. Conversely, wine will warm up at about the same rate when left at room temperature. Don’t over refrigerate your wine, the vibration of the refrigerator’s motor disturbs the molecules and can affect the taste of the wine. Same day cooling and warming is suggested.
  • Serve wine in large glasses, it is sexier, more fun and looks so yummy compared to thick lipped, bar sized wine glasses.
  • Serve most sweet and fortified wines, “colder than cold” to bring out the wine’s acidity which balances the sugars.
  • More expensive wines are not necessarily the best tasting wines.
  • Over 90% of all wines should be consumed within one year. Most whites are meant to be drunk within 3 years of their release.
  • Wine with relatively high sugar concentration or viscosity, has more “body.”
  • A crop of newly planted grape vines takes four to five years to grow before it can be harvested.
  • Don’t have wine shipped to you in the heat of the summer or the cold of the winter as extreme temperatures are damaging to wine.
  • Red wines get paler as they age, or browner whereas white wines become deeper and more golden.
  • To remove the gunk, or sediment from a wine bottle, decant the bottle, leaving the residue in the empty bottle.
  • If you are laying a bottle down for a period of time, keep the movement of the bottle to a minimum.
  • The best way to remove red or white wine stains from fabric or carpet is with equal parts hydrogen peroxide and Dawn liquid soap. ‘Wine Out’ also works pretty well with a soaking of Oxy-clean if need be.



Colleen Clarke

Wine Expert

November, 2013



“If They Order Merlot, We’re Leaving”

“If They Order Merlot, We’re Leaving”

This famous line was uttered by Paul Giamatti’s character in the movie “Sideways,” filmed in the Paso Roblas wine region north of Santa Barbara, Ca. This line tanked Merlot sales in California for years afterwards as Merlot fans felt criticized and belittled for liking what was implied as an inferior wine. Obviously, Merlot held it’s own and is back as strong as it was before this 2005 film was released!

Merlot is not the soda pop of wines, it just has been overexposed and is everywhere, ergo, it appears to be commonplace.

In the World

Merlot is a French grape, native to the most famous wine region in the world, Bordeaux, though it is being planted in new world countries more frequently as of late. Merlot is Bordeax’s most planted varietal and the most important component in most all of the region’s red wines. The names St.-Emilion and Pomerol are not shabby real estate in western France by any means. Because of Merlot’s ease of growing, it is now being grown prolifically throughout new and old wine world regions.

In the Winery

The grapes are abundant, they grow all over the world without too much hassle and Merlot wine is not a complicated wine for vintners to produce – voila, an abundance of Merlot wine with deep color and high levels of alcohol.

These characteristics make Merlot an excellent blending wine with grapes with headier levels of tannin and acid but less forward fruit like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese and Tempranillo.

In the Glass

With good quality Merlot the black fruits prevail with plums and black cherries giving Merlot a deep ruby color with medium to high intensity aromas. Some climates produce aromas with more of a dried fruit essence like prunes rather than plums, dried cherries rather than cherries, and also fig. When you catch a whiff of brown spices that remind you of Christmas pudding, you know you are drinking a Merlot.

In the Mouth

Merlot is usually a ready to drink wine from the wine store to the table. Merlot offers a richness and suppleness in the mouth that consumers value and seek out. The usual low to modest tannin and acid effect makes supping with food or without enjoyable and yummy.

As for pairing food with Merlot, strong cheeses, pasta with red sauces, hamburger or non grilled beef, and chocolate are highly recommended.