The holiday season is swiftly approaching and you may be asking yourself, “[Name] is such a wine geek, what can I get him/her as a gift?” Well look no further, we, at Montesquieu, have thought of some perfect essentials that every wine lover; new, intermediate, or expert, absolutely needs!
“What is decanting?” Well, simply, it is the process of of transferring (decanting) the contents of a wine bottle into another receptacle (decanter) before serving.
Wine geeks can discuss and debate for hours about the pros and cons of decanting, but based on my personal experience opening, decanting, and tasting hundreds of bottles of wine – I found that careful decanting can improve most any wine.
So, why do we do it? It’s not just to shift the liquid from one bottle to another, decanting enhances the ‘magic’ that comes from the wine; the aromas, the taste, the feeling you get when it slides down your throat. Scientifically speaking, decanting allows two things to happen. First, slow decanting allows wine (particularly older wine) to part from its sediment, which will remove a somewhat bitter, astringent flavor. Second, pouring wine into a decanter agitates the liquid and allows it to mix with oxygen, enabling it to come to life at a quicker pace (which is particularly important for younger wines.)
“So what type of decanter should i get?” Just like you would with choosing stemware, a clear, crystal decanter will allow you to see the wine at its best. Overly decorated or colored decanters can obscure the wine. Be sure your decanter is spotless and free from any musty aromas before use. As an extra precaution, rinsing with mineral water will remove any residual chlorine odor, and NEVER wash your decanter with dish detergent! The shape of the decanter makes it very difficult to remove all the soapy residue. Instead, use a mixture of crushed ice and coarse salt – they’ll remove any residual wine without leaving behind any aroma.
2. Wine Flight Glasses
One of my favorite ways to discover new wines is to sip through a “flight”. Wine flights, generally, are 2- or 3-ounce pours of three to four wines that are served as a set group, or a mixture of your choice. I like to call it an ‘economical tasting opportunity’. For wine lovers, this gives them the opportunity to enjoy and share their favorite wines with family and friends, without the commitment of pouring full glasses of wine.
3. Wine Themed Cookbook
When enjoying a beautiful glass of wine, be it red or white, you can sometimes find yourself getting hungry. The great thing about wine is that with every flavor, there are complimenting flavors in the form of food! Wine themed cookbooks can help the casual or frequent entertainer make the most of their event. These books give you the recipes that will wow your guests as the prepared courses and wines compliment each other, which will make for an unforgettable experience and a new found passion for wine.
4. Travel Suitcase for Wine (that can be checked for air travel)
Any wine enthusiast will tell you that their favorite part of drinking wine is discovering new wines from around the world. The best part is when you can go and pick it up yourself! You never want to be surprised at airport security, so it’s extremely important to understand the ins and outs of TSA rules for transporting alcohol before your purchase the bottle. Unfortunately, carry-on restrictions DO apply to alcohol, therefore the best thing to do is the check your wine as luggage (if you don’t want to pay for shipping).
Luckily for us, they now make checkable, travel luggage cases for wine! This makes traveling with wine safe, convenient, and economical, without the concern of bottles breaking during transport.