Wine is on a roll. More people enjoy it every day, nosing out beer as America’s alcohol drink of choice.
Well and good, but it also means there are beleaguered barefoot Pilgrims who are baffled by the jargon. This week and next, some help with oenophile argot.
• Pop and pour: wine ready to drink right out of the bottle, no decanting or “laying down” needed. Today, add “twist and pour” as a descriptor.
• Lay it down: wine that benefits from bottle age; store it horizontally so cork remains moist while you resist opening it. Also needed for wines that have traveled, see next.
• Bottle shock: wine is a living thing affected by its environment. If it has traveled some distance to get to you, such as wine purchased online or something you purchased on a trip and brought home, lay it down for a while so it can pull itself together and be at its best.
• Let it breathe: almost all wines, especially tannic ones, benefit from exposure to air. Air rounds them out and makes them smoother and less harsh. Simply opening the bottle doesn’t do much because the area exposed to air is so small. Vigorous swirling in a large glass works. Decanting is best method, allow for 30 minutes up to several hours for some wines. Shocking secret: you can put wine in a blender for instant decanting, especially of lower-end wines. It seems scandalously sacrilegious, but it works.
• Blow off: some wines have unfortunate aromas when opened, most famously Burgundy pinot noir with its “barnyard” odors and riesling with “petrol,” but other wines also benefit from allowing time to breathe. Refer to techniques in the previous bullet point.
• Château Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling 2013: Riesling is one of wine world’s most versatile grapes and an exquisite food wine; this nicely acidic Washington State effort is an example. $19-20
• Wild Horse Central Coast Pinot Noir 2014: Does not nail the perfect pinot profile, but does well as a nice drinking, lighter red wine; a step-up from Mark West Pinot Noir. $16-19
Last round: What do you mean I should be more productive? Do you think this bottle of wine opened itself?