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Magnum Bottles

Magnum Bottles

Believe it or not, Magnum bottles are actually the best way to go when it comes to preserving wines. If we think about what happens inside one of this monster bottles, we will notice that there is less incidence of oxygen per liter of wine.

What I’m saying is that the cork of a Magnum bottle is around 1 ½ times bigger than a normal cork, buy the amount of wine in a magnum bottle is at least twice than in a regular one. Therefore, what we call micro oxygenation, oxidation or even reduction are slow down big time by this fact.

Of course, if we speak about ageing time, we will have to wait much longer in order to get evolution in a Magnum bottle, but then again, we will almost guarantee that the wine evolution occurs in a perfect and synergize way.

The next time you see someone taking one of this babies home, think about this issue and realize that maybe, just maybe, he/she knows what he/she is doing, or maybe, just maybe, he/she has a lot of friends.

Corks and Screw Caps, an eternal debate

Corks and Screw Caps, an eternal debate

This is probably one of the most discussed topics of the last decade in terms of wine. Which one is better? Are Screw Caps a sign of poor quality?

My question would be, what do you want to accomplish by using a stopper in a bottle? If you answer this question, you answer any kind of question regarding stoppers.

Maybe you are familiar with “Tannins”. If you are not, here is a brief explanation.

Tannins are chemical molecules spread in almost every fruit or edible plant. Among many properties (coagulating saliva is one of them; ergo a dry mouth), they are antioxidants, which means they can protect wines from an early oxidation. Grapes have a strong concentration of tannins of course, but this is not enough.
Oak (and this is why we use oak and no other kinds of wood) contains a great deal of tannins as well, much more than grapes.

Now think about a young wine. Are you getting thirsty? Wait a minute and pay attention.

Young wines are not having any contact with oak, and because of this, they have a short life ahead (no a lot of antioxidants implies a short life). For this kind of wines, a Screw Top is a very good thing. It prevents wine from getting too much in contact with oxygen, extending its life and preserving it almost exactly the same.

On the other hand, if you have a wine that is been in contact with oak for a long time, then that wine contains an enormous deal of tannins, and therefore, it can live a longer life. In fact, if you taste a wine right after being in an oak barrel for a long time, it will probably taste like a very unusual and very concentrated tea.

Natural corks aloud oxygen to be in contact with the wine in almost a non-stop way. Through this process (micro oxygenation), wine changes, develops new kinds of aromas and tastes, losses some color and fruit, and gets what they call Bouquet (new aromas develop within the bottle).

Acidity is another really strong point when it comes to ageing wines.

So if you found a Screw Top wine, you are probably looking at a wine meant to be drink in a short period (3 years max). Natural corks goes for wines that are prepared to hold longer. Of course, marketing and operative cost play their roll as well, but let’s leave that for another time.

After all of this talking, I think I’ll open a bottle and relax a little.

How to preserve Wine at Home

How to preserve Wine at Home

One of the most important things to keep in mind when storing wine at home is that wine has a pretty good self-defense mechanism. For one, wine contains alcohol, a very good and useful conservative, it also contains sulfites (every wine does) and a low PH, which is a very important issue when it comes to viruses and bacteria activity.

Knowing this, when can relax and just pay attention to some details, and we’ll do ok.

Regarding closed bottles, all we need to do is keep wine in a cool (12-18 °C) and humid (over 60% if possible) place. Also, we can control cork safety by taking out the foils and checking the cork tips once in a while, looking for wine spots. If there are some, it’s time to call some friends and throw a party.

Sometimes, wine breaks through natural corks and gets to the surface (galleries). When this happens, the oxidation process speeds up. The rule is: a little bit of oxygen is good, a lot of it is death for wine (microoxygenation: good, macrooxygenation: bad).

If we pay attention to winery cellars around the world, we will notice that every one of them keeps the bottles without the foils, mostly because of this reason, especially for top wines.

If you ask me, there is not such a thing as half a bottle left. The way I look at it is: half a bottle won’t kill me. But if you feel like you had enough wine or maybe you are drinking a glass with every meal, I would recommend keeping that bottle in the refrigerator. Once you open a bottle, any kind of microorganisms can go inside, so you need cold temperatures in order to keep them inactive.

An open bottle won’t last more than 4 days, but then again, if you want a bottle to last over 4 days you probably are in the wrong business.

So now you know, if you see any galleries, give me a call!

Why toasting?

Why toasting?

There are a number of theories trying to explain why and how do we toast.

One of them (and my favorite) comes from ancient Greece, 5 centuries B.C.

Greeks used to throw enormous feasts for the high class back then, inviting powerful guys, good friends and of course, no so good friends as well. Maybe, if you weren’t lucky enough or if somebody did not like you very much, you could drink some poisoned wine without even knowing. Just in case, the host used to clink his glass with the rest of the people in order to spill some of his wine in everyone else’s cup and vice versa, as a sign of trust and good faith.
Therefore, in Spain (and later on in Spanish speaking countries) people are used to say “Salud!” that means “Good health!” wishing you not to die drinking some wine.

The term “Toasting” comes from the 17th century, when people used to flavor their wines with pieces of spicy toast, maybe because in those years wine was rubbish!

A concept to keep in mind is: The world makes better wine every day. Today’s wine is by far much better than a century ago, and the wine of the future will be better than the one we have today.

Good news! There’s better wine coming!