Jim Answers


Below are some of the most common questions I hear regarding wine. Feel free to ask your own questions in the comment section at the bottom of the page.

Q: What does it mean for a wine to “breathe”?

Basically it just means that it has come into contact with air. Someplace I’m sure there’s a guy in a white lab coat who can tell us what happens to wine on a molecular level when it breathes, but for us, it’s enough to know that it tastes better when it does. Pour a glass of red and let it sit where your roommate won’t find it. You’ll notice it will taste better after an hour.

Q: Corks or screw caps. What’s the deal?

Yeah, there was a time when only swill came in a bottle with a screw cap. Those days are gone. Wineries now use screw caps on fantastic, higher-end wines. Now we have to actually taste it to find out if it’s swill. I guess that’s not such a bad thing.

Q: Why does it matter what wine I choose with food?

Think of chocolate and peanut butter. Individually they’re both good, but put them together and you have something that’s greater than the two parts. Now think of grapefruit and toothpaste. Again, individually they’re delicious. But put them together and it’s the culinary equivalent of shorts with black socks. By choosing the right wine with dinner, you’ll get a food experience made better by the wine and visa versa.

Q: Are you supposed to tip a sommelier in a fancy restaurant?   

No….and yes. Tip according to the total bill, bottle of wine included, at the end of the meal. That is, unless he/she was an unfriendly wine snob. Help stamp out wine snobbery.

Q: Why should I decant wine?

Two reasons, really. First, sometimes there’s sediment in wine and by pouring the bottle into a decanter first, the sediment can be separated and left in the bottle. Secondly, it allows the wine to mix with the air and breathe. Ever notice how the last sip of a glass of wine tastes the best? It’s because it has had the opportunity to breathe.


2 Responses to Jim Answers

  1. C D Lykken says:

    why is red wine served at room temp, and not chilled like white wine?

    • The temperature is intended to enhance the flavor profiles in the wine. Chilling helps to highlight the fruit flavors generally in a white wine; while a red wine should be room temperature so you can smell and taste the complex flavors. Then again, it all comes down to what the individual likes. So if you like red wine chilled, then you are correct to chill it.

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