It is about expressing what we like, finding the words to articulate what we love about wine, and recognizing and identifying those bottles that bring us joy. It is about finding that perfect spot where our wines can repose and/or mature properly. And it is about respecting and discovering the full potential of a wine by serving it properly.
Enjoying wine at home: red wine for two in front of the fireplace
There are so many wines to choose from. So, what should we focus on? What parameters should guide us if we feel a bit lost or have doubts when picking a wine? Asking the experts is a good place to start. Seek advice from those in the know. To paraphrase Jancis Robinson, find a store you trust, explain to them what you like, and let them guide you, so that gradually you will find your way into this fascinating world. These days we also have an enormous amount of information available to us, and modern technology means we can contact wine producers directly to deepen our understanding of wine culture and clear up any doubts we may have.
We might remember a particularly fascinating vintage; find a variety that embodies everything we love about wine; or connect with the expression of a specific appellation of origin. In short, variety, vintage, and place of origin comprise the paradigmatic corpus of any wine selection.
The five wines of the Antología Miguel Torres collection
The fact that certain legendary vintages are difficult to find is no secret, but the quality of today's wines and the certification provided by the various appellations of origin ensure consistent excellence and enjoyment. Familia Torres's presence in various wine regions invites us on a geographical tour of sorts that showcases the very best our land has to offer.
Two goals inform the decision to store and preserve wine at home: on the one hand, we want to keep the wines that we plan on enjoying in the short term in perfect condition; and on the other, we want to set up a place to store our most ageworthy wines.
Location, humidity, and temperature are the three basic elements to consider if we want to store our bottled treasures under ideal conditions. Obviously, most homes do not have an underground cellar where solid stone walls provide the perfect wine sanctuary. A suitable alternative is to find a room in the house, preferably north-facing and well-insulated from the outside world. A windowless room is a plus.
In terms of temperature and humidity, the space would ideally maintain a steady 12ºC and a high level of humidity of around 75%. However, creating these conditions in a regular home can pose a real challenge. So it would suffice to find a spot where the temperature does not exceed 20ºC during the summer.
OPENING THE BOTTLE
When it comes time to serve the wine, make sure it is at the right temperature and handle the bottle properly when uncorking and pouring – this is what sets serving wine apart from merely filling a glass.
As a rule of thumb, red wines with partial or complete oak ageing should be served at a maximum temperature of 17ºC to 19ºC. The lowest serving temperature depends on the wine's aromatic characteristics, sugar content, and tannin structure, but it is generally agreed that this ranges from 4ºC to 6ºC (white and sparkling wines). But ultimately every wine will have its own ideal serving temperature – for example, an intense, fruit-laden young wine does best at a temperature slightly below the maximum. Similarly, aged whites and sparkling wines will really come into their own when served at a higher temperature than the lowest threshold.
When opening the wine, it is best not to move the bottle around excessively and keep it in a vertical position to avoid stirring up any undesired dregs or sediment. Removing the capsule correctly is also important to prevent any of the foil or similar material from falling into the wine. Then place the bottle opener at the centre of the cork and gently twist until the corkscrew is all the way in. Remember: move your hand, not the bottle.
Ibérico ham and payés country chicken rice with butifarra sausage paired with Perpetual, a DOQ Priorat red wine
There are a few other interesting things to keep in mind to maximize our wine pleasure; small details that transform our shared love of wine into an even more enjoyable experience: while handling the bottle, keep the label visible to your guests; when pairing with food, serve the wine before bringing out the dishes; only fill the glasses a third of the way each time you pour; any wine droplets produced during the pour should be cleaned with a serviette between servings.
These details might seem like frills or overly formal, but they demonstrate an additional level of respect and love for the wine and the people at the table.