Your Wine Questions Answered!

As someone who has studied wine and continues to study wine, I get asked a lot of questions on the subject.  And if there’s one thing I like almost as much as drinking wine, is learning about wine.  I’ve recently hosted a couple of wine tastings and have attended a couple of wine events, and here are some of the most common  questions I get asked.

  1.  How do I know if a wine is gone bad?

I get asked this question in almost every wine tasting.  Because sometimes people think they didn’t like a particular wine, when in actuality it may have gone bad, or skunky as I like to call it.   If a wine has gone bad, or skunky, it will give off a very distinct aroma.  I call it skunky, some people call it barnyard, and others just call it ‘wet dog smell’.   It happens more often than you think.   My friend at the NSLC told me about 10% of wines using natural cork are returned and only about 4% with screw caps.  Wines go skunky because they are exposed to oxygen, which is more common in bottles with natural cork, because cork reacts to swings in room temperature.

2.   How long does a wine keep?

There are varying answers to this question, and it will depend on who you ask.  I’ve read that you can keep wine up to a week in the fridge.  Personally, in my opinion, this is true for a white wine, but I don’t find the same applies to a red.  First of all, I refrigerate left-over wine.  Always.  And I’ll be honest, I don’t usually keep red wine for more than a week.  However, I did go away on a trip for 5 days and although the red wine was in the refrigerator, I didn’t find it tasted the same.  I find 3 days max to keep leftover red wine, and that time frame doesn’t usually pose many problems for me.  White wine…. much longer.

3.  Are all sparkling wines considered Champagnes?


I have a funny story to share.  When I was a kid growing up, Christmas Day was very special because my parents took out the good China and bought sparkling wine for our Christmas Day dinner, and we were allowed to have a small sip each.  The wine was Baby Duck, and my parents called it Champagne.  And I thought we were all very elegant to be sipping this nose-tickling beverage.  And for years, I thought all sparkling wines were Champagnes.  Champagne was discovered by accident, when it went through a second fermentation in the bottle and the bubbles were created.

But in order for a wine to be called Champagne, it must come from the Champagne region of France.  And you’ll know, because Champagne has to be printed on the cork.  There are many other fantastic  sparkling wines,  even made by the traditional method that Champagne is made.  Italy makes beautiful Prosecco, Spain produces lovely Cava and here locally Benjamin Bridge are putting out spectacular sparkling wines  that are receiving worldwide attention.

So that’s the top 3 questions I have been getting over the past couple of months.  We’ll cover more questions at a later date, and if you have a question, send it over.

And my wine of the week is a fantastic Merlot that hails from Chile…


The Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Merlot has been given 90+ points and awarded Winery of the Year.  I enjoyed the 2011 Merlot which is certified organic and contains 85% Merlot and 15% Syrah.  The Syrah really adds nice spicy notes to the lush juicy Merlot grapes.  100% of the grapes used in this wine were hand harvested, which really speaks to the care taken in the making of this wine.  Worth every penny of the $32 I spent on it, and it’s full-bodied enough to pair well with beef, ribs or any other dinner where the meat is the main attraction.

Well, that’s it for me this week… There will not be a wine blog next week as I have tons of family coming to visit and we are having a bit of a family reunion  when my sister renews her vows

See you in two weeks, Cheers



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