Save Money on Wine at Fancy Restaurants

Have you ever heard of a bin end list? Many nicer restaurants and wine shops have them. They are a way to get a potentially nice bottle of wine at a nice discount.

If you are at a nicer restaurant (probably a restaurant who has a sommelier) you might want to ask if they have a bin end list. You can save some cash on wine. If you are at a store and know you are shopping for a wine to drink soon, then you might want to ask if they have a bin end list.

Some people have the wrong idea about bin end lists. They think they are the bottom of the barrel or old and expired wine. This is not the case.

Generally speaking, the wines that are on a bin end list are wines that the wine carrier or restaurant want to sell out of. It is usually because they are expecting a new vintage to come in and when that happens, the old vintage will just sit and eventually go bad which is of course a shame.

They could also be a wine that just didn’t sell well. This does not however mean that the wine is not good. It could just mean that for whatever reason that wine varietal did not sell well at a particular store or restaurant location.

A restaurant or wine shop is not going to sell you bad wine (knowingly). They risk losing your business and the potential of you telling other people that they have bad wine.

The point is that you shouldn’t think that asking for a bin end list is low class or cheap. Yes it is a way to save some money, but it is also a way to have some wine that you are probably not going to be able to get again.

 

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How To Taste Wine

This is simple, right? You drink wine to taste it. Actually there is a bit more to it than that.

There are several steps to ‘tasting’ wine if you want to get the full experience of the wine. If you do these things, you will not be disappointed (unless of course you are tasting a bad glass of wine).

There are many things that go into the wine tasting experience that many people might not even thing about. For example, you really should only taste wine in certain environments. If you are surrounded by a lot of different smells (like cooking smells or perfumes, etc.) the taste of your wine may be affected. Believe it or not, lighting can also have an affect on how you perceive the wine. So can noise and crowded spaces.

If you really want to taste a wine, you should make sure you are in a calm, quiet, clean, non-odorous environment. You also need to make sure your wine glass is clean and fresh. This all may seem a bit extreme, but it can make a difference.

Of course the temperature of the wine is a huge deal. You will have to consult with a professional to see what the recommended temperature is for your wine, but the taste is significantly affected. This is just something to keep in mind.

So the first part about the wine tasting experience is looking at the wine. This will be more meaningful after you have does a few tastings, but you can tell a lot about the color of your wine. Some red wines are very dark and some are much softer in color. You can anticipate the taste by looking at the color. Same goes for white wine. If the color is light, you might expect a lighter tasting wine, but if it is a darker yellow, you might expect some oak flavor.

After looking at your wine for a while, you should then swirl it around your glass. This allows it to open up and mix with the oxygen in the air. This can transform some of the flavors and aromas of the wine. It is important to let you wine breathe so that it can develop and offer you the best flavors.

After swirling for a bit, you will then proceed to smell the wine. You will put your nose into the glass as far as you are comfortable and take a nice breath in. You will want to sit with this experience for a while. Let your mind process the flavors. They can be good or bad, but you should really try to experience the smells. Try to detect what they are.

Of course your olfactory system is tied in with your taste buds. Meaning the smell affects the taste. Smelling the wine primes you for tasting it. Don’t skip this part, it is a very important part of the experience. Learn more about smelling wine.

Now it is time to taste the wine! But you are not going to take a big gulp and swallow it right away. Instead, you need to sip just a little bit and try to let is sit in your mouth while the flavors move around.  After you swallow it, reflect on what you sense. Ask yourself, what are the flavors? Is this nice? Is it strong? Does it taste like anything else? And when you think you are done evaluating then evaluate some more. The flavors in the wine may change as the settle in your mouth.

At this point, you may even want to smell the wine again. Just take your time to really experience the wine. Your experience will be very different than if you just open the bottle and take a swig. Wine is meant to be an experience, an elegant experience. Enjoy it as it is meant to be.

Another Awesome Wine App

Need another Wine Application? Well here you go!

We have talked before about some great wine applications and here is a new one that we found to be helpful.

It is always so hard to pair a nice bottle of wine with the perfect cheese. The 2 go so well together if paired correctly. In fact, a perfect pairing enhances the flavor of both the wine and the cheese. This is what you are looking for.

However, not everyone is skilled in this area. Well now there is help. Specifically, there’s an app for that!

That’s right, an application the will pair the perfect cheese for you bottle of wine. Think of how you will look at parties if you show up with a nice bottle and the perfect cheese to match!

For example, if I am serving Aged Gouda the app tells me that a Cabernet Sauvignon goes well and brings out the nutty and salty flavors of the cheese.

If I have Parmesan, it tells me to try a Malbec because both the wine and cheese are bold. However, if I prefer white wine, then a Prosecco is best (so the bubbles waken up the palate and can cut through any salty flavors from the cheese.

The app is simple to use and has a nice variety of cheeses.

Vinepair has a whole host of wine apps from how to calculate how much wine you will need for your party to wine quizzes. And now they have a Wine and Cheese Pairing App.

You can either enter the cheese you are serving or would like to serve and the app will give you what wine is best for that cheese. Or you can enter in the kind of wine you are drinking and it brings back a perfect cheese pairing.

They have a website with a ton of great information. You can check it out at Vinepair.com

Is Your Wine Bad?

No one wants to sit down to a nice glass of wine only to find out that it has gone bad. The taste is quite bad and can linger in your mouth. Sometimes however it is hard to tell if a wine has gone bad. Well here are some clues for you to look out for.

Check out the color of the wine. Either red or white, if the wine seems to be a darker shade than it should be then it might be bad. For example, a wine gone badred wine that seems to be more brownish in color than red may just have turned bad. Also a  white wine that is more yellowed or browned in color may also be bad.

Another sign is the cork coming out of the bottle. If you notice the wine cork is starting to come out of the bottle, then it is likely bad. The elements inside are pushing on the cork and this is a sign that what is inside is no good.

The smell of the wine is obvious, but sometimes wine can smell funny yet it is perfectly good. Here are some smells to watch out for. Does it smell like vinegar? Wine will eventually turn into a form of vinegar and this is when it has gone bad. Does it have a musty smell? Or does it smell like wet cardboard? If so, it very well may be bad.

Finally we have the taste of the wine. We generally don’t want to get to this point, but sometimes it is the only way to tell. If you wine tastes sour, it is bad. If it has a fizz, then it is bad.

When a wine had gone bad, there is nothing you can do about it. It is simply not drinkable. And this is surely a shame. I once transported wine across the country for a move. The truck that had my belongings (and my wine) sat for days in the hot sun. I feared my wine surely went bad. Ready to drink some, I opened bad bottle after bad bottle. A very sad occasion, but the wine was not at all drinkable.

This of course begs the question, what can be done to properly preserve wine. The best option for long-term storage is of course a wine cellar. Here the wine will stay at appropriately cool temperatures with controlled humidity. This is not always an option for a lot of people. Just make sure that you keep it in a dark, cool environment and always on its side (so that the wine has contact with the cork).

A wine cooler is of course a perfect storage option. You can find wine coolers in many shapes and sizes. Some can hold over 100 bottles and some can fit on your countertop (countertop wine coolers) and store just a few bottles at perfect drinking temperature. You can find many affordable wine coolers out there today.

What tends to ruin wine is harsh/ hot temperatures and harsh light. Keep these things in mind and you will be better able to protect your investment.

Selecting a Perfect Red Wine

Red wines can be complicated. There are quite a few to pick from and their taste is quite different.

Here is a brief guide to help you out when trying to make a selection.

It is good to start out knowing what you like, but even if you don’t that’s okay.

If you like dry wines, then try these:

Cabernet Sauvignon – This is a very popular red wine (dry). It is a full bodied wine so know what you are getting into. You are going to have some flavors. It is a dark wine too. That might sound strange if you think all red wines are the same ‘red’. They are not. Some are lighter than others. The Cab is a dark one. If you want to enjoy lots of interesting flavors in your wine then this is a good bet.

Another dry wine is Syrah. This wine is also dark and it is even darker than the Cabernet Sauvignon. Some nice flavors you can get from a Syrah include cherry, blackberry, plum, pepper, coffee and licorice. These are just a few though. This is also a complex wine and you are bound to find many flavors and aromas.

On the light side of things – you might like a Pinot Noir. This is probably the lightest red. It is light bodied and light in color. A lot of people say it is fruity in flavor. These wines are very tasty and refreshing.

Finally you have a Merlot. This is a pretty well know grape and wine. It is light too, but maybe not as light as the Pinot Noir. It is considered a dry wine, but the flavor is light. The nice thing about the Merlot is that it will generally go well with any meal.

There are tons more wines out there to consider. I will do a post on some of the others too.

Big Wine Drinkers

Who are the big wine drinkers?

The United States or France?

It is probably no surprise that France leads the pack as the country that produces that largest quantity of wine. (Italy and Spain are right behind them). But do they drink the most wine?

The answer is, yes. They do drink the most wine. But there are some interesting things to note about where the US stands in relation to them.

Last year (in 2013) the US actually purchased more wine than any other country. This was a first. It appears that the French are slowing down on their wine purchasing (while America speeds up).

So what is going on?

Is the US becoming a nation of alcoholics? Not necessarily. It really is just in the past several years that the US has not only had more access to better wine (no doubt from Europe), but has also acquired quite a taste for it. This could very well account for the increase in wine purchasing.

No need to worry about a nation of alcoholics just yet.

 

 

3 Ways To Chill Wine

That is 3 ways to chill wine that you want to drink, but is at room temperature.

One way is the old wrap some papertowels around the wine bottle and stick it in the freezer. The certainly works and can drop the temperature within 15 minutes. There are however classier ways to get your wine temp down to where you want it.

One of the classier ways is to put some frozen grapes in it. Of course you have to have frozen grapes in your freezer (which I incidentally do). Lots of people grab for the ice to cool down their wine, but this ruins the flavor of the wine. But a grape that is frozen wine coolerscan act like a little ice cube that doesn’t melt, but just chills. After a bit, you will have chilled wine and then you can just remove the grapes!

The other, slightly classier way to cool down your wine is to put it in a wine bucket with some ice water. You will look fancy with a wine bucket and you can keep your wine out and in the chilled water so it maintains a good drinking temperature.

All of these methods should only take 15 minutes or so and then you will have your wine ready for you.

 

Wine Applications For Your Smart Phone

There are so many great wine applications to help you with wine selection and also remembering what you thought of a certain wine. Here are a few great apps:

  • Wine Ratingsentertaining with wine
  • Vintage Chart
  • Guide to Napa Valley
  • Vivino
  • Hello Vino
  • Delectable

My favorite however, is Delectable (only iOS application right now).

What it does is let you share your wine recommendations and come across new wines from other users. Here is what you do. Take a image of the wine you could be considering trying. The application software in the app will determine the wine and connect you to opinions about the wine so that you could produce a determination as to whether or not you wish to acquire it.

You will also be able to buy it right from the application if you like.

Leaving your own review of a wine is helpful to other users. You follow the same procedure as above, but simply leave your comments about the wine (and read how others feel about it too). Your assessment will then be offered to other users from the app.

What I like more about this application over some of the others is the fact that they offer opinions from experts in the wine industry. This is valuable to me as a user. A lot of people don’t necessarily have a taste for wine, but certain people who are trained in this area are much more qualified to leave a review.

Lots of these apps are valuable in different ways, but if you are looking to only use one, then give this one a try.

 

What Shape Is Your Wine Glass?

Are you aware of the fact that the form and shape of your wine glass will have an effect on exactly how much wine you get in that glass as well as just how much of that wine you drink?

We might think that everyone should pour wine the same. But this is simply not true. It is also not true that if you have a different style of wine glass that you will get the same amount as your neighbor.

Studies have recently shown researchers that the style and shape of a wine glass impacts just how much wine we place in it. One example is, wide glasses get additional pouring than narrow glasses.

Not just that, you will drink significantly less wine if you drink out of a narrow glass because you are under the guise that you are receiving more.wine glass

The problem seems to be with our assessment of volume. That is, when we see how much a glass is filled, we don’t necessarily take into account that it might be wider. It seems as though our subconscious can’t differentiate the two.

This is assumed to be why people are likely to drink much less when they drink from a glass that is more narrow, as they assume they are getting more than they actually are.

It also seems that holding your glass when someone is pouring your wine will get you more wine. Again, people have a hard time with volume judging and holding the glass in a different position throws people off.

Now you have some tips on getting more wine in your glass!