9 Questions About Wine You’re Too Embarrassed To Ask Food Notes

If your knowledge of wine doesn’t extend beyond the colour difference between red and white, fear not. To celebrate the availability of La Vieille Ferme wines in supermarkets, Emil Teo, executive director of Taste of Tradition, was on hand to field some questions from wine novices at a Cold Storage supermarket recently. Here’s what I gathered from the session.

The lighter the colour of the wine, the colder it should be served. Am I right?

Pretty much. Rule of thumb: red wines are typically served at 20°C, and white wines, at 10°C. In tropical Singapore, however, room temperature is most certainly not 20°C, so it’s best to chill the bottle of red wine in a bucket of cold water just 10 minutes before serving.

I often see waiters holding a wine bottle by its base and pouring it. Does that make the wine taste any better than if I were to hold the bottle by its neck?

No, the former just looks nicer.

Right. What about the shape of the glass? Does it matter?

Unless you are training to become a sommelier, don’t bother about the shape. One thing you should note is that the wine shouldn’t go beyond the widest part of the glass; this is so the aromas of the wine can collect inside the bowl when you swirl the glass. Smelling is such a large part of the wine tasting experience.

If the wine comes with a cork, does that mean it’s of better quality than screw-capped wines?

The more traditional wineries would never consider screw caps but, let’s face it, screw caps are so much more convenient. In fact, screw caps are the preferred stoppers for wines that are meant to be drunk young.

Wait, what? Isn’t wine supposed to taste better with age?

True – only a tiny fraction of wines, though. Most wines are meant to be drunk young; wine maturity does have its limits, you know?

Wow. My whole life has been a lie.

It’s a very common misconception people have about wines and ageing, so don’t be too hard on yourself. 

Okay, so after I open a bottle of wine, should I refrigerate it?

Yes, and make sure you close it with a proper wine stopper before refrigerating it. See, after you open the bottle, the wine is at risk of oxidation (overexposure to oxygen). Keep the bottle upright and chilled so the rate of reaction is much, much slower. And, try not to keep it in the refrigerator for more than two days. Drink up!

Not a problem. Speaking of refrigerator, what’s the deal with wine chillers? Are they any different from normal refrigerators?

If you’re an avid wine collector, sure, go for a wine chiller – it is designed to keep the humidity level constant for long-term storage. The temperature drop is also more gradual, as compared to the rapid drop in regular refrigerators. But for leisure drinkers, a regular refrigerator would more than suffice.

Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, chardonnay, pinot noir … obviously I just copied all of them from the internet and pasted here. What the heck do they mean? Is one better than the other?

They are some of the varieties of red and white wines. You can easily learn more about the differences between the varieties by Googling them. To be honest? When it comes to taste, it all boils down to the word “pleasure”. Regardless of the type of wine you’re drinking or the food you pair it with, as long as the wine brings you pleasure, that’s all that matters.

Final question: what does the label on wine bottles that say “cold-chain import” mean?

Basically, the label tells you the wine was delivered to Singapore using cold-chain logistics. This means, proper measures are taken – from the transportation to the warehousing – to ensure the quality of the wine remains in pristine condition. Look for this label when you’re selecting a bottle of wine from supermarkets.

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La Vieille Ferme is now available at Cold Storage, Marketplace, Jasons, Meidi-Ya, and Isetan.

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