1. After you bring your wine home, let them (especially the reds) rest for at least two weeks. Keep them in a cool, dark place, to let them settle in. Often we have opened a bottle of one of very special wine the same night we bought it, because we just couldn’t wait—and have been disappointed to drink a confused bounced about wine. Well you know what our drive way is like.
2. When you store your wine, DO keep them somewhat cool. Room temperature in the summer in Australia is probably too hot. Well our house can often reach 35oC during summer, sometimes hotter if Ben leaves the curtains open. Try to keep your wine about 10oC or less. And leaving your wine in the back seat of the car is probably going to be too hot.
3. Most wines in Australia have a screw cap closure, or zork. The closure seal will keep the wine perfect and prevent oxygen spoiling the wine. If the wine has a cork closure, ensure that you test the wine before serving. There are statistics that indicate that up to 12% of wines under cork closures have wine spoilage.
4. If is often recommended to open a wine up to an hour before serving to allow the wine to “breath”. This means to allow the wine to get some oxygen contact or aerate the wine. Other people will pour wines into a decanter; the pouring action from bottle to decanter gives a sufficient exposure to oxygen.
5. Before taking a single sip, first swirl the wine in your glass—this helps combine oxygen with the wine, helping to bring the aromas and tastes out. Next, be sure to take a long, earnest whiff. Stick your nose right into the glass and really take in the aroma (also known as the “nose”). Smell is a huge part of tasting, and this will help prepare your taste buds for the next phase of enjoyment.
6. Observe the colour of the wine. A brown tinge will indicate that the wine is getting quite old.
7. When you take a sip (or, for that matter, a swig), hold the wine in your mouth. Swish and chew. This will allow every surface of your tongue and palate to taste and sense the tastes, tanginess (acidity), freshness, sensations such as “velvety” (mouthfeel), and more.
8. Allow yourself to experience the “finish,” or how long the taste of the wine lingers in your mouth and throat after you swallow it.
9. If you are really keen, you may want to keep track of the wines you have tried in a notebook or you phone. Make a record of the name, type of wine, vintage (year), and your own personal rating of it. Keep tasting notes on everything you sample. You can post your notes about Wimmera Hills wine on this website.
10. Another good ideas is to attend wine tasting events. They are the best way to find new great wines is to go to tasting events. Forget about stores’ descriptions and even the reviews: it’s really best to build your own list from direct experience.
11. Start a tasting group with your fellow wine-geek friends, like a book club but better. Meet once a week or once a month; agree on a certain item to explore such as grape variety, country or origin, wine region, vintage (i.e. 2010), or even price point. You can do blind tastings if you wish by placing each person’s “pot luck” offering into a paper bag.
12. Vintage matters, the growing season can change the wine dramatically. Keep track of the vintages you like. Wimmera Hills Winery offers “vertical tasting” packs so that you compare wines over the various growing seasons.