Wednesday, May 1, 2013

{Wine Wednesday} Wine 101: You Can't Take the Heat

Wow, has it already been a month since this series launched? I can't believe it, but it's true!  Happy May, my friends.  In DC, we are used to May being our last taste of tolerable weather before the unbearable and humid months of the summer so graciously greet us. 

We wrote a little last month about the importance of storing wine at the right temperature, but today we will give you the reasons behind this guidance.  Wine is complex, and not for any intimidating or discouraging reasons, but because, like our mother reminds us often, that is the way it is.  Think of wine as a temperature-controlled chemistry experiment and the change of a single element (heat) will change the 'chemical makeup' of everything else in the bottle. 

Storing, or even exposing your wine to heat, can cause all sorts of problems and quickly turn an unsuspecting bottle into an undesirable, and often undrinkable situation.  This is known as 'cooked' wine.  While wine ages slowly, and very well, in desirable temperatures, heat swiftly speeds up the aging process and causes its deterioration.  Have you ever heard of someone saving a bottle of wine for years and years only to open it and taste dirty grape juice?  Well, that is what even the best bottles of vino can become when left in extreme heat from 75 degrees F and higher for several hours.  

Signs of cooked wine include a pushed cork (when the cork looks like it's trying to open itself off of the bottle), or worse, the wine will bleed through the cork and begin to spill all over the place - be it the trunk of your car or your wine storage area. 

If you don't have a proper way to cool down your wines from that brutal summer heat, invest in a wine fridge, or, unscrew those corks and start drinking!  What are you waiting for?

Our basement - naturally cool and a great home for our wine collection

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