Introduce Yourself

Snooth User: Kate Elizabeth

Newbie Wino with a lot to share!

Posted by Kate Elizabeth, Jul 17, 2015.


I have always liked a bit of wine, but I never considered it more than something cheap in a bar to get drunk on until quite recently when I started researching the power of decanting. Since then, I have been hooked, and have since been writing blogs about the topic! I find these blogs a really good way to actually see if what I have learnt is correct - and a fantastic oppurtunity to get to know well established winos who always seem happy to offer advice and teach me more (or where to fix my blog!)

Here is my first example :D



Reply by Really Big Al, Jul 17, 2015.

Welcome to the forum Kate.

Interesting wine blog.  I decant on occasion, but not all my reds.  The deciding factor is usually how much I plan to drink.  If I'm opening up a new bottle for my wife and I to serve with dinner, then I usually reach for the decanter.  

Reply by dvogler, Jul 17, 2015.

Hi Kate,

I'll be nice and welcome you to the forum.   Not many people are going to go read a blog and then offer advice.  People should write articles when they've gained the experience and knowledge to support their views, like a good writer or journalist.  In the meantime, try lots of wine and take notes.  Figure out what you like.  BTW, what are your favourites so far?

Reply by GregT, Jul 17, 2015.

Well said DV. It's interesting that there are so many blogs about wine.

Anyway Kate, welcome. You might want to do some additional research, because in the few years that I've been interested in wine, I can't find any support for some of your assertions.

For example,

  • White wine, Rosé and Sparkling wine are stored at cooler temperatures than red wines.
  • Wine stored in the ambient temperature of 20 to 21 degrees Celsius (68 to 70F) will keep for several months.

Why on earth would you store white wine at a cooler temp than red wine? And how did you come up with the idea that generic "wine" stored at 20-21 will keep for several months? What happens after several months? I have had some wine sitting on the floor for several months. Does that mean four, five, ten or twelve months? (BTW, the wine is just fine.)

And why would you pour at a 45 degree angle into a decanter? If the whole point is to beat in some air, pour it right down the middle and let it splash! Those are the kinds of things one might find on a blog or some magazine article, but those are usually written by someone who became excited about wine quite recently, and they are often uncritical repetitions of someone else.

I'm not going to go through point by point, but you might want to do as DV suggests.

That said, it's a fun journey and I wish you the best.

Reply by Kate Elizabeth, Jul 17, 2015.

Hi everyone, when I say I am a newbies, i'd say it's only been a few weeks of properly looking into it! Most of the content in the blog is what I derived from research from around the web and testing it out myself, but posting it here and getting feedback from you guys lets me know where I may have missed something or should try something different. I've had a lot of support regarding my journey into wine and what I have learnt so far :) 

My tastes are extremley simple right now, but recently got a large shipment from France braught over over 100 different bottles of a selection of reds to try!


Reply by EMark, Jul 17, 2015.

Welcome, Kate Elizabeth.  We look forward to exchanging ideas and experiences with you.

GregT is, arguably one of the most knowledgeable and well-written contributors to this board.  I look for his posts because they are informed, and I consistently learn from him.  That being said I do have to question one of his statements, above.  I agree that pouring it right down the middle and letting it splash is a very effective way to aerate a wine.  Also, and this is just my guess, I'll bet that 90% of the time, the purpose of decanting a wine is to aerate it.  However, what if the purpose of decanting is to separate the sediment from the liquid?  In that case, I really don't think spashing the wine right down the middle of the decanter will achieve that goal.  Now, in Greg's defense, not that he needs my defense, the amount of wines that actually have noticeable sediment is really quite low.  Also, some of us are able to drink our wine and leave the few crystals of sediment at the bottom of the glass.

While we're at it, since you now have this new passion, I wonder if you would perform a test for me.  I do not particularly subscribe to the notion that a vast majority of wines need aeration.  So, I would like you to prove me wrong with the following test.

  • Buy four bottles of the same wine.  Preferably, a wine that you think will benefit from aeration.
  • Invite four or five of your wine drinking friends over.
  • Prior to the arrival of your friends decant two of the bottles of wine. 
  • Without your friends seeing you.  Pour five glasses of wine for each of them.  Each set of five glasses will consist of either

    -- two glasses poured straight from a bottle and three glasses poured from a decanter


    -- three glasses poured straight from the bottles and two glasses poured from a decanter.

    Of course, you must code each glass so that only you know which ones contain wine from a bottle and which ones contain wine from a decanter.
  • Provide each of your tasters with paper and ask them to write a sensory description of each glass--sight, smell, taste.  Please ask your tasters to not discuss the wines among themselves until the last taster has finished his/her last description.  This part is particularly important because, in the scenario that I am imagining each taster will probably have a different sequence of decanted/non-decanted tastes.
  • Review the tasters' descriptions and see if there is any consistency in the way the decanted wines are described vs. how the straight-from-the-bottle wines are described.  Of course we are looking for evidence that your tasters' descriptions of the decanted wines can be construed as better than their descriptions of the non-decanted wines.

I have never heard of such a test being done.  Your findings may completely change my attitude and bring me into the mainstream thinking of wine buffs.

Reply by JonDerry, Jul 17, 2015.

Welcome Katie, that selection of 100 French wines should keep you busy. Keep on learning and posting as long as it's fun. Cheers

Reply by GregT, Jul 18, 2015.

Emark - what you describe is exactly what you would do when you present your wines to Robert Parker or another critic who doesn't taste blind. You open a half dozen or more at say, six, five, four, three, two hours before and taste to see which one is best and that's the one you show if you want to get the best score. Actually, you will have done that week or two earlier so taht you have an idea of which is the best time, and then you do that before showing the wine so you can account for delays, etc.

As far as pouring down the side of the decanter, that's why I said "IF" the point is to beat in air. If that's not the point, then it really doesn't matter! As a broad rule of thumb, you would hard decant the younger wines and do a more gentle decant with older wines, but that's not 100 pct of the time.

As to whether decanting is needed or not, I don't think that every wine needs decanting, but I've come around to thinking that some can really benefit. In fact, I'm drinking a Zin right now that I know from experience benefits from decanting so I decanted it an hour early. Poured it right down the center splashing it around as much as I could and then I shook it up some more.

Kate - what Jon said. You should have fun with those French wines.

Might I suggest however, that your blog take a different approach?

If, as you say and which seems apparent, you have little experience but a lot of enthusiasm, then rather than copy what you read on the internet, which may be posted by people with less experience than you, maybe you chronicle your learning journey.

For example, regarding the earlier things I pointed out, rather than state as fact that white and red wines should be stored at different temps, which is completely silly, you might write that you have read such an assertion and you can invite comment. In fact, that's absolutely not true and although people sell wine coolers with different temp zones, those are only taking advantage of people's ignorance. In retail, there are few things better than a dumb guy with a lot of money to spend.

And regarding keeping wine for a few months - check out some of the retail shops near your house. Most of them don't store wine in pristine conditions and in some cases, the wine sits on the shelf for months and months, gathering dust and cobwebs. Of course, if you like aged wine, you keep it in a cool cellar for thirty years or so.

Remember, just because something is posted on the internet doesn't mean it's true. Magazines and journals need to sell ads - they often don't care whether what's written is actually based in fact. And there are all kinds of certifications, medals, awards, etc. these days for wine writing, so I'd be skeptical of most of those too.

But all that aside, wine is fun and you'll have a great time with the wines you got from France.

Reply by EMark, Jul 18, 2015.

Once again, I neglected to read all the words.  My bad.  You would think that I would learn from previous mistakes.

Me culpa.  Mea culpa.  Mea maxima culpa.

Reply by Kate Elizabeth, Jul 21, 2015.

Hello Gregt, thank you for taking the time to write a responce to me, I have found it really insightful and helpful and will put it (and everything everyone else has said) towards my next posts. I do admit I am very new to this, writing that is, not just wine! So probably have an exceptionally naive aproach which will hopefully only improve :)

Reply by Kate Elizabeth, Jul 21, 2015.

Also, i read Wine Temps 101 on this site and found it still to be true to what I wrote and though its not a hard rule, I couldnt find any drastic differences.

Reply by vin0vin0, Jul 21, 2015.

Hi Kate E., welcome to Snooth! Hope you enjoy your wine journey, I know I've been having a great time learning and experiencing.  I'd love to see what those 100 French wines you have consist of, my experience with French wine is limited in comparison to California.

One minor point wrt your note above. I believe GregT was talking about storage temps, not serving temps.

Looking forward to interacting with you, have fun!

Reply by Kate Elizabeth, Jul 21, 2015.

In storage temps I simply put that if you keep it cool enough, you wont damage your wine, but i think my wording must be off as many people here seem to have taken it quite literally :) I will look at revising that. And when i get a list written up of them all I will share!

Reply by GregT, Jul 21, 2015.

Nice pics. Regarding the temps, I think part of the problem is that your heading says "Wine storage temps" but only the first two points talk, about storage, the rest of them talk about serving temps. Not to nit-pick, but the first one is wrong, the second partly true but really, for long-term wine storage you want something south of 60 degrees and some people keep things down in the low 50s or even less. I don't, but there's little reason not to. For short term, in other words within a year or two, I suppose if you stay out of the high 70s and above you're probably OK, although cooler is better. You can store your whites and sparkling wines right next to your reds and in pretty much every cellar I've ever visited that's what people do. In some cases they've been doing it for hundreds of years.

As to serving temps, you are right - you don't really want to serve at the same temp you store. That's kind of true for a lot of things - you don't want to store your roast chicken at 300 degrees for a few days, nor would you serve it fresh out of the fridge if it wasn't cooked!

Regarding serving below room temperature - that's kind of true but then again it's one of those things that's rather meaningless in another way. Lots of old French and Italian farmhouses and castles were made of thick walls of stone. Those had the wonderful effect of keeping the interior rather cool even though nobody had air conditioning. Wine would be stored in a cave or in a cellar dug into a hill. Because the homes were often cool, even in the summer, "room temperature" might be say, 67 F.  In New York City, in mid winter, people keep their apartments at 78F. It's extremely uncomfortable for me. In the winter, I used to keep my house in the 60s because I get hot fairly quickly. The point is that's quite a range for "room temperature".

So depending on your room temp, you may or may not want things cooler. Generally I like wines in the 60s for the reasons you say - the warmer the temp, the more you taste the alcohol and sugar. OTOH, you also get more aromas. So it's actually nice to have a rule of thumb, and in general you would serve whites slightly cooler than reds, but I can think of many cases where I wouldn't necessarily do that.

BTW - how did you manage to score all that wine?


Reply by Kate Elizabeth, Jul 22, 2015.

Haha, we made an order from France as a friend was travelling over and was able to bring it back for us in the car.


Everything you said makes perfect sense to me, so I think i have just wrote it all wrong in my post, I will be sure to correct myself shortly. After writing a guest post for the Social Vignerons on wine tempratures yesterday I was able to "come to terms" a lot better with my own understanding - so this has helped a lot :)

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