The red wines produced in Italy are amongst some of the absolute best in the world, so naturally you should look to get the most out of any bottle that you have the privilege of consuming. Of course, those who are new to the world of Italian wine may find this a little difficult, especially if they don’t really know what they are looking for or why particular kinds of wines are considered more desirable than others.
Thankfully, the industry is so massive that a little experimentation can go a long way and is, in fact, one of the most enjoyable parts of the journey. However, for those who want a little bit of a helping hand, here we will look at some basic tips for selecting a red wine that you can use to help you find the right drink for you.
Selecting The Type of Wine
There are many red wines out there, not all of which are going to gel with your personal tastes. As such, it is a good idea to learn more about the characteristics that different Italian reds are capable of displaying, so you have a higher chance of picking one that is going to suit your palette.
The first thing you need to consider is the body of the wine. Those with fuller bodies will generally be a little more complex, often because the grapes have been grown in areas where the temperatures are a little higher. They will also often have higher alcohol contents and take a little bit of exploring to really get the most out of. As such, those who are new to red wines may find that they prefer a lighter-bodied red, which are also usually lighter in colouring. These will usually be a little more refreshing than their full-bodied companions.
In many ways it all comes down to the temperature, both in the growing of the grapes and the current climate you’re experiencing. Fuller bodied wines are great for colder weather, where they complement hot meals that contain a lot of meat. Furthermore, they are also served warmer in general, making them perfect winter wines. Light-bodied reds, on the other hand, tend to be a little more refreshing, so are best consumed in warmer weather. This makes them great for those who don’t particularly like white wines but still want to enjoy a glass of wine in warm weather.
Now that you have your bottle of Italian red wine, you need to start thinking about storing it, unless you are going to open it immediately. Proper storage of red wines is important, so it helps to know the ideal temperature for your wine so that it maintains its complexion and tastes as good as it looks when you are ready to crack it open.
Red wines should be kept in fairly chilled environments, with an ideal storage temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit being recommended. Most people will place the bottle in a dark pantry or cellar for best results, though some may be tempted to use a fridge. This can work, but you need to be careful as the temperature in the fridge is often a little too cool and may lead to the wine getting spoiled if it is left there for a long period of time.
Ideally, you should also keep the bottles away from ovens and other heat sources, as again this can lead to the wine inside getting spoiled. After all, you don’t want to run the risk of drying the cork out or even cooking the wine while it is inside the bottle.
So, basically, keep it cool and consistent. As a final note, wines that are going to be stored for a long period of time are best laid down flat, unless they are screw tops, in which case you should be fine to keep them standing.
Opening and Drinking
Now we come to the fun part; actually drinking the wine. There are a number of things that will play into the experience and ensure you get the most out of your Italian red, with how you open the bottle in the first place being very important. As such, you should make sure you get a corkscrew or similar device that allows you to easily remove the cork without pushing it into the bottle. The opener should be easy to handle and not leave you feeling irritated due to having to struggle with it.
Now that the bottle is open, you should let a little bit of air into the wine so that its unique chemical composition can interact with the air around it to really release the flavours stored in the wine. This is called aerating and it is something that many connoisseurs do to open up aromas, expand the bouquet, allow any gasses that were inside the bottle to dissipate, bring more out of the flavours and allow the wine to warm up to room temperature, which is often ideal for serving.
Most people make use of a decanter for this purpose, though these will place demands on your time as you will often need to leave the wine in one for anywhere between 30 minutes and a couple of hours, depending on the vintage. For those who feel that time is more of an issue, an aerating pourer is a great alternative that still allows them to get the most out of the wine. These handy little devices will essentially decant the wine as it is being poured, making it a much quicker process.
Once the wine is poured, all that’s left is to enjoy it. With so many great Italian wines out there, it is worth exploring to find ones that are capable of satisfying your tastes. A little bit of research goes a long way, allowing you to discover which wines are best with certain meals, for example. Such factors should be considered before you make any purchase. You will soon find yourself developing a taste for wines from certain regions, allowing you to explore different producers in the process.