Making the Most of Your Beloved Italian Red Wine – The Key Mistakes to Avoid

It’s fair to say that we’ve waxed lyrical about the wonders of Italian red wine in this blog more than a few occasions.

But you can’t be surprised!

We have such a passion for the ruby nectar that we can’t help but talk about how amazing it is. And when it comes to Italian red wines, there’s such a huge amount of variety to consider that it’s almost impossible to end up not liking any of them.

But we’ve talked about what’s amazing about red wine plenty of times in the past. 

In this article, we want to make sure that you get everything that Italian red wine promises, and so much more. That’s why we’re going to focus on the mistakes that many people make with their red wines.

If you avoid everything on this list, you’ll enjoy a red wine exactly how the producer intended you to.

Mistake #1 – Poor Storage

We hope that you already know that red wine should never go in the fridge. While the wine needs cool temperatures, going too cool destroys its integrity. The fridge is for white wines, which really come to life when cooled.

For reds, you need to find a place that’s dark and cool. That’s why so many wine collectors have cellars for storage. This guarantees the ideal conditions for their red wine.

Keeping the wine in the dark ensures that sunlight can’t negatively affect the contents. And keeping it cool, though not refrigerated, is recommended to maintain the wine’s composition. It’s also a good idea to lay the bottle on its side to prevent sedimentary build-up at the bottom.

Mistake #2 – Keeping a Bottle for Too Long After Opening

The moment you pop the cork on your bottle, your red wine starts undergoing a process called oxidization. This is essentially a chemical reaction that changes the composition of the wine and alters its taste.

Red wine producers accounts for this, which is why it’s often a good idea to decant a wine and allow it to breathe before serving. The goal here is to achieve the optimal taste that the wine’s capable of.

However, oxidation will eventually damage a wine. Even if you reseal the bottle, the trapped air continues to have an effect. That’s why you should always aim to drink your red wine within a couple of days of opening. Or, you could purchase a vacuum pump from the Xtrawine store to help the bottle maintain its integrity for a little while longer.

Speaking of oxidation…

Mistake #3 – Drinking the Wine As Soon As You Open the Bottle

We know that the temptation to get that first taste of your new wine can feel overbearing. But as we mentioned above, many wines reach their full potential after a small period of oxidation.

If you drink as soon as you open the bottle, you don’t give the wine a chance to breathe. This changes the experience as the wine likely won’t demonstrate its full array of aromas and flavours.

Most experts recommend decanting a wine for about an hour before you serve it. If you don’t have a decanter, pouring the wine into a glass jug will do the trick.

Mistake #4 – Serving Your Red Wine Too Warm

“Wait, wait, wait,” we hear you say. “Didn’t you just tell us not to chill our red wines?”

Indeed we did. But we also mentioned that they need to be stored in cool conditions. Temperature is really a delicate balancing act when it comes to red wine. Going too far on either direction damages the integrity of the drink.

So…what should you aim for?

The ideal serving temperature for red wine falls between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius. Outside of that range, you have a wine that won’t reach its full potential.

This is especially important to note during the summer, when room temperature could exceed 18 degrees Celsius. In such cases, it’s worth taking the wine to a cool place to achieve the optimum temperature before serving.

Mistake #5 – Sticking to Just One Type

If you take Italy alone, there are literally hundreds of red wines to choose from. And each of these wines has its own flavours and characteristics. Your experiences with a Barolo will be completely different to your experiences with a Chianti, which will differ from a Barbaresco. Heck, you could take two Barolo wines from two different producers and have a varying experience.

The point we’re making is that you shouldn’t just look at a bottle as a “red wine”. Find out what type it is and who made it. Research the grapes used and the flavours that you can expect. Assuming one bottle of red wine will be anything like another is a recipe for disappointment. It can also prevent you from discovering an amazing wine that would knock your socks off!

Mistake #6 – Using the Wrong Type of Glass

Have you ever wondered why there are so many sizes of wine glass available?

No, it’s not so that homeware companies can make more money from you. The simple fact is that different types of wine work best in certain types of glasses.

For example, we have the Champagne flute. The name alone tells you that this type of glass is perfect for sparkling white wines. It also suggests that reds aren’t best suited to this type of glass.

As a general rule, narrow glasses are for white wines while wider ones work best for reds. How wide the glass need to be often depends on the type of wine that you’re drinking.

The Final Word

So, how many of these mistakes have you made when drinking your Italian red wines? Each one of them can limit your experience by preventing the wine from reaching its full potential.

But now that you know what not to do, you can avoid these mistakes.

All that’s left is to get your hands on some red wine. That’s where we come in. Check out our extensive catalogue to find the perfect Italian red wine for you.



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