We all know that the Italian wine industry is steeped in tradition.
For centuries, producers and consumers alike have searched for ways to create and enjoy the best wines. So many little rules and procedures have been born from this search, each of which is designed to ensure that you enjoy the best of any wine that you care to sample.
But what about the things that you shouldn’t do with Italian wine?
We often spend so much time focused on how to properly store, open, and drink our wines that we don’t stop to think about what we shouldn’t do if we want to ensure the wine maintains its quality and integrity.
So, that’s what we’re going to do here.
These are just some of the things you should never do with your Italian wine.
Never Store Red Wine Below 8.5b Degrees Celsius
Temperature plays a huge role in determining the quality of your wine. If you leave a wine in the sun for too long, for example, the heat will completely change its composition. You may find that the wine ages so quickly that it spoils, making it practically undrinkable.
Of course, cold temperatures can have negative effects too.
But this is where it gets more complicated. It’s easy to keep a bottle of wine out of the heat. However, we’re also told to keep wines in chilled spaces as a result. So, the question is how chilled is too chilled.
The answer is 8.5 degrees Celsius.
At least for Italian red wines.
White wines can be safely kept in the fridge and chilled to around the 5 degrees Celsius mark. But if you try to do the same with a red wine, you’ll ruin it just as quick as you would if you left it out in the heat.
Never Add Water to Wine
We get why people do this.
You’ve come back from a hard day at work and you fancy a glass of wine. However, you also want to ensure you stay sober. So, you add a little water, or some ice, to lower the alcohol volume a little.
It makes sense.
But this seemingly logical solution can also completely ruin the wine.
Think of your bottle of wine as a chemical composition. A producer has worked tirelessly to achieve a perfect chemical balance, thus creating the wine that you’re about to drink. By adding water to that wine, you’re introducing a bunch of chemical elements that completely change the drink’s structure.
This affects everything from the wine’s taste through to its body.
Traditionalists will tell you that water should never be anywhere near wine. And frankly, we’re inclined to agree with them.
Never Drink Wine From A Warm Glass
Again, we’re back to temperature.
This is an easy mistake to make. You pull a glass straight from the dishwasher or run it under warm water to clean it before drinking and you have a warm glass. This is a problem because heat can ruin your first impression of your wine. You’re essentially adding something to the wine’s composition that isn’t meant to be there.
The good news is that this is a simple one to solve.
Run some cold water over the glass for a few seconds and you end up with a chilled glass that’s ideal for serving white wine. For reds, run the glass under cold water and then give it a minute or two to adjust to room temperature. Assuming the room isn’t too warm, you’ll end up with the right temperature for your glass.
Never Leave it Open for Too Long
We move back from temperature and right into chemical composition territory again.
As soon as you open a bottle of wine, air floods in. This isn’t a bad thing, at least initially. The air allows the wine to go through the oxygenation process, which is often essential for releasing the flavours in the wine. This is why many people decant Italian red wines before serving them.
However, oxygen will eventually ruin the wine’s composition if you allow too much exposure.
Whenever possible, seal your bottle after serving. If you can do this with a vacuum pump, then that’s even better. If you leave the bottle open, the wine will be ruined in very short order.
Never Drink Sparkling Wine From a Flute
This one may be a little controversial.
After all, flutes were designed for sparkling wine. Why would you choose not to drink this type of wine from the very glass that was designed for it?
The answer comes down to aroma.
Champagne flutes are designed to trap the wine’s bubbles. This creates a gorgeous aesthetic, especially when you first pour the wine. The problem is that the narrow flute doesn’t really allow the full aroma of the wine to escape. This means you’re not getting the true sparkling wine experience when you drink from a flute.
Many traditionalists will tell you that it’s better to drink these types of wines from a standard white wine glass for this reason. However, others argue for the flute because it keeps the wine fizzy for longer.
So, this is less of a “never” and more of a situation where you’ve got to make your choice depending on what you prioritise.
The Final Word
We often make the act of drinking wine fairly complicated.
For some, it should be as simple as opening a bottle, pouring, and then drinking. And if that works for you, then go for it! As long as you’re enjoying your wine, that is all that matters.
However, if you want to get the very best out of the wines that you spend your hard-earned money on, aim to never do the things we’ve listed in this article. You’ll ensure your wine stays in the best possible state for drinking, allowing you to appreciate it more.
Of course, we offer plenty of wines for you to sample. And after this list of things you should never do, it feels good to tell you that you should definitely sample the extensive Xtrawine collection as soon as you can.
I’m a passionate about good wine and good cooking.
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