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Let it Breathe
(Red Wine)

by Liana Bennett

We know it; we are a fast moving society that needs things now.  We know we need to slow down and enjoy life but we just can’t do it. Well, I’ve got a great reason to take some time and wait:  red wine.

Red wine is essentially made by squeezing the clear juice from red skinned grapes and adding those skins back into the liquid to dye the wine red.  The skins are full of a substance called tannin.  Tannin is found not only in the skins but in the leaves and stems too.  It is a property responsible for stabilizing and ageing the wine as well as giving it that nasty astringent taste (think black tea).  Because red wine has gone through the skin contact that white wine hasn’t, tannin is found primarily in the reds. 

Before drinking a bottle of red wine, open it up for at least 20 minutes, if not up to two hours.  First of all, this gives the wine time to come to the proper room temperature serving temperature.

Secondly, the air will mellow out the tannins making the wine smoother and allow the aromas and flavors to come forth over the tannins.  It is better to decant the wine into a glass pitcher or even into individual wine glasses as there is more exposure to the air, but any air time is good. 

Remember, since the point is to soften the tannins, aerating wine is best used for the big guns like Cabernets, Shiraz and the heavy-hitting Italians.  Don’t worry about the softer Burgundys or Merlots and never bother with the whites. There are few things in life I can guarantee, and this is one of them  – let it breathe, you’ll love it!

Wines to Seek Out
There are an endless number of varieties and wines in the world.  Many times, varieties and wines native to a country do not travel far from their place of origin.  For those of us who do not journey to far off lands, we can only rely on what our local wine shops bring in for us to try. 

Horrocks is offering a few Bavarian selections that we don’t often see on the shelves.  They have a sweet red German wine from Schlink Haus that is teeming with blackberries.  The Austrian Glatzer Gruner Veltliner 2004 is a must try not only for its rarity but also for its crisp, ripe apricot flavors. There are several other off the beaten path choices that won’t be around long.

From: The Beverage Alcohol Report - Feb, 2006, Liana Bennett.
The Beverage Alcohol Report (The BAR) was published on a monthly basis until May, 2006 compliments of Liana Bennett. Its main purpose was to further the knowledge, appreciation and general enjoyment of all alcoholic beverages. Your comments, questions and tasting stories can be sent to



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