So, you’ve been asked to bring wine to a party and you have no idea what wine to choose. We’ve all been there. What are they serving? You have no idea. Do they like red or white? Who knows. How many people will be there? Plenty. Therefore, when in doubt, go big. Go magnum.
Why more people don’t use this party trick is beyond me. It looks impressive and it’s fun for people to pour. And for whatever reason, it just feels fancier. Guess what? It’s not going to break the piggy bank either. You can get a a lot of great magnums (equal to 2 bottles of wine) for under $50. I tend to bring bubbly or a versatile red to a party, but whether you settle on a white or red or whatever, you’ll be everyone’s wine hero.
Photos from our all magnum Domaine LA staff holiday dinner.
Q: Can you put some ice in this for me? Or am I not supposed to, like, dooooo that? – My mother
A: Hey Mom, ain’t no shame in the ice game. When it comes to certain types of wine. I’m not recommending putting ice cubes in your Cedric Bouchard Champagne, but when you’ve got a wine that is basically really good adult Kool-Aid? Come on! Ice is fine.
My mother first posed that question to me earlier this year when I served her a glass of Bottex Bugey-Cerdon. I went ahead and put ice in her wine, as she requested, because if there was ever a wine to put ice in it would be that one. My buddy Talia posted an Instagram photo recently which revealed that she clearly agrees.
My mom is in town again, this time celebrating her 60th birthday! What better way to ring in her big 6-0 than with some more yummy pink pet nat with ice. This time, we rolled with Maison PUR‘s La Bulle Gamay. This wine is delicious, but it’s not meant to be taken too seriously. The ice keeps everything super chilled and frothy and honestly you drink it so fast there isn’t much time for dilution. I’m keeping more of my thoughts on La Bulle Gamay under wraps for now since you’ll be seeing a lot more of it in due time. Hint: the next BHMF video! It’s gonna be a GOOD one.
Cheers Mom! Here’s to many more years of drinking the good pink stuff I give you. With ice in it.
Ask Whit is back! Today we have a question from the lovely Aeshna about the shelf life of an opened bottle of wine. There’s no one right answer, but I’ll try my best!
Q: “How long can you keep wine after opening it before it goes off? Thank you!” -Aeshna
A: It’s different for every bottle. I play the how long will this wine stay drinkable game all the time by keeping opened bottles in the fridge for weeks sometimes just to see and it can be surprising. I can tell you that some styles of wine more than others can better handle being exposed to oxygen- Rieslings with their classic high acidity combined with higher RS (residual sugar), fortified wines and dessert wines like Madeira or Port, purposefully oxidized whites like Sherry or wines from Rioja or the Jura. I’ve also found that some wines fermented and aged in amphora have this magical ability to withstand the elements and can be open for several days and still taste very good.
But with everyday bottles, a couple of days open is usually fine. More than two days is when some wines start to fall flat. My main tip is put the cork all the way back in the bottle to the point where you’ll need a corkscrew to open it again. And put it in the fridge, whether it is red or white.
Photo taken at Ronco del Gnemiz, April 2012
Q: What’s your preference in wine glasses? Is there anything you love or hate?
A: I’m not too picky about glassware when it comes to wine. Is it in a shape that is conducive to getting liquid from point A (the glass) to point B (my mouth)? Great. I’ll use that. OK- maybe I’m not THAT laid back. But, when I’m out and about and at the mercy of someone else’s wine vessel of choice, I go with the flow. I’ve definitely consumed lots of wine out of clunky Ikea stems and an assortment of colored plastic cups. As well as maroon goblets and the most popular wine glass in American households- ones with winery names etched into the side that were acquired free of charge on a hazy afternoon in a tasting room somewhere.
My favorite glasses are ones that are free from flourish and are clear, as in not tinted. I don’t like trinkets or embellishment, just give me a plain glass that isn’t too heavy or thick, with stem or without.
Except sometimes, I just don’t care. Like this time:
I attended a BBQ this weekend at a friend’s parents house. You can imagine that there were mainly adult fancy things for use in the kitchen and such. When it was time to pop open the pet nat, this was our best option. It actually couldn’t have been more perfect for the wine we were drinking- Domaine La Grange Tiphaine’s Rosa, Rosé, Rosam. It’s pink, it’s flirty, it’s slightly bubbly and it could inspire a wildly successful rap song. Every time I picked up the golden glass, this song started playing in my brain…
And I couldn’t hate on the little gold charms adorning the stems, because it actually helped all of us idiots remember which glass was our own. As much as I really hate to admit that. Some things are just meant to be.
On today’s Ask Whit, I’m sharing a question I actually asked myself recently. See how generous I am?
Q: “I’m giving the glorious gift of wine to some friends soon and I want to think outside of the box (or bag), literally, when it comes to wrapping the bottles. What are some good looking and creative alternatives? -Whitney
A: Well, Whitney. Look no further than the internet for inspiration! This image happened to be making the rounds on the blogosphere just when I needed it. I said to myself, in an excited but hushed tone behind the glow of the computer screen, “why didn’t I think of that?!” It’s such a great idea and, as I like to say, easy as crap. But. Then. I sat on my bedroom floor with a scarf and a couple of wine bottles and felt like a total idiot.
After a few scarf failures, I finally figured it out. Spread the scarf out horizontally and lay the bottles punt to punt a couple of inches apart at the bottom edge of the scarf. Roll up until you can’t roll anymore. Stand the bottles upright and side by side. Tie the remaining fabric into whatever you fancy as long as it’s sturdy.
Tip: you need a scarf that is long enough to make a handle at the top or at least tie a knot. A few of the lovely silk ones I sometimes fashion into a headband didn’t make the cut.
If you have any questions, leave me a comment here, tweet at me or hit me up on my Facebook page. So many options!
Q: “What’s the deal with decanters? Do I need one and when do I use it? -Chris M.
A: Truth? I don’t own a decanter. Gasp! The wine lady has no decanter. I just haven’t gotten around to buying one and I don’t really need one at home that often. BUT- there are some occasions when I do want to open up a wine. Like, say, a crazy weird skin contact wine (as pictured below). Then, maybe I just grab my teapot.
Basically what I’m saying is, it’s TOTALLY OK to just pour your wine into a vase, clear pitcher (or conical flask!) or anything in your home that will allow you to see the wine inside and its lovely color, as well as giving it some air. Done and done. Semi-fancy on the fly. There’s no need to spend a fortune on some decanter in the shape of a snake.
I almost forgot! Reasons why you’d use a decanter: to give the wine some air and let it open up, to separate the wine from any sediment in the bottle, to get the wine warmer or cooler more quickly or…because it just looks pretty. Decanters I would buy that won’t break the bank: Riedel, Bormioli or Ravenscroft.
If you have any questions, leave me a comment here, tweet at me or hit me up on my Facebook page. Or send a note on a paper airplane. So many options!
We’ve got a wine on the move/easy access/incognito kinda question today! Let’s do this.
Q: “I’m going for a sunset hike with my boyfriend and really want to bring some wine along for a treat at the finish line, but I don’t want to add that much more weight to my backpack or deal with the empty once we finish. Ideas? – Marisa, LA”
A: Yes, this is a
wine water bottle. I happen to be obsessed with this wine water bottle. It’s from Vapur and looks pretty great- it’s from the “Runway” series after all. This thing is reusable, flexible, lightweight, BPA free and attachable! You can also freeze water in it and turn it into an ice pack. But that’s a different Ask Whit. Anyway, this will be your wine carrying vessel. Hell, it even has a carabiner so it’s totes hiking material. Don’t judge me based on that last sentence. It holds 18 oz of liquid, so a little more than 2/3 of a bottle of wine.
*Also, and I’m totally not recommending this at all, but maybe you could take this for some sipping on a train, bus, subway or other public transportation? Or perhaps the movies. Or an outdoor concert. Or WHEREVER.
PS- You’ll need to get friendly with a funnel for this to not get real messy.
PPS- I think I’m just gonna go ahead and call this a Capri Sun for adults.
Today, Sayle wants to know how to excavate delicate corks from older bottles as well as come to the rescue of stubborn corks that decide to split in half while opening. Jerks!
Q: I had a wonderful but older bottle of wine that a friend brought the other night. I am not sure the bottle had been kept on its side the whole time it was stored because when I went to open it, half of the cork broke off and was still in the bottle. When this happens, when you split a cork, do you have some super-Whit-awesome way of getting the cork out without losing one little drop of vino? Thanks! – Sayle, NYC
A: This questions has two answers. In regards to older bottles with corks that might crumble in the face of an average corkscrew- get ye an Ah So cork puller. Also spelled Ah-So and sometimes referred to as a “Butler’s Friend.” Your follow-up question might be, “Why would you call this thing an Ah So?” Good question. I have no idea. Ah, so I can use this thing to open wine? Ah, So. Let’s drink! Who knows. What I DO know is that it works and everyone should have one on hand. Just in case! If you need visuals of how it’s done, check out this heavily bejeweled man open a bottle of 1986 Ridge with an Ah So.
The part two of this answer covers rescuing a broken cork from the neck of any bottle without pushing it into the wine. I will refer you to this post I wrote last year. Try not to sweat as much as I did.
If you have any questions, leave me a comment here, tweet at me or hit me up on my Facebook page. Or send a note in a bottle. So many options!
Remember the days before Google when you had to Ask Jeeves if you didn’t know the answer to a question? Am I aging myself here? Should I have just asked Jeeves that question? No! I should ask myself. Wait. What?
Introducing Ask Whit. Every Monday, I’ll answer all of your wine related questions with grace, wisdom and aplomb! Or something like that. First up:
Q: “How do I keep a bottle of wine cold? I don’t have a cooler or any ice packs!”
A: Summer is the season of chilled beverages and transporting said beverages to various locations that are not your kitchen. How do we keep all this stuff at the most drinkable of temperatures? No need to own any legit ice packs or even a cooler. Take an empty water bottle, fill it with water and throw it in the freezer. Instant, portable ice! Put your wine and your new bottle o’ ice in a water-safe bag (I love my Baggu) and you’re good to go. If you don’t have any water bottles lying around, you can use a plastic freezer storage bag instead. Easy as crap!
If you have any questions, leave me a comment here, tweet at me or hit me up on my Facebook page. Or send note by carrier pigeon. So many options!