In this week's edition of our Sommelier Says series, where we profile the country's booziest winemakers, bartenders and all-around alcohol-infused aficionados, Chefly asked freelance sommelier 5 of your most burning questions about wine. 🍷
Have you got a drink in hand? Good, now let's dive straight in.
1. Does a decanter really make a difference to the taste of red wine?
"Firstly, I will say that a decanter is not used only for red wine, but for white and orange (skin contact) varieties too. Young vintages needs aeration, a process which forces wine to interact with air to accelerate oxidation and evaporation to eliminate certain elements in the wine, while enhancing others at the same time.
"Older wine will contain gas sentiment. You don't want this kind of sediment on your glasses so a decanter will separate that sediment so it doesn't land in your glass. I use a lot of different decanters!"
2. Many of us are STILL stuck in lockdown, so how do you select a good quality wine in a bottle shop if you can't get to a restaurant or a vineyard?
"You have to have an idea in your mind about what type of wine you are after, before you go to the shop. It is the same as if would you order in a restaurant. Some basic questions you can ask yourself:
- Do you want red or white wine?
- Which region or country?
- What grape variety?
- How light or full bodied do you want it?
"The more information that you can give the sommelier, or wine seller, the better they can advise you - so ask!"
3. Which country has the most knowledge and experience of wine?**
"France has the heritage and there is lots happening there. The vinification (the fermentation process) is the best anywhere in the world and when you learn about wine, you have to know about French wine. Italian and Spanish wine is very important too, but for development and innovation, French wine is where it is at." 🍇
4. Are there any hidden gem vineyards in Australia or New Zealand?
"I am most interested in wine from Bathurst, in New South Wales. Everyone always thinks that some of the best wines in our state originate from Mudgee, Orange, or Hunter Valley. There is one young winemaker, who is just 22 or 23 years old, Sam Renzaglia, who makes wine from his family’s vineyard in Bathurst.
"The vineyard is called Renzaglia Wines and I first tasted it a few years ago. It really surprised me how delicious it was. A lot of sommeliers like me have never heard of good wine coming from Bathurst!
"He has made one wine from grapes that originated in Mosel, Germany. He went there for harvest and brought back some skills to Australia to develop the wine locally."
5. If you could only drink one wine for the rest of your life?
"You are torturing me! If I am forced to choose, I would have to say a Chardonnay. I like most Chardonnays from Burgandy, but particularly a brand called Ramona.
"In the wine world we say, you have to either marry or divorce a wine. Choosing one wine for the rest of your life is like saying which wine do you want to marry."
Hope you enjoyed the post and want to learn more, read her post on "What wine glasses are best?