Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Adventure Mom Mailbag

A few weeks ago, I wrote a review of Seasons 52, one of Cincinnati’s newest restaurants. I had the good fortune that evening to be sitting next to the lovely and talented Nedra McDaniel, better known around the Internets as Adventure Mom. Nedra says that her blog, where she documents her love of “living like a tourist” – is her attempt to inspire people to step outside their comfort zones. From Broadway shows to trapeze classes to underwater hockey, Adventure Mom’s got ideas for new and interesting experiences in spades.

Nedra asked me if I’d be willing to take some questions from she and her readers about wine and wine related stuff. I realized it had been quite a while (a couple of years, actually!) since I’d done a proper mailbag, so without further ado – here’s a sampling of what folks wanted to know:

Adventure Mom: I would like to know the best way to store wine once it's open.

The Naked Vine: The best way to store wine once it's open, honestly, is in the fridge. Wine turns to vinegar through oxidation, and cold slows that process down. Now, if you don't like your red wine cold -- you can just pour it and then patiently stare at it until it gets to where you like it...or (just don't let anyone see you), pop your glass in the microwave for5 seconds and swirl. No kidding. Those VacuVin sealers can work as well -- but not as well as refrigeration.

Raising2tweens: What wine do you suggest for a mom who has had a rough day with a 13 year old girl and an 11 yr old boy? LOL Seriously though... I only like red wine. Can it really go with all meals?

The Naked Vine: There are red wines that go with almost any sort of food -- you just have to be aware of styles. If you're making baked chicken, you probably don't want a big honkin' glass of Australian Shiraz. But a glass of a light red (especially with a little chill on it) would work just fine. In a case like that, an Italian Valpolicella or Chianti -- or a French Beaujolais would be good choices...

Khrys C.: I am really dumb regarding wines. Is there a class I can take that will smarten me up a bit so I can at least have an intelligent wine conversation and know how to choose one I'd like from the vast amount of different wines out there?

The Naked Vine: There are lots of wine appreciation classes out there if you want to get out and about. My personal suggestion (no surprise) is working your way through the Wine School series of articles that I wrote (http://www.thenakedvine.net/2006/04/wine-school-index.html)  as a way to get yourself started.

Daniel V: My wife and I just had our first child and I wanted to order some bottles of wine that I can age and give to her when she turns 21.  So my question is, what kind of bottle of wine would you recommend that will age 20 years and still be good? I was thinking a French Bordeaux like a 2009 Chateau Gruaud-Larose or Chateau Grand Puy-Lacoste. Would you recommend either one of those for this idea or should I consider something else?

The Naked Vine: Now that sounds like a heck of a gift! I think there are a number of ways that you can go with that. Your idea about the Bordeaux is a very good one. A quality Bordeaux should easily age for 20 years, and if that's the sort of wine that you like, then you can definitely go that route.

Some other ideas -- Sauternes and Riesling can age practicially indefinitely. Amarone and Barolo practically need 20 years just to make it to their prime drinkability window. There are, of course, other late harvest style wines that will also last awhile. California cabernet also has a lot of aging potential.

Bottom line -- what sort of wine is your favorite? What will you likely be letting your daughter sip at dinner over the next 20 years, so when she gets to have this little cornucopia for her own -- it's not going to be a total shock to her system. I would think of it more as a time capsule of your current palate that you get to share. I think it's a great thing you're doing!

Daniel V (followup): I live in South Texas (San Antonio) and like most houses here, we do not have basements or cellars. How do I properly store wine (like the present for my daughter) so it doesn’t get ruined over time?

The Naked Vine: Hmm...now this is where it gets a little bit complicated. There's a difference in storage for a couple of years and 20. The enemies of wine are heat and light -- so obviously you want somewhere dark and relatively cool -- and also relatively stable, temperature wise. It's big swings in temperature that really kill wine, so you want somewhere stable. Now, if you're keeping wine for a relatively short period of time (say 5 years or less), an interior closet that has a stable temperature and is dark will work just fine. Fridges will work, too -- but they are notoriously expensive and can be unreliable. I went through three of them before I put my cellar in.

Since what you're planning for your daughter will require decades of storage -- you might be better off investing in an underground cellar. It doesn't have to be fancy, big, or, honestly, even climate-controlled as long as it's not below a place that will be in the sun. The natural insulation from the earth will be enough. You just need a small underground space that you can access easily.

Failing that, there are self-storage places that have climate controlled wine storage. Just depends on how much you want to spend.

Got questions of your own? Send them to Mike at thenakedvine@gmail.com or at http://www.facebook.com/wineadvicefortherestofus

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