Welcome to the first edition of The #Winebox – my version of what you might call a “mailbag” or “mailbox” consisting of comments and questions from followers pertaining to wine that cover any thing from #Alsace to #Zinfandel and all things in between. They come from Instagram @winelayman, Twitter @winelayman, Facebook /homewinetastinghq & through blog followers right here on this page. Be forewarned, the comments/questions come from all over and the exchanges can be quite entertaining or boring depending on your point of view. Anyone who doesn’t like entertainment or boredom, I suggest you leave the room now. But seriously, let’s see what we have for today shall we?
None of your posts so far have been wine reviews, although I have enjoyed what you’ve posted so far. Are you a wine reviewer and if so, can you start posting wine reviews on your blog? (Patricia, Davie, FL)
First off, thank you. Yes, you are correct. No wine reviews, YET. This question has come in many times. Good news though. I’ve just been given the go-ahead to review wines from the wines you can find anywhere to the wines that aren’t found everywhere.
Look for a bit of unique twists, but also the normal stuff like potentially good food pairings. There are too many critics in the world but yes, even wines I don’t like will be reviewed. The good news, I like to find the positive side of everything. I was also told to put in this disclaimer:
The wine reviews posted on this site are just The Wine Layman’s opinion. The Wine Layman & Home Wine Tasting HQ encourage wine exploration to determine your own likes and dislikes – nobody else can do that for you. Happy tasting!
I don’t own a wine fridge and can’t see myself buying one just on principle because I can’t justify that it helps wine taste any better. My wife and I have people over the house for dinner parties much more these days which has prompted a 15th discussion between my wife and I on whether or not to get one. Please tell me what you think? (Carl, Central Islip, NY)
Wow, 15 discussions eh? I can see you’re more at odds at whether to give in to your significant other rather than to buy a wine fridge. This is more perception than anything else in my humble opinion. Restaurants need these more than households do. Customers are fickle.
I believe them to be a showpiece for a home (again, I’m just one person with one opinion). The basics I would tell anyone about serving wine in general would be 1) White Wine: Chill but don’t serve it at tundra temperatures because it will lose its characteristics if served too cold. Make sure to remove it from your actual fridge so it has time to thaw and warm up a little and 2) Red Wine: Don’t store it in extremely hot temperatures like next to your boiler in winter time. The result won’t be all that pleasing. Keep it at room temp. Sounds like you already know this.
Regarding whether or not to buy a wine fridge, ask yourself the logical question, will storing my wine in one of these make or break the time my guests will have? Or better, we haven’t had one up to now and how many of our guests have noticed how terrible the wine has been because it wasn’t stored in a wine fridge? If it turns out that you lose the argument, which may happen, follow the instructions, try to notice any differences, and KEEP THE RECEIPT.
You say on social media that you are a fan of football or soccer as you would say in the states. What country’s national team and wine would pair the best? (Anzkel, Czech Republic)
The team, Germany. Not wine, Jaegermeister. Reason: Both come at you hard, fast, and if you’re not careful they’ll knock you flat on your ass before you know it. Try to challenge either and you will lose.
If I open a bottle of red wine and don’t finish it, how long before the wine starts to go bad? (Jackie, Londonderry, NH)
Good question. Before I answer, first make sure you have a good bottle stop that fits tightly and put it on there. If the bottle’s cork is still present, you can try that but I’ve noticed that bottle stops (good ones) do a better job at preserving an opened bottle.
A wine with a screw cap might work but again, not as good as a bottle stop. Red wine will probably BEGIN to go septic on day #3 after it’s been opened even with a good bottle stop. By day 4 just pour that stuff right out. No bottle stop is going to save your red wine by then. TIP: Day #2 of an unfinished red wine sometimes tastes better than day 1 (not every time and not every wine).
Translate the following into something these people can understand if you’re so good at translating! (Wine Phantasm, Anywhere Valley, CA)
“Made from equal parts Cabernet Franc and Merlot, with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, the medium ruby colored 2013 Brand X Wine gives up lots of black cherry, violets, spring flowers and savory spice in its medium to full-bodied, elegant, silky personality. Raised in 30% new puncheons, with the balance second and third fill barrels, it should drink nicely for another decade.”
Is this the Howard Stern show? How’d one of his fans get in here? I joke. While I don’t take well to how Wine Phantasm refers to the good people with real questions as “these people,” I thought I’d let this moron have a turn. Because hey, there’s nothing I love more than an anonymous person behind a keyboard giving me a challenge (as I’m sure you do). But, in the words of Heath Ledger’s immortal Joker: Here….we….go!
The wine producer: Brand X (winemaker not given so Brand X it will be)
The wine type: A blend of 3 different grapes: 45% Cabernet Franc, 45% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
The wine’s color: Leaning towards ruby
The wine’s aromas: A lot of black cherry, violets, spring flowers, and a little spice
The wine’s taste: Very smooth and feels like a thicker, to rather dense wine on your tongue
How the wine was aged before bottling: 30% of the 2013 batch was aged in brand new wooden barrels, while the other 70% was aged in barrels being used for the 2nd & 3rd time. (the word “barrels” gave away what a puncheon was – a little consistency please?)
This wine will taste its best: From approximately 2014 – 2024, give or take a year or so.
NOTE: This is just a translation, not a full review and that’s all this intruder is getting. Patricia from Davie, FL (the first question at the top of the page) asked if I’d start posting wine reviews. Those will come soon. None of the reviews will include the word PUNCHEONS. Seriously? Then you all wonder why wine is snob central.
Have you ever tried to make your own wine? I’ve always wanted to try this but there seems to be a million options out there. What kind of money should I spend? Can this be done in an apartment? (Brandon, Columbia, SC)
Not a short answer but here goes. Yes, I have tried to make wine. My end result stunk. I did it in a house. The kit I had was also very cheap from a chain store that doesn’t specialize in wine kits. I haven’t found the time since. With that said I love the wine making process. It’s messy, it’s creative and at home, you are the one who controls it all. But enough about about my stupidity.
Here’s what I’d suggest and yes you can do this in an apartment (if you have someone living with you, make sure they’re cool with it):
- Know how much wine you want to make. Wine kits come in “Gallon” sizes but if you notice on any wine bottle they’re all 750 “mililiters”. Anywhere from just 1 gallon to 4 to 6 gallons are the most common I’ve seen. I’ll save you the manual labor: 1 gallon = 5 bottles, 4 gallons = 20 bottles, and 6 gallons = 30 bottles.
- Price fluctuates depending on the company that makes the kits and what’s included with it. At the risk of sounding redundant to your efforts, let a stop on your way be Amazon only because they carry quite a few & you can read good & bad reviews.You’ll find a 1 gallon (5 bottle) kit which has all the essentials you need for apartment wine making for $86+ (whatever you do, make a small handful of choices and move on – then call those companies and speak to someone if possible). Also make sure to buy (not included) corks and a floor corker. How else will your be able to cover your wine? The floor corker will jack the price up.Remember, you are a winemaker now. However, much easier because you have instructions, no vineyards, no labor costs, minimal overhead, and no worrying about whether or not your live band will be on time to entertain your guests.
- WARNING: Wine making is messy. There will be spillage. Cover anything you don’t want stained. Even the best professional wineries have more spillage in one day that could fill a 30 bottle kit.Wine making, especially your first time is also not perfect. You know I’m pulling for you, but that’s why they call this a “Labor of love.” As a first timer, lower your expectations on how your end product will taste. If it comes out better than you imagined, please invite me over!!Wine making also takes, P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E. Can’t stress this enough.I live in the Northeastern US. A piece of land around these parts can take 10 years from the time a vine is first planted to the time its first grapes are ready for bottling. Home wine kits already give you the juice but from the time you start until the time it’s ready for bottling, count on 6 weeks going by. Some wines of course, get better with age. The good news is that many wines made from kits aren’t meant for drinking past 1 year.
Looks like last call for the Wine box has come….
What does wine make you think about the most? (Millenge, British Columbia)
A lot of things. At this moment, the next 2 hours as I look this piece over, send it off to for final approval, and then get ready to say cheers with a good glass of wine with you and all the rest of the fine people who made today’s first edition of The WineBox possible. Happy weekend, Millenge. Happy weekend, readers!
Wine Layman – OUT!