I asked Adventure Mom facebook fans to come up with a few questions for guest contributor Mike Rosenberg. I met Mike at an event for bloggers at Seasons 52. As a wine novice at the event, I had lots of questions.
Mike was very generous with sharing his knowledge and helping me feel less intimidated by my lack of experience with a lot of different types of wine. I love that his blog helps give affordable options and advice for readers who might find themselves intimidated by all of the options out there.
So please welcome Mike!
The Adventure Mom Mailbag
Hello, Adventure Mom readers!
My name’s Mike Rosenberg, and I write a syndicated wine column called The Naked Vine. I’ve been pecking away at this little corner of the web since a fateful 2006 conversation at the Beer Sellar where my friend Scott made the offhand comment, “You know, it’s easy to find a good $50 bottle of wine. I want to know where to find a good $10 bottle of wine.”
The recovering English major side of me kicked in, and The Naked Vine was born. I’ve been fortunate enough to land myself in a variety of print and online forums. My goal is simple and I state it right up in my tagline: Wine Advice for the Rest of Us. If you’re looking for 100 point scales and tasting notes playing up the glories of “forest floor,” “saddle leather,” and “cold steel” – I’m not the right person to consult. What you will find if you stop by the Vine are easy to understand reviews of wines and useful bits of wine knowledge. Food and I go way back, so I always try to provide some good culinary pairings. Heck, I’ll even throw in a recipe or two from time to time.
Basically, my hope is that after reading the Vine, you’ll be able to stroll confidently down the aisle of the wine store of your choice, peruse a good restaurant’s wine list, or belly up at your favorite watering hole and say with a grin, “I want THAT.”
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, who 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 for 5 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.
Gina BH: Have you ever been on the [Back Roads] wine trail or to a local winery? That’s something I have always wanted to do!
The Naked Vine: Gina, good question. I’ve been to many of the local wineries around here, and – unfortunately – I’m usually disappointed. While grapes will grow around here, the climate and soil (together called terroir – pronounced “tare-WAHR”) isn’t very good for wine grapes. Wineries around here either have to deal with what little they can grow or they import their juice from places like California. Or they make very sweet fruit wines, which I don’t generally care for. The better wineries I’ve found near Cincinnati are down the river a bit near Ripley, OH: Kinkead Ridge, Harmony Hill, La Vigna, and Meier’s are all fairly decent.
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 practically 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.
Thanks again for sharing these answers Mike!