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Seven Silly Guidelines Surrounding Wine

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(Drink bell | Pastry board | Tasting plates | Yes, that's a 50-caliber bullet turned bottle opener ...)

Wine bars are quickly becoming stellar places to eat (Like Gyst in Minneapolis).

(P.S. - Turn on Netflix and cue up Somm. When it’s over, start buying your wine on Verve, which was founded by one of the stars.) 

When it comes to serving wine at my house, however, here’s the deal:

1. I avoid fancy labels.
There is no professional basis in this other than my assumption that a pretty label compensates for a lack of taste. This coming from the lady who had a “never date a guy whose last name could be his first name (like William Roberts)” rule.

2. I sometimes chill my red wines.
Sure the taste “comes alive” when a red is warm, but if it gets too warm the taste will flatten. You also want to avoid over-chilling your white wines or you’ll dull its taste. Only cheap whites of lesser quality ought to be ice cold. Find the happy medium!

3. Pay no attention to the glass I use to serve you.
If the wine has been sitting around in the bottle for an extended period, you’ll get served in an unexpected glass. Cognac glasses actually work best for swirling under these circumstances. And if you complain, then you’ll get the most ridiculous cup I can find in my cabinet.

4. Let’s talk about “neighbor” wines.
If you’re a member of my inner circle, you already know this reference. “Neighbor” wines are not my favorites. “Neighbor” wines are bottles I give to acquaintances, hostesses, or of course … neighbors. It doesn’t mean I don’t like you, it just means I prefer to not keep this particular blend so hopefully you like it instead!

5. It’s not the grape. It’s the region.
The taste of wine is so much more than what grape is used. The soil, the climate, even how the winery harvests and peels the grapes affect the taste of the wine. So a Pinot Noir born from a winery in California will taste different than a Pinot Noir made elsewhere. Remember that before you get all snobby about a blend so you don’t commit my rookie mistake.

6. There’s an app for that.
And it helps me with food pairings (Steak and white OH YES), locating distributors, even gift-giving. In that regard, wine + apps do pair well. (Try Vivino.)

7. Respect the twist off.
My favorite wine on the planet is a cranberry wine by a local winery here in the Twin Cities, and it’s a twist-off. The screw caps may not allow you to act all fancy by sniffing the cork, but it’s also not necessary. Corks are best for bottles you intend to store. Screw caps are meant for fresh wines – wines you’ll have in your possession for less than a year. 

The main takeaway is this: wine is not something that should be used to elevate your status. Take for example countries like France and Italy, where wine is savored in celebration of the everyday. It is opened and poured with family and friends, over good food and conversation. Surround yourself with good people, pour a glass over good conversation, and I'll toast to companionship. Life is meant to be celebrated!

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