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5 Things You Should Never Do to Your Paso Wine

We know, we know. Aren’t there enough rules to the wine world (swirl this, spit that—don’t add ice cubes, blah, blah blah)? We aren’t saying you can’t add a splash of soda water to your chardonnay if you find a spritzer occasionally refreshing. We are, however, saying that there are a few things that are simply not done. What follows are five cardinal sins that will not only ruin your wine tasting experience, but may also ruin your entire dinner party. I suggest you listen and learn, lest you experience your own winetastrophy (yes, we are allowed to make up our own words because we make the rules around here).

Paso Robles Wineries Wine MistakesWinetastrophy: Noun. A calamity, catastrophe, or tragedy pertaining to misuse or mishandling of fine wine.

1. Leave Your Wine in a Hot Car

We shudder to think about the number of wine tasters who purchase a great bottle of wine on a summer day, then leave the darn thing in their car for a “quick stop at the drug store.” Ah, not so innocent, I promise you! It might be 75 degrees outside, but your car—parked in a sunny spot—can easily soar to triple digit temps. After about the 80 degree mark, your wine is actually being “cooked,” which drastically taints the flavor (think sour, jammy canned prunes. Yuck!). Heat can also compromise the seal of the cork or screw cap, which (you guessed it) leads to oxidation issues. Just remember this rule: If you wouldn’t leave your child or dog in a hot-parked car, why would you leave your precious wine?

Bodega De Edgar Buy the wineKeep a cool head with this red: Bodega de Edgar’s 2011 El Pape is made with 65% grenache, 30% mourvedre and 5% syrah—all 100% delicious.

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2. Overchill Your Whites

Sorry, but you are probably already doing this on a regular basis. (How to know if you’re serving a white too cold? Have your guests taste it, then ask each person to tell you what, in fact, they just experienced. You may be arguing for quite a while.) Not only does over chilled white wine register as unpleasantly acidic or tart on the tongue, it also tastes a heck of a lot like “nothing at all.” That’s because serving your white wine straight from the fridge masks the true flavors and deadens your taste buds. Butteryness, fruitiness, minerality, a hint of candied pear? Good luck experiencing any of the subtle nuances. How to combat this issue? Simply leave your white on the counter for a good 30 minutes prior to sipping.

Cayucos Cellars Buy the WineWarm up to this white: Tart and sweet as freshly cut pineapple, this 2010 Cayucos Cellars Chardonnay deserves a warmer welcome.

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3. Not Decanting Big Reds

No, not all red wines need a true “decanting” process—many can sit on the counter with the cork off and reap the same benefits of a little aeration. However, bigger, beefier wines—say a ten-year-old Syrah—will need more breathing time to allow its true colors to show. Decant these heftier, more complex reds for five minutes to two hours and sample within that timeframe to experience the changes. Need to speed up the process? Pour the wine between two different decanters or simply swirl the wine to increase the air/wine ratio.

Clavo Cellars LogoDecant and enchant: Allow sultry aromas of dark chocolate and black currants to deepen and develop when you decant Clavo Cellars’ 2010 Petite Sirah.

Contact Clavo Cellars for more information: (805) 226-0174. Or, visit their tasting room: Mapping and Directions:



4. Leave the Cork Off Overnight

Just as water destroys the Wicked Witch, so does air destroy wine. A little air is always good, but leaving your bottle uncovered for a full night will result in some funky flavors come morning. Before going to bed, ensure that wines are securely closed off with a cap, cork, or –better yet—a wine saver that pumps excess air out of the bottle and away from the precious contents within. Like washing your face nightly or flossing, this is simply good wine hygiene that will pay off tenfold!

Brecon Estate Buy the WineKeep this one air-tight: A true “foodie Syrah,” Brecon Estate’s 2014 Central Coast California Syrah showcases ripe flavors and a complex framework of both American and French oak. Enjoy with dinner all week long (as long as you keep the cork secured).

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5. Aging Too Long

Life is short. Drink good wine while you’re still in the pink! The temptation to save nice things: a crisp new work shirt, your grandma’s good china, that expensive bottle of wine, is universally attractive. We all want to believe that “one day” the perfect occasion to drink that special, French 1979 vintage will pop up on our calendars. The sad truth is that we don’t know how much time any of us have left, so you’re better off popping the cork now and getting some enjoyment out of your wine cellar. That said, never age a wine that’s meant to be enjoyed young (lighter reds and whites are often meant to be slurped within two years or so). Have a bottle of red you’ve been assured will mature well over the next ten years or so? Go ahead and lay it down, just don’t be afraid to take it out of retirement early if and when an everyday celebration presents itself.

Jada Vineyards Buy the Wine ButtonCan’t wait to taste:  Jada Vineyards & Winery’s 2013 Hell’s Kitchen is a blend of incredible estate Rhone varietals brimming with blackberry jam, mint, rose petal and flinty goodness. Age until 2020 or drink now. We won’t judge!

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This blog was written by Hayley Thomas Cain, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and You can reach her at [email protected] or follow her on instagram @flavorslo.

photo credit: Domiriel Splashed! – Everywhere! via photopin (license)

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