Food & Wine blog
Get some great wine tasting tips from winemaker Michael Sebastiani or visit our Food & Wine Blog, Barrel Room Buzz for weekly new tips and ideas for enjoying our wine to the fullest.
Many bold and rich Columbia Gorge red wines taste wonderful with chocolate. For example, our Syrah is wonderful with a pepper-steak and sauteed mushrooms, but can be held for serving until the dessert, to be served with chocolate truffles. So you can taste the wine with the chocolate still in your mouth!
If you would like to try your favorite red wine, but don't plan to finish the bottle, you can serve 1-2 glasses then cork the wine and put in the refrigerator. The chilled temperature will hold the wine for an extra 2 or 3 days. Just remember to let it come back to life at room temperature before serving!
Some white wines are blended or bottled with some residual carbon dioxide in the wine this is felt as a "spritz" in the mouth. The extra carbon dioxide adds a brightness to the wine and increases longevity. To taste the layers of flavor underneath, and instantly age the wine, replace the cork and shake the bottle (it will fizz like a sparkling wine), remove the cork and repeat. Do this several times, and you will notice more flavors coming through.
Chilling white wines is the most popular form of serving them although it enhances the fruitiness. But over chilling can cover up much of the flavor allowing the oak and richness to only be noticed. Riesling and Pinot Gris can be chilled more, say 45-50 degrees F. Chardonnays should be slightly warmer, say 50-55 degrees F. Each should be chilled for about 2 hours in the refrigerator. Prolonged chilling can permanently change the wine. So, store your white wines at cellar temp with your red wines (60-65 degrees F), and then put in the refrigerator the day you will serve it.
Even some high-fruit red wines can be chilled. Some reds, like a light Pinot Noir or Italian Sangiovese or Aleatico, can be chilled to just below cellar temperature (55-60 degrees F). If they are intended to be an intensely fruity red wine those qualities will be highlighted. For example you can chill our Rose as it has both red and white wine qualities.
When searching to buy a fine wine and you are confused about whether to buy a wine with a "natural" cork, a manufactured cork or a screw cap, check the style of wine in the bottle. Since manufactured corks and screw caps prevent any oxidation, look for bright and fruity wines. Traditional corks allow for aging of the wine in the bottle, so aged reds will benefit most. Don't be discouraged by the talk about "corked" wines. "Cork taint" has always existed and can be managed. Corks are a natural product being formed from the bark of the cork tree. Although manufactured corks and screw caps serve a purpose, we still think first quality natural cork is the only way to bottle fine wines. It allows for the natural long-term aging of our Columbia Valley wines.