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The 4 T's: How to Store Corked Wine

“Why store wine when you can drink it!” is a fine riposte to the question of how best to store wine, but as a matter of practicality (and in anticipation of a great wine store bargain) it’s good to know a few basics about wine storage. A good way to remember these four tips is to call them the 4 T’s: Temperature, Tilt, Tint and Time. Let’s take a look. <strong>1. Temperature: Keep it fairly cool.</strong> The ideal storage temperature for any wine is between 45ºF and 65ºF, but don’t blow your cork if you’re off by a few degrees. The most important thing is to avoid exposing the bottle to extremes. Never let a bottle of wine freeze and never, ever store your bottles close to anything that will get them warm. This is why you should think twice about storing your wine in the kitchen unless you’re going to drink it right away. This goes double for sitting your bottles on top of the refrigerator – that’s a big no-no. <strong>2. Tilt: Keep your corks (at least partially) damp.</strong> Storing wine bottles at an angle isn’t just a space saver – it’s a flavor saver, too. A dry cork can allow air to seep into the bottle, which can in turn impact the flavor of the wine. There’s some debate in the wine community about whether wine should be allowed to fully roll up against the cork. The idea is that if the cork is only half covered (with the other half “covered” by the air bubble sealed inside) any expansion or contraction that takes place won’t force wine through the cork and taint the flavor. This, of course, is some very technical stuff, however, and most agree that the important thing is that the cork stays damp, regardless of the air bubble-to-wine ratio. <strong>3. Tint: Keep your bottles in the shade.</strong> Light is wine’s enemy over the long term and your bottles should be stored in a shady place. UV rays can damage wine, but that’s not even the worst of it; a rise in temperature caused by the sun (think about a kitchen warming up on a sunny day) can cause even more harm. You don’t need a wine cellar – just make sure your bottles stay out of direct sunlight during long-term storage. <strong>4. Time: Most wines <em>do</em> have an expiration date.  </strong> As a rule of thumb, uncorked white wine can last one to two years past the bottling date and red wines can last two to three years. It is only “fine wines” that can last decades. But, what is a fine wine? Only a handful of wines will truly benefit from aging and they are all reds. French Bordeaux, high-end cabernets, some merlots and a few pinots are going to improve with age. It all has to do with where the grapes were grown and the methods used to make and bottle the wine. Of course, if you’re of a mind to “cellar” your wine for years or decades then you probably already know which ones you should save and which ones will be as good today as they will be tomorrow. We hope the 4 T’s are an easy way for you to remember these <a title="Wine Racks" href="http://www.atgstores.com/wine-racks_1071.html" target="_blank">wine storage</a> tips.
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