We are back!!

Sorry for the lack of posts in the last few weeks. Things have been pretty crazy around the store as we attend tastings to find great new wines, put on amazing wine pairing dinners, teach classes and host our weekend tastings. Last week Steve Doerner from Cristom Vineyards, located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, came to Montclair to present his wines alongside the incredible fare of Ariane Duarte of Culinariane and Top Chef fame. We filled the dining room for two seatings (6:00 and 8:30) and had a ton of fun. Our next dinner will feature two winemakers, Joey Tensley from Santa Barbara, California and Cecile Dusserre from Domaine de Montvac in France’s Rhone Valley. Each will showcase their wines and unveil a new collaboration called “Detente Red,” made from grapes grown on both sides of the Atlantic. This dinner will be held at Fascino, one of New Jersey’s finest Italian restaurants, on Tuesday, March 24th at 7:30. Space is limited but we still have a few spots open for anyone who would like to join us.

The next month should be full of interesting posts from numerous members of the Amanti Vino crew. As I write, Travis is in Germany visiting some of our favorite Riesling producers, along with some of the world’s finest breweries. Once he returns, Sue will be jet setting to Italy to visit her son and perhaps enjoy a few glasses of wine along the way. She will return just in time for Sharon and I to travel to one of the biggest wine shows in the world, Vin Italy, which is held in Verona every year. Like last year, we will go with the hopes of finding some hidden gems that can be exported directly back to the store and will only be available at Amanti Vino.

In keeping with the educational theme of our last entry we would like to discuss different ways that you can tell if your bottle is “off”. There are no sure ways to know until you smell and taste it, but there are signs you can look for before you do. First off, look at the cork (don’t smell it, it smells like cork!) to see if the wine seeped to the top of the cork. If it did, you will see wet marks along the side of the cork and maybe on the top of the cork (naturally, this is easier to discern with a red wine). If this is the case, it doesn’t necessarily mean the wine is bad, as the bottle may have been filled higher than it should have been during the bottling process and the wine simply spilled over when the cork was inserted. On a side note, depending on the age of the bottle, that wine that spilled over may have molded. If so, it doesn’t mean the wine is bad. A cork that is wet to the top may signal the wine has been stored in either too warm conditions or too dry conditions (not enough humidity). Another pre-tasting option is to simply look at the wine in a glass. If it is a young wine (generally 5 years or younger) and the white is gold or the red is brown (there are always exceptions), the wine may be bad. I say generally because some wines are intentionally oxidized, and if so, the color will resemble that of an aged wine (gold for white and brown for red). If you suspect the wine may be bad, pour a taste into a glass and put your hand over the top for 30 seconds. Don’t swirl! After 30 seconds, remove your hand and stick your nose in the glass and take a couple deep whiffs. If you don’t smell any “fruit” (e.g., citrus, peaches, apples, etc. for white wines or strawberries, cherries, blackberries, etc. for red wines), the wine is probably “off”. As usual, there are always exceptions to the rules, and the best tools you can use to determine if a wine is off are you nose and mouth. Smell the wine, taste the wine and give it a few minutes (occasionally a little must or funk will “blow off” after the bottle has had the opportunity to reacquaint itself with some oxygen). When all is said and done, don’t be too upset. Wine is a living, evolving, fragile commodity. In fact, 1 in 10 bottles with cork enclosures go “bad”. If those odds are too great for you, only 1 in 200 screw cap enclosed bottles go “bad”!



  1. wonker said

    Interesting blog, I’ll try and spread the word.

  2. matt said

    This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

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