The Seven Deadly Sines of Wine

We are all guilty  of these mistakes.   Eventhough some might claim that it should just be about the wine and how it tastes, which is true, but by knowing, recognizing and avoiding these 7 Deadly Sins of wine, you might enjoy that glass even more!

Getting the most out of each bottle is vital because, and lets be real here, most wines are luxury items. Wasting an opportunity with wine is wasteful at its least and disrespectful at its worst in my book. After all, a lot of people put a ton of effort into ensuring that they put the best juice possible in every bottle and we should be able to enjoy it in every glass.

So avoid these common wine mistakes and take advantage of those efforts. Besides, it’ll make the wine taste better too!


This Wine is Too Cold

This is one of the least difficult wine mistakes you can make. Unless you’re tailgating outside of  Dodgers  Stadium on a bitter journey back, it’s pretty easy to remedy. Just let your wine warm up!

Over chilling wines may make them refreshing, but it also tamps down the aromas and flavors of the wine while highlighting the tannins. Dull, chewy reds and insipid whites are the result of serving your wines too cold.

 This Wine is Too Hot

Serving wines too hot is much worse than serving them too cold. The temperature doesn’t do any favors for the wine, but it also tends to be indicative of mistreatment. We are  an outlier in the wine world because we  believe that wine is fairly durable, particularly if we’re talking about short term storage.

So while we are  not horrified by wines stored in the high 70s for somewhat extended periods of time, anything hotter and you’re quickly cooking your wine. This damage will show up in time as caramel, molasses flavors and the premature aging of the wine with an accompanying change in color.

While storing wines at 75 degrees is probably alright, serving them that hot is really a no-no. The high temperatures stimulates the evaporation of alcohol and volatile compounds in the wine, marring the nose while making the wine feel soft and flabby in the mouth, a double whammy.


This Wine Needs Some Mouth-to-Mouth

Letting a wine breath is often seen as a pompous affectation of snobby old men and their fancy wines, nothing could be further from the truth. Think about it: wines have been bottled with durability in mind, often being produced in reductive, or oxygen free environment. The wines need to take a few breaths of air in order to stretch out and relax.

Do you ever think that the last glass of wine from a bottle is the best? That is no coincidence. Letting a wine breath helps to stimulate the development of aromas and soften tannins.



This Wine Needs a Bowl

Yes glassware does matter. Recognize that there is a right time for bigger bowls, like when you have a wine that has more to say.

A nice, big bowl, at least 10 ounces, leaves plenty of space for swirling and allows for a wine’s aromas to accumulate, making it easier for you to enjoy. A glass that exposes a large percentage of your glass to air also allows for those aromas to emerge more rapidly from your wine, upping the aromatic intensity of your wine even more.



This Wine Needs a Rest

There’s a phenomenon in the wine world known as “travel shock.” It basically says that wines which have recently traveled need to rest in order to show their best. While we have no idea what the scientific basis for such claims might be, we have experienced travel shock in our wines enough to believe that it is real. It’s probably similar to bottle shock, which is basically the same phenomenon but refers to wines that have been recently bottled, another form of stress on the wine.

Both bottle shock and travel shock produce wines that are muted, dull and basically uninteresting.

Let your wines rest!


This Wine Needs A Better Dinner Partner

While it is easy to promote a “drink-what-you-like-with-your-dinner” attitude, the truth is that some wines simply don’t work with certain foods and vice versa. For examples may be limited but a few that   include wines with artichokes, which make wine taste bitter, oily fish and big reds, where the wine tastes like tannin and metal, and salad with low acid wines, where the dressing makes the wine taste sad and flabby.


Assuming You Know

Assuming that you really know enough about a wine to dismiss it after one encounter is the biggest mistake we make with wine. There are so many things that can make a wine show poorly, from the six mistakes that lead up to this one to things like bad corks, dirty glassware and even a bad palate day. Hey, it happens to the best of us.

I know its disingenuous  to tell you  give a wine a second chance once you’ve decided you don’t like it, but we can’t  tell you how many times we’ve been pleasantly surprised by a wine on the second go ‘round. It all boils down to having an open mind and realizing that we all make mistakes, so next time you don’t have a good experience with a wine, don’t be so quick to blame the wine!

Decanting a Vintage Wine


Regardless of color or style, the majority of wine for sale in our  wine shop does not require decanting. In general, if it follows the 3F principle (Fun, Frilly, and Fruity) or if it comes in a box, tin can, tetra-pack, or with a lizard  or fuzzy Koala  on the label, don’t insult yourself or anyone else by suggesting that it will improve with some breathing time!!!  It  will not. Decanting is normally reserved for full-bodied red wines such as vintage port, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, and the big Italians like Amarone, Barolo, and Brunello.Although it is enjoyable to do, there is no real secret to mastering the act of decanting vintage wine.

 A great number of  people feel more comfortable using some kind of filter such as a  funnel, or others things such a coffee filter paper. However if the bottle of wine has been properly prepared and addressed, such items are not always necessary!

If using a filter, most of us tend to pour the entire contents of the bottle into the decanter – assuming that all the deposit will be detached. At times the sediment in a bottle can be quite fine and passes through some filters leaving the wine somewhat cloudy. Decanting technique is more a question of style than anything else and you can opt for the quick, easy, and failsafe method of simply pouring the wine through a filter, or perhaps the more formal and traditional practice of decanting by candlelight.  For this reason we prefer the following steps.


1. A day before you intend to decant, place your bottle of Vintage wine upright. This will allow any loose sediment to fall to the bottom of the bottle.

2. Obtain a clean, odorless vessel. A wine decanter is perfect. Alternatively you could decant into another container, rinse out your bottle and return the wine to the bottle.

3. When pouring the wine into the container it is important where you hold the bottle. When the wine has been lying in our cellars at Mel and Rose, we  mark the uppermost side of the bottle at the bottom with a white mark, so-called the splash mark. The reason for doing this is that over the years sediment will have gathered in the bottle and settled on the lower side. Some of this sediment can stick to the glass so that if not careful when decanting, air bubbles can free this material and it will ruin the effect of your having stood the bottle upright for a day.

   As for a particular style of decanter, the possibilities are endless and you can really let your creativity run wild here. A perfectly suitable glass decanter will cost around $10 or run you in excess of $500 for something unusual – they do exactly the same thing. Just make sure it fits in Grandma’s old china cabinet before you fork out the cash.

4. To avoid the risk of this happening, when decanting, always place your hand on the same side of the bottle as the splash mark. In this way, any sediment stuck to the side of the bottle is below the wine and away from air bubbles entering the bottle as you pour.

5. If the splash mark has been wiped off, which is why at  Mel and Rose we will always put the front label exactly above the splash mark. In this way all you need to remember is that when you pour, have the label in the palm of your hand.

6. Now you must hold your decanter so that when you pour the wine you can see it briefly passing over the neck area of the decanter. This is because, as you pour with your steady hand, you are looking for signs of the deposit starting to come through. Stop as soon as the sediment starts to enter the decanter.

7. You will need a light background to see the sediment clearly. In the past, candles have been used for this.

8.  Pour in one steady movement. Stopping part way through will stir up the sediment and you will need a filter from there on in.

9. We  suggest you decant before the meal, you are likely to have a steadier hand and it will give all but the very oldest vintages the required time to breathe.

10. Finally, do not throw away the sediment. It is very nutritious and excellent in soups, sauces and gravy. You can freeze them in freezer ice cube bags.

It seems a long explanation, but once understood and practiced you’ll soon be a master.

Browse our Vintage wine selection.