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Your Questions

Q

Once a bottle of Sherry or fortified wine has been opened, how long can it reasonably be expected to last, and how should it be stored?

John Ratcliffe, South Yarra, Vic

It all depends on what type of Sherry. Finos and Manzanillas, for example, are delicate, beautiful dry wines that really should be drunk within 24 hours of being opened. However, if you don’t think you can drink a whole bottle in one sitting then you may want to consider a half or quarter bottle – a number of producers choose to bottle this way.

Richer styles such as Amontillado, Palo Cortado and Oloroso are a little bit more robust so maybe up to a fortnight would be appropriate? Pedro Ximinez (PX) is so concentrated it could probably manage a month, but I would not suggest any longer than that.

Definitely store all opened bottles in the fridge. The lighter, drier wines can be served well chilled but the fuller bodied styles just need a little time to lose the chill. Though I’d definitely serve cool, rather than room temperature.

Q

Why are small wine bars often guilty of serving red wines too warm? I can understand they may not have space for a temperature-controlled wine cabinet, but surely it’s possible to bring the wine to an acceptable temperature before serving?

Karen Lockey, NSW

Unfortunately the old saying ‘reds at room temperature’ was probably coined by someone enduring an English summer. And lots of wine drinkers like to drink red wine at a temperature that really is too warm. Unfortunately here in NZ and Australia our warm summers call for cooler reds.

Small wine bars maybe have an issue with storage and perhaps there isn’t an opportunity to have reds kept at cellar temperature. I have no hesitation asking for an ice bucket if I think a red is too warm and have never had any objection. It only takes five or so minutes to get a wine back to a more enjoyable temperature.

Q

I’ve noticed a number of celebrities putting their names to wines. Is this just a marketing ploy, do they actually have anything to do with the wines?

Ben Skelton, Parramatta, NSW

Celebrities vary in their involvement with wines they endorse. Some are heavily invested; Invivo’s Tim Lightbourne said of Graham Norton (whose range includes sauvignon blanc, shiraz and now gin), “We sit down with Graham every year to choose his blends and he will taste through six to eight various tank samples of the new vintage for each wine. He has sign off on all his wines as it is his name on the label and he wants it to be right. Graham has a very good palate and knows what he wants.” While Sam Neill doesn’t make his Two Paddocks wines (he leaves that to super talented Dean Shaw), he definitely works hard to promote and support the wines both in NZ and overseas.

Got a wine-related question?
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Email wine@gourmettravellerwine.com.