Wine FAQs – Part 2

Here is Part 2 of our Wine FAQs series!  We’ll provide you with the answers to any questions you have about Messina Hof, wine, and the winemaking process. Wine Glasses

What are the recommended serving temperature for red and white wines? 

To maximize the flavor of wine, the appropriate serving temperature of whites should be 45-55 degrees and the appropriate serving temperature of reds should be 65-70 degrees.  Often you hear that red wines should be served at room temperature.  This is not Texas room temperature in the summer time.  It is really referring to cellar temperature which is about 65 degrees.  Never hesitate to put your bottle of red in the refrigerator for 20 minutes prior to serving.

How do I know when a wine is mature? 

Many people make the mistake of purchasing a case of wine that they enjoyed only to lay it aside and be disappointed to find that when they finally opened the bottle, the wine was over the hill.  They missed the moment.  I recommend that if you are buying a wine to lay down, open a bottle every 6 months.  As long as the wine is aging gracefully, continue to enjoy the wine semiannually.  If, however, you open two bottles consecutively that appear to be fading, pull them to enjoy immediately.

How can I make blah wine more special? 

One way of creating excitement from an otherwise boring wine is to infuse the wine with herbs and spices to create wonderful wine based cocktails.  These beverages can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator to be served over ice or as a refreshing glass of wine.

How does the Texas heat effect grapes? 

Grapes love heat. It is what give the grape its sugar and flavor intensity.  Texas has hot days and cool nights which is perfect for growing grapes.  Most people think of Texas as too hot to grow grapes but in reality cold is the challenge.  It is interesting to note that the heat wave of 2003 in France was declared the vintage of the century because heat creates big wines.

Are harvests in Texas earlier than in other parts of the US? 

Messina Hof has vineyards all over Texas.  The most southern vineyards tend to harvest first and then it rolls northward.

Does price really matter as an indicator of wine quality? 

The price of wine is based on many criteria.  How much are the grapes?  How were they harvested?  How long did the wine age and in what?  What is the supply?  What kind of medals did it win?  What does the competition charge?  If a wine is made from expensive high quality grapes and is aged in the best new oak for a period of years, it should be more expensive than a wine processed quickly without oak.

Why is Riesling no longer called Johannisberg Riesling? 

Johannisberg Riesling refers to a variety grown in Johannisberg, Germany.  Though the same variety is grown in the US, The EEOC has trademarked that term.  So,  the term is now Riesling.

What does reserve mean on the label? 

Reserve means different things for different wineries.  At Messina Hof, Reserve is listed as Barrel Reserve or Private Reserve on some of our wines.  Barrel Reserve indicates a wine that has had time in oak and that the oak is usually one year old.  Private Reserve means that the wines are longer in oak and usually new oak.

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