Aging and Storing of Nissley Wine
Most wines of the world are best when drunk young, and this is true for most Nissley wines also. The reason typically lies in the type of grape and the style of vinification. A heavy-bodied, high-tannin wine will benefit from long aging, whereas our light-bodied, low-tannin wines are enjoyed much earlier. We recommend drinking Nissley whites and rosés within 3 years from harvest, reds within 5 years. Generally speaking, if you like a wine today, you should plan to drink it within a year.
If you have an older wine on hand, you may enjoy it for the qualities that it developed over time rather than the original characteristics. White wines become amber and pungent (oxidized), more like cocktail sherry. Red wines become flat, brownish and funky. In addition, our red wines nearly always drop pigments, which tend to have a bitter flavor and cause cloudiness when agitated. You will want to decant an older red before drinking it. Older wines that smell vinegary, oxidized, or flat can often be used successfully in cooking.
Store wines unopened, away from light, and in a fairly cool place, ideally 55º. Storing a wine on its side is recommended, however studies have shown that corked bottles may be stored upright for several months to a year without damage to the wine. Cellars are generally preferred, not only because they are cooler, with more uniformity of temperature, but also because they are usually rougher and can withstand the effects of an occasional leak.
Protect your wine from seasonal extremesIn winter, do not store wine in an unheated area. In summer, store it in a cool place.
Wine Bottles & Warm Weather
Whenever you carry wine in your car during warm weather months, it is best to keep the bottles in an upright position and keep them with you in the front of the car, not in the trunk. Also, do not leave them in a closed car which is parked in the sun. With excessive temperature, the wine and air inside the bottle will expand and possibly cause leakage of the wine past the cork.
Some leakage will not spoil the wine, but excessive leakage will create additional air space in the bottle.Over time, this will contribute to the browning of the wine. The heat itself will accelerate the aging of the wine, but it is recommended that Nissley wine be consumed young (within a year of purchase) for other reasons. If the wine is consumed young, the heat effect will be insignificant.
When you reach your destination, if you intend to store the wine on its side, allow the wine first to reach the temperature of the room where it will be stored.
Some wines will leak at fairly low temperatures. But the hotter the weather, the more likely that a particular bottle will leak. If you do not have a cool storage area, another possibility is to store the bottles upright during warm weather.
Sulfites (Sulfur Dioxide)
Nearly all commercial wines are made with added sulfites. Those made without it are extremely rare. At Nissley Vineyards, we use a small amount of sulfites which converts to sulfur dioxide in the wine.
Sulfur dioxide acts as a preservative. It has anti-oxidant (anti-browning) and anti-bacterial qualities. Without sulfur dioxide, few wines would be drinkable six months from harvest. The use of sulfites in winemaking dates back to the Middle Ages and earlier, when sulfur was burned inside of barrels to protect the wine and the containers.
The question is not whether but how much. The effectiveness of sulfites depends on several factors. One is the acidity of the wine. A wine with higher acidity will need less sulfites. Another is the age of the wine. The protective sulfur dioxide in a wine declines during the life of the wine, eventually leading to spoilage. Because we encourage you to drink our wines young, we are able to use less sulfites.
Headaches can be caused by excessive sulfur dioxide. Moreover, some consumers, usually asthmatics, suffer severe allergic reactions to it, although rarely to that in wine. Therefore, the Federal Government has required that wines sold after January 1988 include the statement “contains sulfites” on the label. You should not assume, however, that a wine without the statement is also made without sulfites. For example, a winery which sells its wine only within its own state borders may be exempt from the labeling requirement.
Sediments occasionally occur in bottled wine, and wine crystals are a type of sediment. The crystals are potassium tartrate (cream of tartar) which is found naturally in wine, and it will precipitate under certain conditions, such as prolonged storage at cold temperatures. The processing required to guarantee that these crystals will never form is generally considered to diminish the quality of the wine.
Wine crystals come in various shapes and sizes. Sometimes they resemble tiny grapenuts. Sometimes they resemble diamonds or tiny pieces of amber or ruby glass. Unlike glass, they will dissolve in warm or hot water.
Some wines may contain crystals when you buy them. Others may develop crystals after being stored in an unheated room during cold weather or simply refrigerated for a few days. The ideal serving temperature for wine is 50º – 70º F depending on the wine. From season to season, the proper serving temperature will be achieved by different methods. However, a wine should rarely need more than one hour in the refrigerator or 20 minutes in an ice bucket.
Wine CrystalsIf crystals are present in the wine, you might prefer to decant the bottle before serving.
Corks & Openers
There are many openers available. Generally, the characteristics that we recommend in an opener are:
- Hollow pigtail worm
- Mechanical leverage
If you have dexterity, the Pulltap Corkscrew will probably be the best choice for you. This is a variation of the so-called Waiter’s Corkscrew. This type is preferred by many because it folds and can be carried in a pocket.
Otherwise, we recommend a well-constructed Winged Corkscrew. There are many inferior winged corkscrews on the market. Be sure to look for the hollow pigtail worm. The trick to using a winged corkscrew is two-fold:
- Let the wings rise freely as you screw the worm down
- Screw the worm in completely, so that the spiral part is submerged
For those who want a low-priced way to open the bottle, it is necessary to give up the mechanical leverage. The Pocket Corkscrew (also called Picnic Corkscrew) works reasonably well on most corks. With its hollow pigtail worm, it can rescue a cork that is receding into the bottle. We recommend this approach:
- Screw the worm entirely into the cork until the plastic meets the cork
- Continue to turn the handle clockwise while pulling up
- If the cork won’t budge, hold the neck of the bottle under warm running water for 60 seconds, or rub it between the palms of your hands.
Complete instructions are included with the corkscrew that we carry in our shops.
As with all of our wine accessories, the openers are not available for shipping. They are available only in our Nissley Wine Shops.
As a wine producer in Pennsylvania, we are permitted to ship our wines directly to Pennsylvania consumers. (Please see the Shipping page.) However, at this time we do not ship our wines to consumers in other states.
One important restriction that you may not know is this: you, the consumer, are not permitted to ship wine at all, whether it be within Pennsylvania or outside. Shippers generally ask what is in the package, and if you tell them it is wine, they will not accept the package. Furthermore, most states have restrictions on what an individual may legally bring into their state. For example, Pennsylvania is a total control state, and individuals may not legally bring in alcoholic beverages from another state. If an exception is made, you must still pay taxes and markup.