Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wine's best kept secret...a wine aerator

I recently took a trip to Napa with close friends from college. Our second annual ladies weekend in fact. We were on a quest for good times and good wine. We decided on a wine tour where we could learn a thing or two about wine and not have to worry about driving our red minivan (affectionately named the red fury) back to our rented house. I learned a few lessons from my trip to Napa.

1. Before you invest in wine, find out if you can ship it to your state

I spent a lot of effort (and money) carefully selecting my new favorite wines. However, there is a law in my state, that I was totally unaware of, that prohibits the shipment of wine to it. There is the option of checking the wine on your flight, but that assumes your flight will go as planned. My flight from Sacramento to San Francisco was delayed enough where I was going to miss my connection to Boston. Another women on the flight (Mary Jo) was in the same situation. She offered me a ride to San Francisco and went to get her car while I retrieved the wine I had checked.

My new friend, Mary Jo, with the red convertible Miata picked me and my wine up at the curb in Sacramento. We proceeded to attempt to stuff luggage in the trunk, but even a carry-on was difficult. I ended up with a lot of luggage on my lap. It was ok though, I was getting a ride and it was only 100 degrees.

As soon as we got on the road I asked 'so how long of a drive is this?' 1hr 45min with good traffic. What?! Our flight leaves San Fran in about 2 hrs 5 min! We sped as fast as we could. Meanwhile, I got a nice tour of the bay area.

As we approached the San Fran airport, Mary Jo and I planned our 'get me on this plane' strategy. She dropped me off at the curb and went to park the car. I was already sweating heavily from the ride. I meet Jose Chavez at the curb to check my wine...'sorry ma'am, it is less than 30 min to take-off, we cannot check this.' Noooo! 'Jose, can you at least hold this for Mary Jo until she gets back from Boston? It's the least I can do to thank her.' He agrees and I sprint to the security line.

'Does anyone mind if I cut in the line, my flight leaves in 20 minutes?' California people are nice and I reach the front. I got through security and slipped on my shoes without tying them. I continued the sprint with my heavy bag and carry-on to the gate (which happens to be the very last one). I got there, totally drenched and they were toward the end of boarding. I told them to hold Mary Jo's ticket, as there were many folks on stand-by, and got on the plane. Waiting, waiting. I call Mary Jo and she says, 'tell them to wait, i'm close to the gate!' I call the flight attendant and as she is walking toward me, the plane door closes. Sorry Mary Jo! I feverishly text her, 'See Jose Chavez at the curb, you can have my wine!' I felt so terrible for my new friend.
She had to wait another 8 hours to take a red eye from San Francisco to Boston and work all the next day.

Rest assured though, she did get the wine!

2. Keep an open mind

Every time I ordered wine in a restaurant, I would get the cabernet. I thought it was my favorite. It's good, but I had never really given other wines a chance. I found that I also like red zinfandels and petite sirah.

The bottle of cabernet my husband had sent to our table from across the country

3. The Vinturi, a wine aerator, can make a $10 bottle of wine taste like a million bucks!

If you pour your wine through the aerator, it maximizes the amount of wine surface area exposed to air which brings out the flavors in the wine while subduing the alcohol smell and taste.

I assure you that even the most casual of wine drinkers could discern between wine from the bottle and aerated wine. Swirling your wine in the glass or using a decanter serve the same function, but at a much slower pace.

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