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How Cold is your Chardonnay?
Tips on interpreting winespeak and serving wines

Face it, good wine is an expensive beverage. Many people would consider even a $10 bottle of wine at dinner extravagant. Rum and coke is certainly cheaper, and you don't have to develop a taste for it. So, are you getting the most out of your wine experiences? "An enticing California Chardonnay with a complex profile of rich fig, pear, hazelnut and citrus" - do wine reviewers just make all that stuff up? Don't you wonder if they really smell all those aromas in wine? Well, they actually do, and so can you! Try these simple steps with your Chardonnay this summer, and soon you, too, will be using "wine speak."

The Glass - Perfection is a Riedel Chardonnay glass. Pretty good is any decent wine glass with a bowl at least 3-1/2" tall and no more than 2-1/2" wide at the lip. Also, be sure to check your glass for odors from detergent residue. Cascade does not typically enhance wine.

Temperature - Refrigerator temperature, 40 to 42 degrees, is way, way too cold for Chardonnay. Chardonnay served at that temperature might as well be Boone's Farm, as it will taste about the same. Chardonnay shows its best characteristics at 52 to 58 degrees. Let it warm up a little and you will be rewarded with all those complex vanilla, creamy pear, ripe apple and nutmeg scents and flavors that good California Chardonnay is famous for.

Pour - Remember the idea is to enjoy the aroma of the wine, and you can't do that with a full glass. Don't pour the glass more than half-full.

Tasting - Before you take your first taste, swirl the wine gently just after it is first poured (watch what you wear when you try this the first time). Now, tilt the glass slightly and just stick your nose in it (the glass, not the wine). Now, try to identify the various scents. Tasting should reinforce your identifications.

Finally - Remember, it's only wine, relax and drink it!