1. What are the best conditions to store wine?
A: The best is to store wine in a dark, humid area with a constant temperature of between 13°C and 18°C. Direct light can damage wine-this is why red wine is usually placed in a darker bottle. Also important is sufficient humidity to ensure any cork closures do not dry out. When storing wine for long periods, a bottle should be placed on its side to ensure the cork stays moist and does not dry out; correct humidity will also help with this.
2. Why do more wineries, including Perdeberg, use screw caps on many of their bottles?
A: Screw caps are a much better closure than corks which often can be the cause of wine not storing well or having a fault. The cork can be too porous or could be infected with TCA which can affect the wine. Screw caps essentially negate these issues. Wine can also age better in a screw cap as no air is allowed in whilst even an expensive cork is slightly porous. It is also of course much more convenient as one needn’t take a bottle opener along and you can effectively seal a bottle again without to much hassle. Although we aren’t aware of any Perdeberg wine lovers storing their open bottles for too long!
3. What are Reserve wines and why do they differ in price to other wines?
A: Reserve wines are treated differently to other wines even from a viticulture (the study of grapes and vines) side. They are literally ‘reserved’ before harvest and portions of ‘blocks’ (a group of rows of vines that are usually handled similarly and contain one cultivar and style of viticulture) are selected and treated to ensure optimum quality. No mechanical harvesters are used and grapes are hand selected. These wines are also usually aged in oak barrels which is why they are generally more expensive.
4. Where do Perdeberg grapes come from?
A: Perdeberg sources its grapes from our members which have farms stretching from Durbanville to Agter Paarl and Malmesbury. We also buy in some grapes from Stellenbosch and other wine growing areas which allows us to create consistent styles of wine and also plant the best cultivars to the suited terroir (this is a combination of soil, weather conditions and other factors). Perdeberg spans 5 microclimates which allows our wine making team a lot of options with which to make our award winning wine.
5. What does RS, pH and TA stand for and what are their effect on wine?
A: RS is the residual sugar it affects taste. According to industry regulations a wine can only be classified as being dry, off-dry sweet, semi-sweet etc if its RS is between certain grades. Ph is a measure of the acid present in wine. It affects the ability of wine to be able to be stored as well as the stability of colour in red wines. Wines with high pH (weak acidity) do not age well. TA is a measure of the total acidity of a wine; TA should be around 5.5-7g/l for white wines and 5-5.8g/l for red wines.
6. At what temperature should one drink wine?
A: The general rule of thumb is that a red wine should rather be enjoyed too cool than too warm and a white rather too warm than too cool. This is because at more extreme temperatures the wine starts to loose its basic structure, aromas and taste. Another rule of thumb is to serve wine on a sliding scale with dry wines at room temperature and sweeter wines at cooler temperatures. Specifically we can recommend Red wines at 15°C-18°C, white wines from 8°C to 12°C depending on the RS (residual sugar) and sparkling wine or Cap Classique at around 7°C. Port and other desert wines should also ideally be served at these lower temperatures. And yes we are busy with a Cap Classique which will be available in 2010.