My Account
Sign In
Shopping CartShopping Cart

Ask the Wine Department

Do you have questions about wine?

If you do, let us know what they are and we can answer them for you - email us at

Also, some questions and answers will be posted here for other to learn from.

Question - Please explain how wine futures work.
Buying futures provides wine lovers the opportunity to buy their wines while they are still in the barrel. Prices are much less and it guarantees you the quantity you want. Make you selection from our offerings and we will let you know when they wines come in. You must pay for the wines at the time of ordering and, depending on the region, the wine will take anywhere from 1 to 2 1/2 years before being delivered. To be an informed consumer it is important to read about harvest conditions from specific areas prior to ordering futures. Question - What are ideal serving temperatures and decanting procedures?

We often field questions involving the ideal serving temperatures and decanting procedures for your special occasion wines. Primarily, most fine white wines should be served at a temperature not exceeding 55 degrees farenheit. Most mature red wines are best served between 57-62 degrees. Further, in determining whether a red wine should be decanted...think of its nature. If it is a light-bodied more simply styled wine, do not bother decanting. Decanting is generally reserved for wines that may be throwing sediment as they age, or very complex and firm young wines that may well benefit from the additional aeration that decanting provides.

While the process may seem somewhat involved, it is actually very simple. Just remember that the idea is to separate the liquids from the solids while integrating the wine with oxygen. A favorite technique is to stand the bottle to be decanted up for at least 24 hours prior to serving. Approximately 1 hour before the event position a candle or flashlight between the bottle and the decanter and, in a single movement, slowly and steadily pour the wine into the decanter so that the beam may pass through the stream entering the decanter. In this fashion you will readily notice any sediment easing up the neck of the bottle and know when to call it quits. That's all there is to it and ANYONE can do it! Question - Is the 1998 Ciacci "Ateo" you have for $21.99 the same wine as the Ciacci Piccolomini 1998 "Alteo" reviewed on page 9 of issue 137 of The Wine Advocate?

One and the same wine. A-T-E-O is the correct spelling. Mr. Parker must have been thinking of a Rhone wine when he was proofreading. Question - I like merlots and cabernets. I would like to have some relatively inexpensive wines that are drinkable now, while if they improve with age that is fine as well. Can you suggest a mixture of a couple of cases for me.

As far as inexpensive wines we would recommend Dolcettos and Barberas from Italy. Zinfandels from California,Cotes du Rhone and petite chateaux Bordeaux from France. Then there is Shiraz from Australia. There are many fine wines in the under $20 or under $15 category that we stock and recommend. If you have time to visit our store we can send you home with a few mixed cases to try and from that we are certain you will find a few favorites that you can stock up on for good everyday use.