The New Rules of Wine

Don't obsess over wine purchases. Paul Grieco, sommelier of New Your City's Hearth Restaurant and Terroir Wine Bars, shows you how to make the most of any vino.

 wines2

New Rule #1: It's okay to put red wines in the fridge Yep, right next to the whites. Unless you have a fancy wine cellar—or, hey, just a chilly basement where you can stack 'em by the washer—those reds are at risk of overheating. Over time, a warm house or stove-heated kitchen can cook your reds, sapping them of flavor. Beware: Don't forget about them. Yes, they're unopened, but their corks can shrink in the dry fridge environment and let air in (although that could take up to 2 years).

New Rule #2: Serve reds a little cooled, and whites a little warmed We know: Wine is supposed to be easier than this. But before you go crawling back to beer, consider the rationale: When a red wine is at room temperature, the alcohol can overwhelm the taste of the wine. And a white that was pulled straight from the fridge may be too cold for the flavors to come through. Prepare: If your reds are at room temperature, chill them for 30 minutes before serving. If they're in the fridge, pull them out and let them sit for an hour. Let chilled whites sit for 20 minutes. See? It's not that hard.

New Rule #3: Yes, you can make your wine taste better Have you ever popped open a bottle, poured a glass, and puckered at the bitter, green tea taste? Don't rush to feed the drain. Chances are the wine's tannins haven't yet mellowed—and a little time and air can fix that. Repair: If the wine tastes acidic, pour it into a wide-bottomed pitcher, and then go enjoy another bottle. Come back to the first one a few hours later. Still don't like it? It might just be the wine.