Italian Wine: 7 Basic Questions You Were Always Afraid to Ask

Would you like to taste wine as a sommelier someday? What if you don’t know much about wine, except the fact you enjoy it, a lot? In this post, I asked an Italian wine expert and consultant Max Niccoli (@wineventsplanner on IG) some basic questions about wine everybody is usually afraid to ask and he was so kind to answer them all!

Max is the best person to tell you everything about wine. He organizes wine tastings in the US and in Italy and he only works with exclusive Italian boutique winemakers who produce a few premium quality wine bottles per year here in Tuscany. Here is the insider information he shared with me.


7 things you always wanted to know about wine


1. How to swirl wine and why do you do it?

When you taste the wine, you first look at it in your glass and determine its color. Then you swirl and agitate it to make it breathe and better feel its flavor. After that, you have to taste it: keep it in your mouth for a few seconds. Only now you can drink it. In this way, you will use all your senses in the wine tasting.

2. How to choose a good wine?

These 3 things matter when you choose a wine: territory, the weather of that specific production year, and the winemakers. But it is not enough, your taste matters too, as well as what you are having for lunch or dinner with that wine. 



3. What is the best food pair for every kind of wine?

It depends. Sparkling or rosé wines are good with finger food. White wines are fine for fish or salad. Red ones for pasta or chicken meat. Vintage wines seem made for steak or barbeque. Dessert wines are good with cake or Italian desserts. But you can also enjoy wine by itself, without food. Max recommends a “wine meditation” – by the chimney, reading a book, or just chatting with your loved one.


4. Do all wines need to breathe?

The answer is yes. White wines must breathe just a few minutes, young wines up to 2 years are good to drink within an hour. Wines from 2 to 10 years must breathe at least a couple of hours. Wines aged more than 10 years need from 5 hours to up to one day to breathe before you can fully feel their taste.



5. How to tell a wine is corked?

The most common wine flaw is called “cork taint”. This means that the cork of the bottle has been infected, making the wine smell and taste musty and moldy. Trust me, you can tell when it happens.

6. For how long can you keep a wine bottle open?

Max advises to drink it up the same day, or the next day. After 48 hours the wine will start to become vinegar.

7. Do you put ice in the wine?

Not in Italy. It is a sort of crime here, no one would ever ruin a good wine by putting ice in it. Max is very clear about it and after years of living in Tuscany, home of the best worldwide famous wines like Chianti Classico, I couldn’t agree more.



If you want to know what is the best way to store wine at home and if you want to see Max’s style and wine cellar and some of the best Italian wines, check the video of this interview on my Instagram TV and follow me there to stay updated with the latest events about Italy, weddings, and events.

Curious to learn more? Here you can find a list of Tuscan wines ideal for your wedding.

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