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Get wine ready for your guests in a hurry

Addie Broyles
abroyles@statesman.com

Chilling wine isn't just for the white varietals. Even red wine should be served at a temperature slightly lower than the temperature in your house. (Think about the chill of a basement or cellar. That's the temperature you're after for many red varietals.)

When you're prepping for a party, it's easy to forget to put a bottle in the fridge ahead of your guests' arrival, but if you need to quickly bring down the temperature of the wine, fill an ice bucket with ice, water and a handful of salt. The salt will make the ice melt faster and cool the temperature of the water and, therefore, the wine, in less than 10 minutes. You can stick the bottle in the freezer for no more than 15 or 20 minutes, but some wine enthusiasts argue that this diminishes the quality of the wine.

What if you forget to decant your wine? If you splurge on an $100 cabernet franc for your Christmas dinner, don't waste your money by drinking it straight out of the bottle. Even casual wine drinkers can notice the difference between a bottle of wine that has just been opened and one whose flavors have been enhanced by being exposed to oxygen.

You can buy a lot of fancy, beautiful glass decanters, but if you're in a hurry, you can hyperdecant the wine by pouring it back and forth between a full bottle and an empty one. If you're really in a pinch, you can use a blender and pulse the wine a few times to infuse it quickly with oxygen. It's not elegant and it's certainly not the first choice, but your taste buds will thank you.