Don’t obsess over wine purchases. We show you how to make the most of any vino.

New rule #1

It’s okay to put red wines in the fridge.
Yes, right next to the whites. Unless you have a fancy wine cellar those reds are at risk of overheating. Over time, a warm house or stove-heated kitchen can cook your reds , sapping them of flavour. 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 two 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 flavours 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 decanter, 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.

The Best Five Red Wines Under R100?

The Expert: Christian Eedes, former editor of Wine magazine and taster for Platter’s.

Dieu Donné Merlot 2008 R95
Why: Understated and classy, this wine shows red fruit and good freshness. There’s some chocolate there too, but not a silly amount.
Food pairing: Works well with tuna or salmon, or even prawns wrapped in bacon.
To purchase, call:021 876 2493

Elgin Vintners Third Edition Pinot Noir 2009 R90
Why: Pinot Noir is known as the “heartbreak grape”
– difficult to make and, mostly, difficult to afford. This one’s subtle and elegant, and under a hundred bucks.
Food pairing: Goes great with poultry. Try duck confit or, if money’s really tight, roast chicken.
021 848 9587

Groot Constantia Constantia Rood 2009 R71
Why: A multi-varietal blend that’s packed with berries but remains fresh and elegant. A dry finish makes it particularly food friendly.
Food pairing: Should go well with just about everything, but an old-fashioned potjie will work particularly well.
022 492 2825

Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 R95
Why: Rich and generous, this wine shows plenty of black fruit with a smooth texture.
Food Pairing: Avoid anything too light and delicate! A medium-rare 600g T-bone will probably do the trick.
021 880 0717

Raka Biography Shiraz 2009 R90
Why: Typical of the variety, this wine shows aromas and flavours of red berries and pepper. Pure fruited with well-judged oak.
Food Pairing: Smoked or grilled loin of lamb would be one option or try a plate of charcuterie.
028 341 0676