Taking into account some very basic principles, you can’t go wrong. When serving a selection of wines over the course of your evening, remember these tips:
|Start with sparkling, if you have it. it wakes up your palate and gets people in a celebratory mood.|
|Dry wines are always served before sweet wines.|
|White wines should be served before red wines.|
|If you are serving a rosé,serve this before reds.|
|Young, lighter bodied wines before heavier wines.|
|If serving fortified wines, try to serve them last. Their higher alcohol content will create palate fatigue.|
Nowadays, one might say that there are no rules: we start with the basics, but as you become more adventurous, don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild.
Always taste the wine before pouring it for your guests to assure that it is in good condition. Tradition says that you should always serve ladies first, and further to that, serve the oldest ladies first – at least, if you feel confident that you know what order you should pour in for age (sometimes this is difficult). Another acceptable method is to pour in a clockwise direction, ending with the host. In any case, make sure that you can divide the bottle to be able to serve everybody at the table.
Serve the wine from the person’s right side, holding the bottle at the bottom so that the label is upright and visible to the guest. The “host” is always the last person to be served.
Wine is always at its best when it is served at the proper temperatures. If a wine is too warm or too cold, it may either lack flavour and aroma, or present off flavours and aromas. The best serving temperatures for wines are as follows:
White Wines: 45 to 50 degrees; Sparkling Wines: 41 to 51 degrees; Rosé Wines: 45 to 55 degrees; Red wines: 50 to 64 degrees; Fortified Wines: 54 to 65 degrees. Above all, you should never serve any wine at a temperature higher than the air in the room – especially for red wines, this may cause any volatile acidity to be amplified and lend an unpleasant tasting experience.
|Type of Wine||Refrigeration (hours)||Reference Serving Temperature|
|Celsius (°C)||Fahrenheit (°F)|
|Light Sweet Whites||4||5-10||41-50|
|Dry Light Aromatic Whites||2||10-12||50-54|
|Medium-bodied Dry Whites||1.5||10-12||50-54|
|Full-bodied Sweet Whites||1.5||10-12||50-54|
|Full-bodied Dry Whites||1||12-16||54-61|
5% of all wine under cork is affected by cork taint, which is caused by a bacteria that makes the wine taste musty and bitter. You will immediately notice the off smell of a corked wine, though in chilled white wines it is sometimes more difficult to detect. Corkiness is a bottle-to-bottle problem, and just because one bottle is affected doesn’t mean that the next one will be. Again, best bet is to purchase two bottles just to make sure you have a back up.