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|
OPEN THE BOTTLE
The corkscrew is an all-important tool for opening a bottle of wine. There are numerous types of corkscrews, but the best one is not always the most beautiful or the most expensive, it is the one that works best for you. This init self can be quite individual, so be sure to try a few before you decide which one you like best. It should remove the cork vertically and have a long, sharp screw (also called ‘the worm’). When the cork is removed vertically, there are less chances of it breaking. If the cork breaks, its little fragments will fall into the wine and create an unpleasant situation, though if that should occur, know that it is not harmful to the wine.
If your cork does break or shatter into the bottle, pour a small amount out of
the bottle in one quick splash – that will usually take care of any stray pieces.
Still wines are often sealed with foil at the top of the bottle. The first step is to cut the foil with the built-in knife most corkscrews have. It should be cut below the flange at the top of the bottle. You can either remove the entire foil or just the part above the neck, either way is acceptable. Next, clean the opening of the bottle with a clean, dry cloth to eliminate any mould or sediment. Insert the corkscrew carefully, with the very point of the worm at the centre of the cork. Screw the worm into the cork, being careful not to go past the end of the cork inside the bottle. Remove the cork by pulling it out slowly; often your corkscrew will have a lever that you can rest against the lip of the bottle which will give you some leverage.