Hints on Serving Wines
The pleasure to be obtained from serving your own wine can be enhanced greatly by the manner in which it is served. Here are a few guide lines for the best results.
Make sure that the wine is quite ready for drinking before you attempt to serve it. It should be crystal clear, have an attractive bouquet, and taste ripe, smooth and well-balanced. When bottling wine, it is a good idea to fill four full size and four half size bottles from a 4-litre or a gallon jar. By drinking the half size bottles at intervals from the time you think the wine should be ready, you will have a good chance of saving lour full size bottles when the wine is at its best. It will keep in a good condition without deterioration for some time, even several years, if kept in a cool store.
Consider whether the wine you propose to serve is right for the occasion. It is a waste of good wine to oiler it to people who prefer beer or lea. It is also a waste of a good dry wine to serve it to people who prefer sweet wine and vice versa. Do not serve an aperitif or a rich dessert wine as a table wine or vice versa. Use the different wine styles for their most suitable purpose if you wish to enjoy them to the full.
White, golden, rose and tawny wines taste flabby when served at room temperature. All benefit by being chilled in the refrigerator for an hour or so before use. Conversely, red wines taste harsh and less pleasant when served too cold. They need to be left in a warm room (21°C/70°F) for several hours before serving. Red wines can be damaged by plunging the bottles in hot water or standing them on a hot surface to warm them up quickly. However, white wines come to no harm by immersing” them in a bucket of icy water. White wines such as apple are best served at a temperature of between 7.2°C/45°F and 10°C/50°F. Red wines such as elderberry need to be served at a temperature of between 20°G/68°F and 21.1°C/70°F. Sparkling wines should always be served between 5.6°C/42°F and 7.2°C/45°F so that they do not foam too much when opened, nor dissipate their sparkle too quickly in the glass.
Glasses, decanters and trays
Plain, colourless glass shows oil wine to its best advantage. The glasses should be incurved rather than straight or ‘V shaped and the bowl should always be set upon astern. White wine is best served from a tulip-shaped glass that retains the cool and sometimes delicate bouquet. Red wines are best served in spherical-shaped glasses that allow the wine to breathe a little more-. Sparkling wine looks best in a flute-shaped glass that retains the dancing bubbles for a longer period. Aperitif and dessert-type wines should be served in smaller glasses since they are much stronger than table wines.
When pouring wine into glasses never fill them to the brim. This not only looks greedy, but makes it difficult to move the glass without spilling the wine. Half to two-thirds full is much more attractive and leaves room for the bouquet to gather.
Decanters look more attractive than bottles no matter how decorative the label. They not only-show off the wine to better advantage but also allow it to absorb a little oxygen from the air and so develop fresh constituents in the bouquet and flavour. Dark bottles in which the wine should be stored for maturation, mask the colour and clarity of the wine which a clear decanter shows off to perfection.
If the glasses of wine are to be offered from a tray, take care to use a silver or stainless steel tray rather than a coloured one which detracts from the appearance of the wine. If you are forced to use a coloured tray, cover it with a plain white serviette-even a paper one. Pick the glass up by the stem and hold it by the base with your thumb on top and fingers beneath. Never touch the bowl, nor hold the glass by the bowl. This puts greasy fingerprints on it. Affects the temperature and hides the wine from your view.
Raise the wine to your nose and inhale deeply. Noticing the aroma of the main ingredients and the bouquet of the complex vinous constituents. Take a good mouthful, chew it and move it around your mouth before swallowing. Look for cleanliness, balance, smoothness, good flavour; then wait for the aftertaste to develop in the back of the throat. A fitting farewell is the hallmark of a good wine well served.
A modern concept regarding wine seems to be ‘if you like it, drink it regardless’. The experience of those long used to good food and good wine, however, indicates that some wines accompany certain foods better than others. In general terms this is the dictum red wine with red meat and white wine with white meat! Nevertheless, this theory can be widened to include light wines with light foods, heavier wines with heavier foods, sweet wines with sweet (bods, dessert wines at the end of the meal and, of course, aperitif types before the meal. Some wines undoubtedly drink best on their own and without food, so that the subtle flavour and balance of acidity and sweetness can be the better appreciated. Try not to ignore the wisdom of the ages and select your wines sensibly to accompany different dishes. Never just serve any wine simply because it is a wine. Serve highly-flavoured wines with highly-flavoured foods and above all. Do not serve a dry wine with the sweet course one will spoil the taste of the other.
Food cooked with a little wine is often enhanced in flavour. You can use a glass of wine instead of water when stewing fruit, for instance. Also try a glass of wine in a casserole, slew or gravy sauce. You can also marinade meat or fish in wine. Homemade wines are excellent for culinary purposes and you can use the ends of bottles alter decanting, but remember to keep the sweet and dry separate.
You will enjoy a good wine with the right companion more than you would with someone for whom you have less respect or affection.
Indeed, there is a saying ‘good wine deserves good company’. Therefore, save your very best wines to share with those who will appreciate them most. This is a small point but an important one if you wish to get the maximum pleasure from your wines.
Unlike other wines, sparkling wine cannot be decanted and must be served from the bottle in which it was matured. Disgorging the bottle sediment has already been explained. When the cage is removed from the stopper before serving the wine, have a large jug or bowl handy as well as the glasses. When you remove the stopper, the wine may foam for a second or two and this should be collected in the jug. The foam quickly subsides, and you can then pour the wine into the glasses. When pouring, run the wine down the side of the glass rather than into the bottom, since the latter method quickly fills the glass with lots of foam and little wine. Always handle bottles of sparkling-wine with special care so as not to shake them up.