Serving Wine

More than just pouring a glass..

A good wine is suitable for all occasions, from a casual get-together to an elegant reception. If the wine is to be served with a meal, remember that wine and food are partners, and as such, each should complement and enhance each other. In planning your meal, expect to pour about half-filled glasses from each bottle. Serve white wines chilled to about 50 F (10 C) while Red wines should be served at about 64 F (18 C). Served too cold or too warm, a wine has has neither fragrance nor taste. The Naked Vine has a selection of wine thermometers to ensure that you are serving each type of wine at its optimal temperature. When opening a bottle of wine, remove the foil capsule and wipe the rim of the bottle. The remove the cork. Pour the wine into a clear, stemmed glasses with a tulip-shaped bowl (The best shape for an initial wine tasting). A glass that is somewhat tapered at the top will help contain the bouquet and allow the wine to be swirled in the glass more easily. Also remember to never fill a glass more than half full at any time.

Contrary to usual practice, it is often a good idea aerate white wines, too, due to recent changes in the vinification methods. Chardonnay that has been fermented and matured in wooden casks, in particular, should always be left out to breathe in a carafe for an hour or more before serving. This allows any undesirable yeast smells in these often unfiltered wines to break down, and develop their floral and fruity aromas, which otherwise tend to be eclipsed by the smell of wood.

The most important criterion for a decanter is that it is made from clear glass, so that the colour of wine can be assessed and also displayed to best advantage. Modern decanters are designed with their function in the mind, and so simple forms are preferred. The ideal vessel in which to let wine breathe is a wide-bellied carafe with a narrow neck. It should have around twice the volume of the bottle to be decanted, to allow even absorption of oxygen at the surface and concentrate the developing aromas directly above the wine.

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