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Wine service - How to serve wine correctly

Wine service temperatures.
Serving wine at the correct temperature will greatly enhance the enjoyment on offer. If served at high temperatures a white wine will taste oily and lose character, and if over-chilled will taste of nothing at all. All too often in restaurants white wine is taken out of the fridge where it is stored at the correct temperature, served, and then dropped to just above freezing for the rest of the meal in an ice bucket. If this happens to you, ask for a plate for the bottle to stand on, only returning it to the ice when it becomes warmer. The ice bucket should be there to regulate the temperature only.

Similarly, if you serve a red wine at too low a temperature it will taste uninteresting at best and fairly foul at worst.

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Sign up to our free wine course - www.freewinecourse.com - for more
information on how to serve wine, as well as:

How to taste wine / How your senses work / Tasting practicalities
Tasting exercises / Blind tasting / Methods of wine scoring
Storage practices / Wine service / The effect of the grape on taste
The effect of location on taste / The effect of vine growing on taste
The effect of wine making on taste / The effect of the year on taste
Profiles of classical wine styles / The secrets of the label
Food and wine matching / Buying with confidence and more...

Plus a range of free interactive wine tasting tools including:
Wine tasting note tool / Food and wine matching tool / scoring tool

All online, in your own time and for free.
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The following temperature guide gives an indication of drinking temperatures for some common wine styles. In principle, the lighter and more acidic a wine, the cooler the service temperature should be. These differ from tasting temperatures as here you are looking for the most pleasurable experience, not to make a detailed 'warts and all' analysis.

Tip - To quickly chill a warm bottle of white wine.
Insert the bottle into ice and water for fifteen minutes and ensure that the ice bucket contains enough water to cover the bottle's surface area. The time can be reduced to five minutes by adding salt to the ice; this serves to melt it, which cools the water more quickly. An alternative method is to use a rapid ice sleeve, taking three to four minutes.

Tip - To quickly warm a cold bottle of red wine.
Pour hand hot water over the outside of a decanter or jug and slowly decant the bottle into it, whilst gently swirling. If the decanter is warmed by another method, when the wine is added the glass will immediately drop in temperature and the wine will remain cold. Using any form of direct heat on the bottle, e.g. a hotplate or oven, will cook wine in contact with the heat source, leaving the centre cold.

Someone once stated that they used a microwave to good effect, though this sounds fairly dangerous as the alcohol vapours could cause a fire. A rule of thumb - don't put wine where you wouldn't put your pets!

Wine service in restaurants.
Although wine service practices in some restaurants still seems to be more for appearance than practical use (such as the ritual sniffing of the cork - the wine will tell you all you need to know), thankfully it has generally become a less sombre affair. However, whilst there has been a move away from great formality in wine service, sensible practices should still apply, and it is a benefit to spot if you and your wine aren't being treated well.

Before any bottle is opened, it should be shown to you to allow you to check that it is the one you chose. This avoids embarrassment and cost. The wine should then be opened within your view (to avoid any accusation of decanting inferior wine into better bottles, which has happened). You should then be offered a small amount to taste. Sadly this is not to check whether you like the taste of the wine. This is purely to identify any faults such as cork taint and possibly to comment on the temperature, not so you can say whether the wine is pleasant to you. Otherwise it would be the same as ordering a fillet of steak and sending it back because you don't like steak! The restaurant can't account for your taste.

Your guests should be served first, female before male in order of seniority (age!) and from the right, so as not to reach across them. The bottle should be held to show the label and a napkin carried to catch any drips. If you order another bottle of the same wine, you should be offered that to taste also, not have it simply poured on top of the first. You should be offered clean glasses if the wine is different.

Of course, this is the ideal scenario only. Most restaurants don't go through the entire process as it's rarely asked of them. You would probably be the brunt of some behind-the-scenes verbal abuse if you asked this of a basic bistro or burger restaurant, though it's nice to be aware of what you should expect if you're paying more.


********************************************************************************
Sign up to our free wine course - www.freewinecourse.com - for more
information on how to serve wine, as well as:

How to taste wine / How your senses work / Tasting practicalities
Tasting exercises / Blind tasting / Methods of wine scoring
Storage practices / Wine service / The effect of the grape on taste
The effect of location on taste / The effect of vine growing on taste
The effect of wine making on taste / The effect of the year on taste
Profiles of classical wine styles / The secrets of the label
Food and wine matching / Buying with confidence and more...

Plus a range of free interactive wine tasting tools including:
Wine tasting note tool / Food and wine matching tool / scoring tool

All online, in your own time and for free.
No pitch, no catches, no strings - just add your own wine!

www.freewinecourse.com

********************************************************************************

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