Whether you’re serving wine for a dinner party or simply for self indulgence, setting up and serving the wine properly will greatly enhance its enjoyment. We have put together a quick and easy guide on how to serve and enjoy wine with friends and family.
Allow the wine to breathe
Pull out the cork of the wine bottle some time in advance, allowing the wine to breathe. It can be effective in letting the wine interact with the air, helping the aromas to develop and easing out the flavors.
To start the process
Leave the bottle standing, with its cork removed, or better still, pour the wine slowly and steadily into a decanter. This will help the wine to aerate, but not as much as when it is left in the bowl of a glass. While younger, more closed wines need longer to throw sediment, complex wines can be decanted quickly.
Separate the wine from its sediment
The decanting process is mainly based on separating good wine from sediment. Certain wines throw sediments such as Vintage port and mature claret. Wines such as California Cabernets or Rhones, which are renowned for throwing deposits, may leave your glass muddy if poured undecanted.
Allow the sediment to settle
Leave the wine upright, without any disturbance for 12 hours or more so that the sediment settles in one place.
Most white wines do not need to be decanted for aeration, except for the sweeter dessert varieties. Just a swirl of the glass before drinking should provide adequate aeration.
A proper serving temperature is the most important aspect of wine service, because it can greatly affect the flavor and aroma of the wine. As a rule of thumb, white wines should be served at a maximum of 11 degrees centigrade, or even cooler for light, acidic still and sparkling varieties.
Red wines on the other hand can be kept to a maximum of 18 degrees centigrade, or even lower temperatures for those varieties that are more mature. Beaujolais or Loire reds benefit from chilling. Keep a bucket and iced water handy to chill a wine quickly.
Pour the wine slowly into the glass from the bottle or decanter, letting the wine ease out gently, unshaken and unstirred. As a general rule, white wines are served before red and young wines before old. Remember, not to fill the glass over the half way mark.