How to Serve Wine Properly

Some people wonder why the wine served at a bar or at a friend’s place tastes so much better. But they don’t know that by taking a very few simple steps, they can do the same thing i.e., serve wine properly.

Some people can’t get past pouring wine in a glass and dropping a few ice cubes in it. Sometimes the situation might even become awkward if wine is served badly - such as on a date.

But there is really no mystery behind properly served wine. By following a few tips, one can make the wine look and taste its best. The important things to be taken care of while serving wine are as follows.

Storage

Storage of wine greatly affects the taste. Improper storage results in adding a tinge of bad taste to the wine. Wines should always be stored in a cool place with constant room temperature (I use an Edgestar wine cooler). Excessive heat(or temperature) is the biggest enemy of wine. Temperature above 70 degree quickly ages the wine and it cooks the wine until the fruit character becomes insensitive.

Change in the room temperature is equally important in storing wine. Rapid fluctuations in temperature affects the pressure changes in the bottle and may result in loosening of cork and leakage of wine by allowing air to enter into the bottle.

Along with these, one should not expose wine much to the air. Prolonged exposure to air results in oxidation adding a brownish color and unwanted flavors to the wine.

So, wine should always be stored in a room with cool temperature and with constant room temperature. Read what we have to say about the Edgestar wine cooler brand here.

Temperature

The temperature of wine is very important while serving wine as it greatly affects the taste and flavor. In general white wines should be served chilled and red wines should be served at room temperature.

For white wine, keeping it in fridge for a couple of hours will be fine (though a specialist wine cooler is preferred). If there is no time for that, it can be placed in an ice bucket which is filled half with ice cubes and the rest with cold water. In this case a twenty minutes will cool the wine. For the red wines, room temperature will be fine.

A wine bottle opens up and releases its richest aromas at a particular temperature. Knowing this temperature and maintaining it is very important.

Excessive chilling of wine reduces the aroma and sweetness and emphasizes it’s acidity and chemical substances. At the same time more warming results in completely opposite affects. So, excessive chilling and warming should always be avoided. The particular temperature at which the wine smells and tastes good differs from one wine to other depending on the type of grape. The range of serving temperature for different types of wines are listed below.

Type of Wine Serving temperature in Fahrenheit
Strong red wine 60.8-64.4
Medium red wine 59.0-62.6
Light red wine 51.8-55.4
Full, dry white wine 55.4-62.6
Medium, dry white wine 51.8-55.4
Full, sweet wine 46.4-53.6
Champagne 42.8-50.0

Maintaining the temperature of the wine at these levels while serving really keeps the aroma and flavor intact.

Decanting

This is the process of throwing away any sediments deposited in the bottle over time. This is necessary for wines which are kept in the bottles for ages without using. They tend to form sediments and by removing them one can extract ‘clear wine’.

It can be done by pouring the wine into a glass decanter slowly with eyes fixed on the neck of the bottle. One has to stop pouring at the sight of any sediment in the neck of the bottle. Though most of the wines don’t need decanting, old wines certainly do.

Aeration or breathing

Aeration makes the younger wine more balanced and smoother. If a wine is locked up in a bottle and is away from air for many days, it benefits from a bit of air. Keeping the bottle in the air after uncorking is not an effective method as the narrow opening doesn’t really allow the wine to get aerated. It is advised to use a decanter, a glass container with wide opening. This gives more space for faster aeration.

Aeration allows wine to open up and show it’s true flavor and aroma. One can check it by tasting immediately after opening and after aerating. But it is good to estimate the time needed for aeration of different types of wines and proceed with it.

Wine Glasses

Selecting good glassware is very important for serving wine as the choice of glassware influences the aroma, sight, and taste of the wine. The best glasses for serving wine are made of plain, clear and light glass. Heavy and cut glasses make it difficult for guests to see the wine properly. The clearer the glass, the richer the wine’s color appears. The glass should have a thin rim (opening) but a wide bowl tapering. It gives a plenty of space for the aromas to spread with a narrow escape. The stem should be long enough to hold but it shouldn’t be too long.

But, since red wine is consumed in larger quantities when compared to white wine, it is better to serve red wine in wider glasses.

Fill level

The glass should never be filled more than half full. This gives enough space for aromas to spread and fill the whole glass. This is applicable to all types of wines except sparkling wine. For sparkling wine two-thirds is a good fill level.

Order of serving wine

In general, light wines are served before strong ones. If a stronger wine is served first, it leaves a certain taste on the tongue which interferes with the flavor of lighter wine.

  • White wine is generally served before serving red wine.
  • Young wine is served before old one.
  • Light red wine is served before heavy red wine.
  • Dry wines should be served before sweet wines as the sugar of the sweet wine may affect the taste of dry wine if taken in the other way.

Serving

Following all the above steps ensure a good wine serving but following a few tips given below makes the serving appreciable.

  • It is good to taste the wine beforehand to ensure its quality.
  • Wine should always be served by the host. The host should pour the wine in his glass to ensure that the wine served to the guests does not taste bad.
  • The ladies should be served first.
  • It is good to serve wine before dinner. Leave the bottle of wine on the table so that it can be looked at by the guests.