Wine Guide by Food

Tips and Tricks For Serving Wine

Whether it is knowing what temperature to serve a bottle of wine at or how to open a bottle of Champagne, below are a few tips and tricks to consider when serving wine.

Serving Temperature
A wine however good it may be can be totally destroyed if it is not served at the right temperature. Served too cold, the aromas and flavours of a White, Rosé or Champagne will be completely absent and the wine will taste hard and short in the aftertaste. To truly appreciate them, it is best to serve such wines between 8°c and 10°c. In the case of a great White wine (i.e. from Burgundy, California etc) they will show their best at 14°c. 

Red wines depending on their style are served at different temperatures. Young red wines that are fruity, fresh and soft with very little tannins (i.e. Beaujolais, Loire reds) are best served at around 12°c to keep their natural freshness. Other reds are best served between 16°c (i.e. Burgundy reds, Rhône reds) and 18°c (i.e. Bordeaux). Red wines that are served too warm (above 20°c) will become very unpleasant, heavy and alcoholic, ultimately losing their character.

It is important to remember the fridge is too cold for all White and Rosé or Champagne and Sparkling wines. Take the bottles out of the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes and leave them in the room where they are to be enjoyed before offering to your guests.

Order of Service

  •  Dry white wines should be served before red wines.
  •  Light wines should be served before full bodied ones.
  •  Sweet wines are served at the end of the meal, with very few exceptions (ie Foie Gras with Sauternes)
  •  Young wines are served before old ones, except in the case of a very old vintage

Decanting
Decanting has always been associated with the opening of excellent and great older wines. To do so, leave your bottle standing up the night before and the next day pour slowly into a decanter. In order to leave the natural sediment, that forms through ageing, at the bottom of the bottle, very old wines only require decanting just before serving as they are very fragile and prone to rapid oxidation.

However decanting should not only be reserved for older wines. We strongly recommend that you decant all wines - White, Rosé, Red and even Sparkling & Champagne. Decanting slowly means that you are exposing all of the wine to air. This will open their aromas and flavours, which will make a noticeable and amazing difference. As for the Sparkling wines and Champagnes, you will not lose the fizz as the bubbles will reappear in your glass when you pour from the decanter.
 
Opening a Bottle of Champagne or Sparkling Wine
It is important to remember that there is a considerable pressure in a bottle of Champagne or Sparkling wine. Chilling to the correct temperature can help reduce this. Even when the wine is chilled it is possible for the cork to spring violently from the bottle. To open a bottle of Champagne or Sparkling wine safely you must:

  • Remove the foil and then the wire muzzle.
  • Hold the cork in place by hand from the moment the wire is removed
  • Tilt the bottle at an angle of about 30°, gripping the cork, using your other hand to grip the base of the bottle.
  • Turn the bottle, not the cork.
  • Hold the cork steady and ease it slowly out of the bottle.

The Most Important and Final `Golden` Rule!
Always remember the bottle of wine that you are drinking must never make you regret the one that you had before!