Proper Wine Etiquette

Along with exuding sophistication, class and elegance, proper wine etiquette also ensures that you and your guests enjoy your glass of wine to the fullest.

Everything matters when it comes to enjoying wine- the age of the wine, the temperature it is served at, the glass it is served in and also the foods it is served with.

While oenophiles, those demanding connoisseurs of fine wine, have a long list of inflexible rules regarding wine protocol, here are four basic tenets of wine etiquette for wine lovers who just appreciate a good glass of wine.

Serve Wine at the Proper Temperature
Wine has an intrinsically complex chemistry that gets altered with changes in environment or temperature. For this reason itself, storing and serving wine at the right temperature is essential. Temperature levels can enhance the subtle nuances of certain wines and disguise defects in others.

Though there are degree variations for different types of wines, here are a few basic temperature guidelines for a range of wines:

  • Red wines taste best when served between 62-65F (16-18C). Red wine can taste dull and flat with an accentuated taste of alcohol when served too warm. If you need your red wine in a hurry and you find it too warm, leaving it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes will quickly restore its flavors. Cooling it too much could emphasize the tannic flavor, so make sure you take it out of the fridge before it gets too cold.
  • Most people make the mistake of serving White Wine way too cold. The flavor of good quality White Wines are in fact best appreciated between 58-62F (14-16C). White Wines that are cooled too much lose a bit of their flavor.
  • Inexpensive White Wines as well as Rosés and other sweet wines taste better at colder temperatures of 50-55F (10-12C).
  • Sparkling wines and Champagnes are at their bubbly best when served really cold at 45F (7C).

You could time your bottle of wine to get it at the right temperature. If you need to cool a bottle of wine remember the temperature of the wine will drop 2C for every ten minutes in the refrigerator. For wines that have been in the refrigerator, every ten minutes at room temperature will raise the temperature of the wine by 2C.

Let the Wine Breathe
Red wines should be uncorked and left open at least one hour before you drink it. Young red wines, which are high in tannin, could be left open for even longer. This oxidizes the wine and shapes the bouquet, letting the drinker enjoy the vintage flavor to the fullest. Wine Wines do not need to breathe and can be opened just before drinking.

Use the right glass
Using the right glass to serve the different wines in is as crucial as serving it at the temperature. With so many different wines and a glass for each kind, figuring out the appropriate one can be quite daunting. As a general rule however, remember narrow, thin, tulip-shaped wine glasses enhance the classic traits of white wines whereas wide- rimmed glasses are more suitable for red wines. Champagne should be served in specially designed champagne flutes.

Pour the wine correctly
In a wine-world full of complex serving rules, this one's pretty straightforward. Sparkling wines should be poured gently down the side of the glass so that all the bubbles are preserved. Still wines should be poured right in the center of the glass to enable the bouquet of the wine to pervade the glass and float upwards.

The old rule that you serve white wine with chicken and seafood and red with red meats seems to have blurred in modern times with new wine varieties and developing palates. Never the less I'm sure a sparkling white would be delicious with these chicken crock pot recipes and a full bodied red wine would not go astray with these beef crock pot recipes. Enjoy!


If you've enjoyed this article on 'Proper Wine Etiquette'- have a look at some of the other articles:

Dinner Party
Big Cats

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