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Serving Wine - Tips

Serving Wine - Tips
When serving wine do bear in mind the temperature. Particularly if the weather is warm, there is a temptation to serve whites and rosés very cold. But 'chilled' white or rosé is never as cold as ice! If you like the flavour then allow it a chance to show its talents! So serve at about 8-10ºC for lighter wines such as Muscadet or most rosés and for any of those big, fat New World whites that still remain out there. This temperature is also about right for sweet dessert wines and sparkling wines. For the more complex, denser whites (including vintage Champagne) probably just half an hour in the 'fridge in order to serve at 12ºC is ideal.

Reds meanwhile - except the very oldest vintages - benefit from exposure to air immediately prior to drinking, so it is inevitably a good idea to open half an hour before serving and give the wine a nice swirl in the glass prior to consuming. Generally red should be served, as they say, 'chambré'. We all need to remember though that when this was the expression chambers were not centrally heated...So whilst 15-17ºC may be a bit chilly for your guests at the dining table it will be an ideal temperature for the red wine! (If when you pick up the bottle of red to pour it is not cool to touch then this is too warm and likely to show less character than you expect!). If on the other hand you've just brought a red wine in from the snows then a sojourn in the airing cupboard will help to warm it more quickly..

Decanting wine is necessary only, either if the wine has a big deposit - in which case it is probably quite old and should be carefully treated, or if it is quite young and then you need, in effect, to accelerate its maturity by exposure to the air. Decanters do not have to be swish - the writer has used a clean milk bottle and cling film in the past, when glass milk bottles were more common than they are now! Any glass or glazed china receptacle will do but clear glass makes life easiest. Place a candle behind the shoulder of the bottle to be decanted and catch the deposit in the 'dip' of the shoulder before it gets transferred to the 'decanter'. A spotlight or torch can work instead of a candle though it may be difficult to avoid shining the light in your eyes...

Glasses should ideally be oversized and filled no more than about half full - or remain half empty (which should please both the optimists and pessimists). This gives you the opportunity to swirl the wine to release the aromas and for you to put your nose in the glass to breathe in the heady bouquet! Much debate surrounds the ideal glass shape for individual wines and styles but a basic tulip shape such as the one shown in this link here is an excellent all-rounder.
Dishwasher Unsafe
Glass Etching is not an invitation to an illicit assignation but a technical term that we have learnt from people who wash their glasses in the dishwasher and are unable to relish the colour subtleties of their preferred tipple. Even if your glasses are not lead crystal, handwashing is always best! It is little realised that detergent is always alkaline and glass slowly dissolves in alkaline water. This is not, as one washing up avoider remarked, an excuse for not washing glasses at all, but just a warning that the very much higher temperatures encountered in the dishwasher greatly accelerate the long term effects of glass washing. That hazy cloud that appears on glasses regularly cleaned in the dishwasher - sometimes in less than 12 months - is the result! Just occasionally this haze is caused by hard water but if a swift wash in vinegar (no, it doesn't have to be wine vinegar) does not remove it - youv'e been etched!

If you would like some basic food matching suggestions see our summary here.
Serving Wine - Tips
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Serving Wine - Tips
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