Best Ways To Serve Wine
There’s no debating that the art of serving wine typically makes an appearance under classy conditions. However, such a class act is not only reserved for the posh lot. Whether at a dinner party with friends or at a very important event, you also want to make a good impression. You sure don’t want your guests caught up in the crossfire when a rogue wine cork goes hurtling through the air, having them ducking and diving for cover. Even more mortifying is spilling the wine all over a guests attire; just pray it’s not your mother in law.
Hence, wine serving is a crucial moment you need to handle like the boss that you are; especially in mixed company. Every ‘trade’ has got its tricks. So religiously follow the wine tips for beginners below and you’ll be handling that bottle like a pro.
Tools of the Trade
You simply cannot begin properly serving wine without the right equipment. So listen up! Wine glasses, a decanter, and an electric wine bottle opener are staples you need to make available before embarking on the pilot phase of your wine serving learning journey. Choose long stemmed crystal wine glasses to give the holder a good grip and look classy while at it.
When picking a decanter, aesthetics are just as important as functionality. The red wine sure looks more inviting in a cute dove-necked crystal decanter. Decanting is good for letting the wine ‘breathe’ creating the effect most wine connoisseurs aim for when the wine is gently swirled around in the glass to release the aroma.
As for the electric wine bottle opener, it’s your best bet when opening wine in the public. It not only reduces the likelihood of the rogue cork scenario playing out in real time but also leaves the cork intact for you to later use when resealing the bottle if needed. Most of them are made with a sleek looking stainless steel; the opener part encased in a transparent, durable material that enables you to experience the opening process pleasantly. Most are selling for as low as $20, you get to look very posh and classy just opening a bottle. So no more excuses for a shabby opening!
Chill the Drink
Your wine has got to be cool. Note the key word here is ‘cool’. This means you need to avoid it being frozen to a wine slush consistency; you don’t want to overdo things. This is where the wine cooler will serve its purpose. Bear in mind though that different types of wine require different temperatures. White wines made from the pale green colored grapes taste great paired with white meat such as delicately seasoned fish or chicken fillets. Such white wines are also best served cold at the recommended 53 degrees Fahrenheit (11.6C).
Champagne, with its festive looking ‘sparkles’ that excite celebrants the world over, is best served at temperatures between 38 °F – 45 °F, especially if you are working with the more moderately priced variety. For high-end champagne, use the same temperatures as with white wine.
Red wine, on the other hand, requires a special kind of handling. Typically accompanied by a sumptuous meal of beef, lamb or any type of red meat with some baked potatoes. It is usually served at about 62 degrees Fahrenheit (16.6C) or slightly below room temperature. If you want to go an extra mile, think about investing in a wine preservation system.
The popular saying goes, “looking good is good business”. Milk that first impression for all its worth. Build anticipation for what’s coming by having classy looking glasses on hand. Those thick, milky looking cups gathering dust at the back of your cabinet just wouldn’t work. Go for a clear crystal wine glass with long stems for guests to hold on to without having to fog up the bowl cupping it with warm hands. Clearer glasses make the wine look a lot more attractive. And don’t forget to look out for those with thinner rims while at it. They are easier to drink from and to pour into.
That being said don’t go overboard with quantity. Lager looks very exciting with the frosted mug filled to the brim, with froth spilling all over. That is not the case with wine. Also, do not fill the glass to the brim. Rather, practice the half full, half empty theory to work out the right amount to pour. Your guests need enough room in that glass to swirl the wine and revel in the characteristic wine aroma.
Know the Occasion
Whatever the occasion, you can’t go wrong with a wine cooler to set the mood. A tantalizing mix of fruit juice and wine, a wine cooler is like the famous spiked punch of your high school prom night with a twist. Strawberry daiquiri, pina colada, and mojito are popular wine coolers to add to your drink list.
For a girls’ night out, a Moscato is a good choice. Smooth tasting, sweet and with a low alcohol level, you and the ladies remain clear-headed enough to do lots of catching up. If you are going the outdoorsy route, pack up a bottle of Rose in the picnic basket. Besides the aesthetically pleasing light, pink hue, it pairs well with any kind of food.
If you are having friends over to the grand opening of your new home, consider the Cabernet Sauvignon for the night. Full-bodied and rich tasting, you do not want to drink on an empty stomach. Since the chef has cooked up a storm with four, mouthwatering courses lined up, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
Or if you have finally clinched a date with that hottie you’ve been daydreaming about, a Merlot is a perfect date night wine. Its silky texture works well with dessert. Just in time to leave your date with a ‘good taste in the mouth’.
Watch Their Backs
Having followed all the wine serving rules above, the party is in full swing and your guests are obviously having a blast. However, make sure to keep an eye out for signs of intoxication. The last thing you need is a guest having too much fun only to end up in a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) situation on your watch. How though can you tell your guest is intoxicated? Look out for telltale signs like staggering. A friend struggling to maintain balance by grabbing furniture is likely drunk. Couple that with slurred speech, the known shy guy losing his inhibitions, whipping off his shirt, dancing on tables in front of everyone and you have got a delicate situation on your hands.
Inebriated folks could very easily get dangerous. Often they do not realize they are in fact drunk and might insist on driving. Disturbed as you likely will be, make sure you remain calm as you address the situation. Preserve their dignity by inviting them away from other guests where you can talk them into laying off the wine, drinking water instead to flush their system. Firmly but politely reassure them that you care and cannot in good conscience let them drive under the influence offering to call them a cab instead. It is hard dealing with drunken persons but be firm remembering that your actions are a matter of life and death.
Store it Right
Okay, so your guests have said their thanks, goodbyes and made all other appropriate noises before hitting the road. The party is finally over, successfully so to boot and your brain is processing the cleaning up to be done. Not so fast though, you can’t leave that leftover wine lying around while you tidy up. You have got to store it right. Most wines won’t last long once they have been opened. A wine preserver is much better than a regular cork to store wines. It comes with an inbuilt pump that sucks the air out of the bottle, saving the wine from going flat. You might want to keep that bottle upright though to reduce exposure to oxygen.
Refrigeration, even mini fridges, keeps wines fresher for longer. Try not to expose your wine to drastic temperature fluctuations though. If it’s too cold after refrigeration, bring it to room temperature using lukewarm rather than hot water. Do not keep the wine exposed to sunlight or any other heat source for that matter; you avoid discoloration that way. Some wines like the Pinot Noir go bad pretty quick after being opened. So however you choose to preserve your wine, make sure to finish it up within 3 – 5 days.
Master the key points in this list as you countdown to your big day. Fancy parties’ aside though, you don’t even need an excuse to savor the exquisite taste of fine wine. After a hard day at work, if you just need to unwind a little, that’s a good time as any to recline on the sofa, TV universal remote in hand, channel surfing with a cool glass of Merlot close by.
A relaxed evening is not the time to start brainstorming on how to open the bottle in the first place. You can even add on a platter of well marinated, spicy grilled meat if you really want to give yourself a well-deserved treat. You know how well red wine goes with meat. So you see serving that wine like a boss is as easy as 1 – 6.