6 June, 2014
Simply by serving wine correctly, you can elevate its quality manifold. Here’s how:
White wines and rose wines should be served chilled (8-12ºC) and red wine at room temperature (15-18ºC).
Don’t serve red wine at “room temperature” if the room is sweltering (often the case in many parts of India). A 15-minute plunge into a bucket of ice water will do just fine for the reds.
For whites, a couple of hours in the fridge are good. If you’re pushed for time, then put the bottle in an ice bucket filled half with ice and half with cold water. This will bring the wine down to the desired temperature in about twenty minutes.
Light, fruity reds, like Beaujolais, are best served a little cool (12-14ºC), especially on a warm summer day.
Champagne, sparkling wines should be served at a 6-8ºC. At a lower temperature, the aromas are trapped. The wine cannot breathe and the bouquet is inhibited from being released.
Over time, sediments may get deposited in a wine bottle. Before serving wine, it needs to be decanted to remove these sediments to create ‘clean wine’.
Simply pour the wine slowly into a glass decanter or jug, keeping an eye on the neck of the bottle. When you see sediment in the neck, it’s time to stop. Decanting can also help the wine “breathe”.
It is frequently done with vintage port or older red wines that have spent many years in a bottle.
If the wine has spent years locked away in an air-tight bottle, it needs to “breathe” a little after being opened.
Uncork your bottle of Zampa Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Syrah half an hour before drinking.
Pour the wine into a decanter (a clean water pitcher will do) and swirl it around to allow it to open up a bit. Even young wines can benefit from a little breathing time as it allows the wine to open up and really show what it’s made of. Compare the two tastes, you’ll find a marked difference.
On the other hand, whites generally don’t need to be opened ahead of time, as the goal is usually to retain their freshness.
The best glasses for appreciating wine are made of plain, thin, clear glass. The glass should have a wide bowl tapering to a narrow opening shaped like a tulip. This allows room for the wine to be swirled in the glass while concentrating the aromas at the rim. A glass with the stem (4-5 cm) is easier to hold without transferring the heat of the hand to the wine. Champagne should be served in tall flutes or tall, thin tulip-shaped glasses.
Heavy, cut glass makes it difficult to see the wine properly. Avoid them.
The glass should be filled till it’s about half full. This allows room for swirling the wine around in the glass to release its aromas without splashing it. Hold the stem of the glass and swirl it around; inhale the aromas and taste the flavours.
In case you don’t finish the bottle, seal it with the cork. Most wines remain in good condition for a couple of days (You can even purchase a vacuum pump from wine shops to remove the air altogether, which will buy you another day or two).
White wines do better when stored in the refrigerator whereas red wines should be kept at room temperature.
It’s impossible to say exactly how long a wine will stay from spoiling once open because each wine is different. In general, the higher quality the wine, the longer it will be consumable.