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Wine Serving Tips

The do's for perfectly served wine. If you're a wine lover, you know the moment...

We all love to enjoy a good glass of wine, but did you know there are a few simple tricks to serving wine that will completely elevate your experience? These tips below will make you feel like a seasoned wine professional at home. Time to schedule your next dinner party!

A common misconception is that white wines should be served straight from the refrigerator and red wines should be served at room temperature. Believe it or not, those temperatures are too drastic for most wine.

White Wine: Serve 50-55°F
The temperature in your fridge is usually set to about 40°F, which is too cold for most white wine. When wine is too cold, the phenolics are muted and your palate can’t define the gorgeous flavours within the wine. That’s why we like to serve our white wines around 50-55°F, particularly in the summer months. This temperature is still refreshing and bright, but it also gives you the chance to truly experience the wine as it was meant to be enjoyed.

Red Wine: Serve at 60°F
You may also be surprised to learn that most red wines should be served around 60°F, while room temperature often ranges between 68-75°F. By serving red wines slightly chilled, they have the chance to warm up to room temperature over a period of time. That will allow you to enjoy the wonderful attributes of wines as they evolve, both aromatically and texturally. If you serve red wines at ambient or warm room temperature, you’ll lose half the experience and excitement. We don’t want that!

There are two main reasons for decanting wine: removing the wine from sediment and allowing the wine to aerate. You can remove the sediment from the wine by standing the bottle upright for a day or two and then pouring it into another clean glass container. You should stop pouring the wine right before sediment flows into the neck of the bottle. Typically, sediment forms in older wines and this would be one of the reasons for decanting them.

However, some young wines can be very tightly wound. Even though they are too young to have formed any sediment, they benefit from the aeration involved in pouring the wine into a decanter. The aeration will allow the wine’s bouquet to open up. 

When pairing food and wine, you should take into account the flavor intensity. You wouldn’t want the flavors to compete with each other. Pairing intense, clashing flavors of food and wine would be too confusing for your palate and would end up both diffused and overwhelming. Decide on what you’d like to emphasize in your meal or dinner—the wine or the food. 

If the star of your meal is steak, then pair it with wine that’d enhance its characteristics. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon contains a high level of tannin, which makes it bitter with medium levels of acidity. The tannin and the acidity of the wine would cleanse your palate by cutting through the oil and fat, making the next bite as enjoyable as the first. 

Choose a wine that’s versatile and flexible enough to be paired with a wider variety of food. Red Burgundy, Riesling, Chianti, Pinot Noir, and Rosé wines are some of the wines flexible enough to pair with many types of food. These have high levels of acidity, which can make you crave a bite of whatever food that’s in front of you after a sip. Finding the perfect food and wine combination can be a magical experience, but having a reliable, go-to wine that can adapt to different foods couldn’t hurt.

Salty foods are a perfect contrast to ‘sweet’ wines. Wines such as Port, Sauterne, Moscato, and Riesling are great with salty foods like Stilton cheese or an Asian dish with soy sauce. Potato chips, French Fries, and Pretzels become an indulgence when paired with sweet wines.

Understanding the basic principles of the interaction between wine and food can enhance your dining experience. Remember, balance is key.

Always wash your wine glasses by hand, do not use a dishwasher. Use lots of hot water and a specific sponge that you’ve set aside to wipe the rim. Then rinse once again under hot water and you’re done! Cleaning each glass should only take 10-15 seconds. Allow them to air dry a wee bit by standing them upright on their stem. Do not invert the glass to dry, this keeps the moisture in the glass which can leave a bad odour from the condensation. Polish them quickly after they are rinsed and put back in the cupboard.

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