How to Serve Wine Correctly

How exactly you should serve a wine depends on what type of wine was ordered, principally whether it was red or white. Although both follow a similar pattern, there are some noticeable differences between the two.

Red Wine

After the wine is ordered, the bottle should be brought to the table face up and at waist level with the label facing the guest. A napkin should be spread over your other arm. You should announce the name of the wine and then present the bottle to the one who ordered, who we will now refer to as ‘the host’.

In opening the bottle, hold it by the neck, so that the label will not be covered. You should always make sure that the label is in front.

A blade is then used to cut the foil, cutting once at the front and again at the back. In one motion, peel off the foil with the blade facing the bottle. Place the wine opener at the center, twist until two coils remain visible on top of the cork. Do not pop the cork as you remove it.

Remove the cork from the corkscrew and present the cork to the host to let him smell the cork. The napkin now takes its role to wipe the mouth of the bottle to prevent spills.

You should now pour a little wine, (roughly 1/16th of a glass), for the host to taste. Principally, the host should simply be checking that the wine is not corked or in any other way spoiled. When poring, remember to twist your wrist so as to prevent spillage. At no point should the mouth of the bottle touch the glass.

The usual order of serving wine is ladies first and the host last. A glass should be at least a third or a half full. The mouth of the bottle should again be wiped by the napkin after every pour. Make sure that the label of the wine is visible all the time.

White Wine

Serving white wine is much the same, except that it is usually served chilled. The wine bucket should be one-thirds full of ice with water at least five inches below the brim. The wine should be presented the same way it is done for reds.

The napkin is wrapped around the neck like a scarf and the bottle chilled in the bucket until frost or condensation develops on the outside. Open the bottle while it is still inside the bucket. Again, you should prevent the cork from popping. Glasses should be filled halfway.

In serving wines properly, a certain amount of pageantry is retained, which can enhance an occasion and the enjoyment of the wine.

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When Corks and Wine Simply Do Not Mix

From the most sophisticated setting to Captain Jack Sparrow throwing one back, we all know the basic pillars of wine – the wine, a bottle and a cork. It really doesn’t get more basic than that.

We often accept things without really thinking about them. The cork on a bottle of wine is one such thing. Simply put, why a cork? Do you put a cork on your milk? Your beer? What makes wine so special? The answer, of course, is found in the medium of oxygen. Oxygen oxidizes wine, to wit, spoils it. A cork is used to create an air tight seal so wine can age gracefully for a few years. The bottle is stored on its side so the wine flows against the cork, keeping it from drying out, shrinking and letting the evil air in.

So, a cork is always a good thing, right? Nope. In roughly one in 20 bottles, the cork wine relationship can go bad and you get something called “corked wine”. This does not refer to the closure of the bottle. Instead, it refers to the taste of the wine. It is nasty. Any hint of fruitiness is missing and replaced more by a woody one. The aftertaste can also be seriously bitter. Throw in a mildew like smell and you have a bottle of wine gone bad.

So, what exactly happens to bring about a corked wine? The key seems to be a cleaning agent we are all familiar with – chlorine. Yes, the stuff used in your pool. Wineries use it to clean corks and various equipment. If a bit remains behind when the bottle is corked, corked wine can end up being the result. This is true even if the amount of chlorine is tiny, which is why many wineries are looking at different ways to close off bottles.

A seriously corked wine is easy to diagnose. The problem is many wines are either slightly effected or in the early phases of degradation. This can make it a difficult proposition to determine if this is the way the wine is supposed to taste and is simply bad, or if it has been corked. In fact, this can become the major debate at a wine tasting party. The only way to really make a determination is to obtain a second bottle of the identical vintage and do a comparison tasting. Ah, it is a cruel world.

Is there anything in particular you can do to avoid a corked wine? Unfortunately, there really is not. Just recognize that a wine that smells bad and has a sharp aftertaste may not be a bad vintage. You might just have a corked bottle.

On the Grapevine – London’s Top Wine Bars

Maybe it’s because of Britain’s cold climate, or perhaps because the British are reluctant to show ignorance on any subject (especially one in which the French are expert!); but compared to the habits of other European countries, like France, Italy and Spain, who enjoy wine on a daily basis from an early age, the British public have taken a long time to accept the health and leisurely benefits of the oldest drink known to mankind. In fact, for a long time we Brits left the development of wine-tasting palettes to the upper classes and James Bond!

However, in recent years, due in part to the greater availability and lower prices offered by many New World and American brands like Blossom Hill and Hardy’s, wine has seen a boom in popularity in Britain, an influx of variety into the market (a perfect example being the surge in the variety of ros├ęs available), and has for many become an indispensable part of cultural life – particularly in London.

The rise in the popularity of wine-culture has seen many excellent wine bars and specialist wine restaurants appearing throughout the capital – and has also meant that older wine bars have been given much-deserved attention. Some of the best places for wine around London include Bedford & Strand, Cellar Gascon, the Cork & Bottle, Corks Wine Bar, The Forge and Zakudia.

As well as a plethora of top-quality wine bars, this newfound love for the grape has also seen a surge in wine-orientated activities becoming available around London, from courses on wine-tasting at the London Wine Academy, to the very popular self-guided tours of Vinopolis. A favourite among wine-lovers of all palettes, these tours show you all the key regions in the wine-making world, from old European favourites like Bordeaux and Burgundy, through the exciting new flavours of New World wines like South African and Chilean, to the less famous, but evermore popular producers including China and Thailand. As well as some excellent samples, Vinopolis’s resident expert Tom Forrest is on hand to lend his expertise and experience.

Like Vinopolis, which is situated just off the River Thames, many of the wine bars and wine-based entertainment centres are in close proximity to the best restaurants and hotels in London. So if you fancy a chance to test your palette alongside exquisite food, or if you don’t fancy walking or taxiing home (or if you don’t think you’ll be able to manage it!) then you can be sure to find somewhere to rest your weary head and sleep off any excess!

So if you’re thinking of coming to London, make sure to explore Britain’s growing obsession with all things Vino! Just remember to enjoy responsibly!

To Buy Wine Bottles With Screw Cap Or Cork?

Australians were probably one of the most resisting and sceptical of markets when screw-caps came onto the market. We were at least one of the last countries to truly embrace the change, and even saw write ups and opinion pieces written about whether it was a good idea to buy wine bottles that didn’t have corks. But things have changed, as have most of the bottles in the market today. So why the change? Buy Wine Online explores the advantages of the screw-cap wine bottle.

Cellaring of wines, either red wine or white wine, had a strong leaning towards laying wine bottles down. However with the screw-cap wine bottle, this is no longer a concern. Corked wine needed the moisture from the wine to ensure the cork itself was kept in shape and did not shrink, causing leakage and air getting to the wine and leading it to spoil. Screw-caps on the other hand are air tight and secured to the outside of the bottle after a perfect moulded fit to the wine bottles lip. This means minimal to no chance of your wine spoiling, and also less space restrictions considering the cellaring choices now available through both horizontal and vertical storage.

Corkiness was the sort of things which kept winemakers around the world up all night. As a naturally made product, cork, whilst a great sealer of wines for many, many centuries, is also susceptible to an infection known as TCA. TCA (2, 4, 6- trichloranisole) occurs during production, and basically what happens is it infects the wine, causing it to become musty in both taste and flavour. Even the good wines in Australia and indeed the world can gain this infection, and it is no reflection on the quality of the actual wine making or winery itself. The introduction of the screw-cap has eliminated this problem entirely. As the infection only happens naturally in cork, any other kind of sealing device, including the screw-cap, are completely immune. That’s great news for wine maker and wine lover alike!

Another beautiful feature of the screw-cap is you can open a bottle of wine and not have to worry about enjoying it over a couple of days. Those of us who like the one wind down glass of wine after a hard day no longer have to hunt down re-corking devices, worry about oxygen related spoilage and have a simple, no fuss alternative in just screwing the lid back on. If you buy wine bottles which have screw-caps, you will also see no change in quality, flavour or aroma from the first time you open the bottle to the very last reopening if stored properly. This is great news for the couch curl up crowd who love nursing a quiet drop.

However cork should not be totally taken out of your wine buying mix. Many champagnes and sparkling wine varieties still use cork, and the fun and celebration behind that lovely popping sound is one the team at Buy Wine Online enjoy and understand. Quality controls are also in place when making wines that use cork as a capping protocol, and if you employ proper cellaring of the wine, will generally be hassle free.

We hope you enjoyed the Buy Wine Online mini tour of screw-cap advantages.