Experiencing wine-Serving wine
By wine review
By Jim Marsili
Heres a typical scenario. Friends or family come over. You put out some munchies, order a pizza, serve a cocktail or two. As for wine, you hurry to the rack, grab a friendly bottle, pull the cork, pour it out and knock it back. Fun stuff, and usually the norm at our dwelling.
With the holidays in place, we have an opportunity. It is worth taking the little extra trouble to set a festive table with elegance and good taste. The good china, linen and flatware are in use again. It is important to see that all the qualities of the wine being served, be appreciated as well.
You could set the table with multiple wine glasses per setting. One for the reds, one for the whites, etc. Very tasteful, indeed. But if you opt for one per setting, as we will, it should be two thingslarge and clear. With small glasses, there is no possibility of the wines scent collecting in the top of the glass so that when you drink, it comes to you all at once, scent and flavor. A wine glass should never be more than half full. For half a glass to be a reasonable measure, the glass has to be big. As for clarity, one of the joys of winea minor one, but still a joyis its color.
A good wine glass, in short, is a big one, clear and uncolored, preferably with a stem and a round or roundish bowl, cupping in towards the top to embrace the wines bouquet. A glass like this is perfect for any wine. Different wine glasses for different wines can be a pretty sight, and some people will argue they enhance the nuances of a particular wine, but as a rule, a glass that is good for one wine is good for all wines.
As far as corkscrews, I recommend one that is called Waiters Friend. The overwhelming majority of restaurants use them. The worm is inserted in the cork, and a lever is secured on the lip of the bottle. The waiter lifts the handle of the corkscrew as he holds the lever in an upright position. The cork is removed quite easily. Its not an issue to me, however, how the cork gets out of the bottle. The kind that inject air are scary if the cork does not come out straight away. I feel like Im holding a bomb.
Preparing wine beforehand, especially reds that have some age, serves its purpose. Yes, this is a common practice. The objects of doing this are three. It may have sediment; you must get this to the bottom of the bottle so that it does not get into the glasses. Its importance will adjust, and it will almost certainly be improved by contact with the air. Sediment in wine is harmless. People get nervous when they see a speck of deposit or a single crystal in a bottle. They neednt worry. If youre fortunate enough to have a wonderful older red on hand, simply stand it up and let any sediment drift to the bottom of the bottle. After that, youre ready to decant the wine.
Well, before you are going to serve the wine, you pull the cork and pour it gently and steadily into a decanter. As you reach the bottom of the bottle, hold it against a light or a white surface. You will see the first of the sediment moving toward the decanter. When it reaches the neck of the bottle, stop pouring. The wine is perfect. In the decanter, its contact with air will give it vigor and vitality. An hour in advance is probably fine, but there are wines out there that could be opened a day in advance. A very fine decanter, made of crystal, preferably, can be one of the most useful and decorative pieces of glassware, whether you use it for wine or not. It will set off the table presentation and embellish any wine youre serving.
White wines, as a rule, are clear to the last drop. No reason not to serve them from a decanter if you wish, however. With whites, the only problem is the temperatureand letting them have a little air. Pour them into the glass from enough height to make them splash a bit (in the glass), and youll bring out the flavor. Serve them cool, not icy. I think they are usually served too cold, which masks flavor. But at least, I can wait until my glass warms up a bit, whereas no amount of waiting will cool down a glass served too warm. Freshness is the thing, not frostiness.
Its hard to believe it, but this article marks one year of writing about wine for The Rock River Times. I have heard some good things, and I hope that it has assisted and been of benefit to some. I look forward to 2001. Enjoy these days that surround us with the warmth of the holidays. Raise a glass and toast one another. Be grateful. Happy holidays, and a very Happy New Year.
Until that time.