|Once you understand the basics, you will begin to truly appreciate and enjoy your wines.
A GREAT deal of nonsense has been used to describe the way in which wine should or should not be served. If one were to believe some of the most well-intentioned of wine books, even the most half-hearted wine enthusiast would be tempted to invest in a wide array of expensive wine glasses, decanters, thermometers and quite possibly even a wine fridge.
In addition, they’d feel they would have to purchase a wide selection of extraordinary (not to mention extraordinarily expensive!) wines in the belief that each of those wines would be the only one to serve with a particular dish.
Fortunately, such a collection of equipment and wines remains the domain of those who are, for the most part, either deluding themselves or simply trying to impress. The reality is that true wine enjoyment can be had with much less.
We consulted with Vaughan''s award-winning winery Magnotta (www.magnotta.com) for some wine basics. Here’s what company president Rossana Magnotta and other experts at the winery suggest:
To begin with, the dedicated wine fan needs but four basic glass types: a flute for sparkling wine, a smallish, rounded bowl glass for port, sherry and liqueurs, and a pair of table wine glasses – one for red wines and a slightly smaller version for whites and younger reds.
The exact shape of glasses depends on personal preference; however, one rule worth noting, in the case of the last three glass types listed is that the diameter of the ‘bowl’ should always exceed the diameter of its opening. Avoid glasses that splay outwards from the bowl to the rim. By doing so, the wine’s aromas will remain in the glass to be enjoyed instead of escaping into the air.
Also avoid glasses that are too small – and never overfill a wine glass. One third full is ideal. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy the aromas after swirling, rather than have the wine leave the glass itself!
Reds and whites can be served in the same type of glass, but whites are happier when served in smaller versions. Serving white in smaller glasses allows you to keep more of it at its ideal temperature, that is, in the bottle or the ice bucket.
Serve whites cool, not ice cold. They’ll display more aromatic character that way. Serve reds slightly cool. 14-16ºC is ideal. A red served at actual room temperature (20-23ºC) usually ends up tasting more like warm grape ‘soup''.
Serve wines in the following order: white before red, dry before sweet, light before heavy and average before best. This order sometimes requires tweaking. For instance, a modest, sweet white would still succeed an exemplary red.
Experienced wine tasters don’t just drink their wines, they consciously taste, smell, ‘chew’ and look at them to take in every sensory aspect of their character. It’s the best way to learn about wine.
Remember, carefully choose a few appropriate glasses as they’ll allow you to enjoy individual wines more fully; but there’s no need to turn your home into a stemware museum! Cheers!