I read with great interest Sunil Prem’s piece on how his hobby of wine-making was made into a profitable business venture. For all those who make their own wines- and for those who merely savour it – let me share a few insights on how to serve and enjoy a good wine.
Enjoying good wine involves the senses of sight, smell and taste. Here is how to let a good wine tantalize each of these senses: -
• Examine the wine’s colour. Pour the wine into a clear long-stemmed glass till it is a third full. Hold the glass at the base to admire the hue, clarity, depth and intensity of the wine.
• Swirl the wine to release its aroma.
• Sniff the wine. Lift the glass to your nose to take in its subtle, complex aromas.
• Sip the Wine. Raise the glass to your lips and imbibe about a tablespoon of wine. Suck air though partially open lips and let the flavors and aromas seep through your entire palate.
• Repeat and Enjoy.
Serving wine has an element of ceremony, where everything needs to be just right. All aspects need to be looked into – the temperature of the wine, the serving glasses, the accompaniments, decanters and décor.
Serve white wine and champagne chilled, (6 – 8 degrees C) preferably by placing it in an ice bucket before serving. This brings out its crisp, dry taste. Serve in a pre-chilled glass. Red wine should be served cold (not at room temperature as is commonly believed) not chilled. A temperature of 10 – 12 degrees C brings out its fruity flavors of red wine.
Usually wine glasses are long stemmed with clear glass to help admire the clarity and hues of the wine. The long-stem helps swirl the wines and prevents it being affected by hand temperature. The rim is usually narrower than the bowl to enable the aromas to concentrate. While holding the glass:-
• Hold a glass containing red wine by the bowl. The warmth of your hand will release the aroma.
• Hold a glass of white wine by the stem. This avoids warming the cold wine.
• During formal, wine tasting events; hold the glass by the stem or the base.
The standard formula of “White wine with fish, red wine with meat” is a good yardstick in planning any meal. Breads and cheeses go hand-in-hand with wine. Bread clears the palate and brings out the subtle flavors of a wine with each sip. Cheese balances the flavors. Fish, meat, poultry, venison are the ideal accompaniments for wines.
Above all, the aim should be to enjoy the serenity, warmth and conversation that wine stimulates. So go ahead – plan a nice wine evening. We’ll join in in the toast to it.