How to pour the perfect glass of wine
Wine is a delicate drink. Aside from growing the perfect grapes, the elaborate preparation and the bottling process, even pouring the wine can affect its taste. From the bottle to your tastebuds there are ways you can improve the taste of your wine with a few simple tricks.
Choosing the right glass
There is almost too much choice when it comes to selecting the right glass for your wine. Keep it simple, having a selection of the following three glasses will cover all of the bases.
You may have heard of the 1973 study from the Riedel glassware company, this was a marketing campaign to sell more glasses, studies have shown that the taste of wine is affected much more by the food pairing and the temperature, not the shape of the glass.
That said, we do feel that having different glasses helps: a thinner, taller glass for white wine helps it to stay cool for longer and also makes for a smaller serving, while a full-bodied red needs a lot of air to breathe and open up.
Red wine should be served at room temperature (actually Spanish wines really benefit from being served slightly below, 15 minutes in the fridge).
Sparkling, rosé and white wines should be served cold. The optimum temperature for white wine is from 6 – 10 ºC and sparkling wines even a little colder at 3-6 ºC.
In our experience, the best openers are the traditional French style, two-stage corkscrews. They allow the coil (the “worm”, in wine parlance) to go deeper into the cork and prevent the chance of a broken cork, they are also easier to manage, smaller, and cheaper!
The little blade that folds out is for cutting the foil. If you want your wine to keep it’s aesthetic, leave the foil neck in place and cut around the top lip; maître d’s and sommeliers across the world swear by this as part of the theatre of opening a bottle of wine. Pulling off the foil with your hand is not the done thing!
Don’t fill the glass
A glass of wine should never be filled more than a third of the way up. You may have seen wine tasters swirling the glass before they drink. Non-wine drinkers see this as snobbery, but it actually does have a purpose.
Swirling the glass (orbital swirling) draws in oxygen from the air and intensifies the aromas of the wine. If you fill the glass too high, it’s difficult to swirl the wine which stops it from being able to breathe and open up before you drink.
Decanting red wine is beneficial to the taste, believe it or not it’s actually cheaper wines and not expensive ones that benefit from being decanted (though you are much more likely to see decanting for expensive wines).
But how does it help the wine? The slightly “off” smell of cheap wine that comes from slight issues that arise in the fermentation process are altered by decanting, and greatly improved.
For more expensive wines, it’s common to find sediment due to the quantities in which they are made. Decanting these wines keeps the sediment in the bottom of the bottle and not in the bottom of your glass!
Holding your wine
After you have been served, and certainly if you’ve been served white wine, hold the stem of the glass. For two main reasons;
- You prevent making fingerprints on the glass which in some situations (posh parties), might not be seen as customary.
- More importantly, the heat from your hands warms the wine, so holding it at the stem keeps it cooler for longer.
Don’t get hung up on it
Wine is subjective, and that’s what makes it so special for everyone. If you drink your red wine cold, if you hold your glass by the bowl, if you rip off the foil neck, it’s a simple case of personal taste and it’s more important to us that people love drinking wine and sharing wine with friends. Because when all is said and done, wine is for celebrating!