To make your dinner guests feel welcome, it is important for each and every detail to be perfect. And the wine is certainly a detail of no small importance. Whether an informal barbecue or an elegant dinner, there are some tips that hold good on all occasions if you want to air your knowledge of wine (that you may not actually have) and pass for a wine expert (without really being one). Here are some hints to help you impress your guests whatever the occasion and learn about wine.
1) Wine glasses must always have a long stem, so that they can be held without warming the wine.
2) The table setting may vary to suit the type of meal, but there is one thing you must never forget to do: the glasses must be carefully checked before being placed on the table. If they are kept in a sideboard or in a box, they often smell unpleasant: so sniff them beforehand! If any sort of odour is apparent, unpleasant or not, be aware that it will taint the wine.
3) When you start to serve the wine, whoever opens the bottle must taste it, to ensure that a defective wine is not being offered to the guests. If, among the guests, there is an (authentic) wine expert you wish to impress, serve him or her the third glass: midway down the bottle, the wine is at its best and of an ideal temperature, being farthest away from the cork and the bottom.
4) Avoid reducing the wine temperature rapidly in the freezer. A sharp drop in temperature will spoil the fragrance irremediably. The cooling process must be gradual. If the wine requires a lower temperature than that of a household refrigerator, you can place the bottle in the freezer for just a few minutes.
5) Glasses must by filled from the right, holding the bottle by the bottom and not by the neck: in this way you do not risk warming the wine with your hands and you can serve it in a way that is simple and elegant, without staining the table cloth or the guests’ clothes.
6) Glasses should never be left empty. However, do ask permission as you continue to top them up.