3 Wine Tips for Beginners

3 Wine Tips for Beginners

Posted by : Clifford Li   /  

Wine is bottled poetry. Here are some useful tips on serving the wines and choosing the right glassware as a beginner. 

1. How should wine be served? 

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The common mistake that most people and restaurants make is serving wines at the wrong temperature. White wines are served too cold while red wines are served too warm. Over-chilling kills the flavor and aroma. Too much warmth makes wine taste bland. Below is a general guideline to be sure of enjoying wine to the full: Champagnes: 7 – 10°C; Whites: 10-13°C & Reds: 16-20°C

Aim to ascend in quality and flavor: start from white to red and mild to strong

Do wines need to breathe?

Most people tend to think that the wine must be opened and allow to breathe well in advance of serving. Some even think a wine must be decanted, but only essential if sediment is present in the bottle and the wine to be poured carefully off. Certainly, no white wine requires any advance opening and pouring. With red wines, 30 minutes of being opened and poured into a clean, odor and soap-free wine decanter is really all that is necessary (Robert Parker-The Wine Buyer’s Guide). However, if it is a fine red wine with great complexity, finesse, and strong tannins, decanting encourage the wine to express its full flavor. Chateau Lafite Rothschild suggest their grand wines, depending on the vintage, to be decanted for 2 to 24 hours before drinking!

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The following reference comes from Chateau Margaux:
The main reason for decanting red wines is to separate the wine from the sediment that may have formed in the bottle over the years. This sediment consists mainly of the tannins that have been made insoluble by the chemical reactions responsible for the ageing process. The decanting operation is accompanied by some oxygenation, which is often beneficial to young and powerful wines but which could, in fact, be damaging to the oldest wines. For young wines, it isn’t necessary to decant because there is generally no sediment in the bottle. But a light aeration often helps them to “open up”, that is to say to show their aromas better. One can choose either to decant them or to leave them in the glass a moment before drinking them. 

Which Type of Glass to be used?

Very often, too little attention is given to the glass into which the wine is poured. For beginners, all we need is a clean, odor-free, all-purpose tulip-shape glass of 8 ounces but NOT water glass. However, a fine wine glass (e.g. Riedel, Lucaris) will enhance the fun and enjoyment of drinking fine wines tremendously as they emphasize and promote the different flavours and aromas of a given varietal. 

Regardless of the size of the glass, they work best when they are filled to no more than one-third of their capacity. Lastly, it is important to rinse the glass thoroughly to avoid any soapy residues, which will interfere with the enjoyment of the wines being served.

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