Serving Wine in Restaurants
Serving wine in restaurants
Good restaurants have a specially trained waiter who is in charge of serving wine—a sommelier. This profession emerged in the Middle Ages in France, when the sommelier’s duty was to prepare and choose the beverages for the royal table. This must be a fine connoisseur of wines, able to characterize in terms easy to understand any wine and recommend the appropriate wine for the dishes ordered by the customer.
The bottle is brought to the customer corked, so that the customer can ascertain that this is his order and the wine has not been touched by anyone else. The wine is then opened on the table of the customer, and the cork is placed on the table or on a plate for the customer to verify its quality: he makes sure the cork does not have foul smells, has not crumbled and is not soaked in wine. Then the sommelier or the waiter pours out a small quantity of wine into the glass to be tasted. If the client is not satisfied with the quality, for example he may consider the wine spoiled or below the expected standard, then the wine must be replaced for no charge. If the customer is satisfied, then the waiter pours the wine out into the glasses of the guests, serving ladies first and the person who has ordered the wine last.
Aeration of the wine
Wine can be compared to humans, since as time passes its chemical composition changes; for example, during production the wine eliminates carbon dioxide and absorbs oxygen; each wine has its own life span. Some wines only become better when they interact with air. This is generally true of the red wines with a high tannin concentration; when aerated their taste becomes smoother and more delicate. Young wines require longer aeration than aged wines. Some white wines, too, may require aeration. This process can be accelerated if the wine is poured out into a glass carafe with a wide neck. This procedure also helps separate the wine from the sediment, which develops inevitably after a long period of ageing.
Types of Red Wine : Pinot Noir Wine Facts
Uncorking the bottle
In the Middle Ages the cover of the bottle neck was made of lead and fixed by sealing wax. Since lead is quite noxious for the human body, there were frequent cases of wine poisoning. Today the caps are made of plastic or alluminium foil. The cap can be removed completely or just its upper part separated by using a special wine knife.
Then the bottle is uncorked. The cork is made of corkwood, which grows around the Mediterranean. Portugal is the largest corkwood producer, taking up about 50% of the market, followed by Italy, Spain, and Morocco. It takes the tree about 50 years to grow a thick enough bark to be used in cork manufacturing. The bark is first dried for several months, then boiled for one or two hours in order to kill all the germs, reduce tannins and increase elasticity. After drying the corkwood is cut up according to bottle sizes, while the residues are used in manufacturing pressed corks, which are employed for inexpensive or sparkling wines.
The bottle is opened by a corkscrew, but without piercing the cork through lest small cork crumbs fall into the wine. This does not influence the wine’s quality, it is but an esthetic precaution.
Types of White Wines : Sauvignon Blanc White Wines
Each type of wine has its own serving glass, characterized by three elements: size, shape and glass quality. Regardless of the wine’s dress the glass has to be colorless, since it is important to assess the wine’s color. In order to assess the aroma quite large glasses are used; an exception to this rule are dessert wines, e.g. cherry, which are inherently aromatic and are consumed in small amounts. Red wines require glasses of 300-600 ml, while white wines can use 250-300 ml. No matter what the size of the glass, it must never be filled to the brim. Red wines must fill one-third of the glass, while white wines one half. Crystal glasses are not mandatory; plain glass is all right as long as it is not too thick. A glass with red wine may be warmed up in the palm of the hand in order to help it unfold its aroma more fully. Red-wine glasses narrow down at the top in order to concentrate at the mouth the wine’s aroma. For dry white wines narrow glasses are recommended, slightly widening at the top, which allows one to feel the fruitiness of the aroma and reduces the effect of the wine’s acidity. Wide glasses are best suited for barrel-aged wines, as such glasses increase the wine’s contact with air. Dessert-wine glasses can be of a variety of shapes but smaller in size than red- or white-wine glasses.
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Wine serving and storage temperature
As far as the temperature of the wine served is concerned, the rule is as follows: the warmer the wine, the stronger its aroma as well as the sweetness and sourness of taste; the cooler the wine the more bitter and tart it is. Therefore, full-bodied red wines, with a high tannin content and aged for many years are served at 18 °С,
medium-bodied reds containing a medium tannin level—at 16 °С, while light red varieties of a fruity taste are recommended to be consumed at 12-14 °С.
Dessert and fortified wines are usually cooled down to 12-16 °С before being served.
A wine can be stored in an open bottle after it is poured out into a smaller vessel and tightly corked. This will reduce the amount of air interacting with the wine. The bottle is best stored in a cool and dark place at 12-16 °С, since light has a negative influence on the quality of the wine; the humidity in the storage place should be at least 70% in order to prevent the cork from drying.