Serving Wine At A Party

I have been asked many times what’s the proper way to serve wine at a party, so I’ve decided to go ahead and write a guide on the subject. In this guide, you will not only find out what wines you need to serve, but also what order to serve them. You’ll also find out how much wine to buy and how to select the wine varieties. So, If you are ready to get this party started, then let’s start off with the basics.

The Basics

Before you start, you’ll want to gather a few things together. One, you want to make sure that you have the best wine cooler available because wines need to be chilled down to their optimal drinking temperature before they are served. Two, you will want to make sure that you have a traditional corkscrew. Once you have those items you can decide on what will be on your wine list for the party.

White wines are usually served before white wines and dry wines are served before sweet wines. However, the real determining factor of what you will serve will really depend on the type of foods that you are serving. You want to make sure that you pair the correct wine with your meals.

You can either select your wine first and then decide which meal goes with it, or you can do it in reverse order and decide on the food and then determine what wine to serve with that food. It really all depends on your personal preference.

Sequencing Your Wines

Now that you’ve decided on the food and the wine that you are going to serve, it’s now important that you serve the wine in the proper order. Below are some suggestions that will determine the order of wine service:

  • Serve White Before Red Wines
  • Serve Dry Wines Before Sweet Ones
  • Serve Light Wines Before Heavy Wines
  • Serve Lower Quality Wines Before You Serve The Good Stuff

Determining How Much Wine To Purchase

You should purchase 1 bottle of wine for each of your guests. If you are serving 1 type of wine and have 4 guests, then you should purchase at least 4 bottles of wine. On the other hand, if you have multiple varieties of wines, then you can alter the ratio just a little bit. For example, if you have 4 guest and 3 different types of wine, then purchase 1 bottle of each kind for a total of 3 bottles. Make sure you have a cooler big enough to store the wine. If you don’t have an adequate cooler, then you can check wine cooler reviews and buy one that suits your needs.

Choosing Wine

You should select the wine according to your guest’s preferences. Some people don’t like red wines and other people are put off by white wines. However, if you don’t know your guests preferences, then be sure to stock both white and red wines, just to be safe.

Follow all of the above guidelines and you can be pretty sure that you’ll host a wine party that blows everyone away.

How To Serve Wine – Continued

In my article, “How To Serve Wine – The Basics”, I gave you the first few stages of serving wine. I told you how to check wine cooler reviews to pick the best cooler, the optimal temperature to serve various types of wine and even told you how to choose glass ware. All of the things that I consider to be the basics of wine serving. Today, I am going to give you the second part of this series and give you the advanced techniques you need to know to serve wine. Follow these steps and you will not only notice that your wines have that special “pop” but that you and your guests are happier with the wines served.

Pop The Cork

There are a variety of different ways for uncorking a bottle of wine. For some of the more advanced techniques of uncorking please refer to my guide on How To Open A Bottle Of Wine for a full explanation.

The simplest technique for uncorking is to remove the foil from your bottle with a Sommelier Knife and then removing the cork with a standard bottle corkscrew. While you are uncorking the bottle you should be careful not to break the cork into pieces and remove it as one whole piece.

Decant The Wine

Almost every red wine out there tastes better when it is decanted. The time-tested method is to pour the wine into a decanter and allow it exposure to oxygen for about 30 minutes. Some people choose to use an aerator because it is quicker. Which ever method you choose however, you should be careful not to let the wine sit too long. For an advanced lesson on proper decanting, please see my article How To Decant Wine.

Pour The Wine

Proper wine pouring can take some practice, but once you have got the hang of it, then it becomes fairly easy. Since most bottles of wine typically contain about 25 ounces of wine, some people like to pour 5 ounce glasses. That way, you get 5 glasses of evenly poured wine from the bottle. I on the other hand like to pour 3 ounces of wine into a glass at a time. The method that you choose doesn’t really matter, just be sure to be consistent and for goodness sake don’t spill any of the wine.

And that is all there is to serving a perfect bottle of wine. Before I go however, I would like to make one more addition to this article. I want to remind you that a wine served cold will get warmer in the glass, while a wine served warm will only get warmer in the glass. Therefore, it is important to not only buy the best wine cooler, but to chill the wine a little below target temperature. That way, when the wine warms it will reach the ideal serving temperature for the wine.

How To Open A Bottle Of Wine

You have selected the best possible wine you could find, have assembled the equipment you need and have chilled your wine in that cooler that has gotten rave wine cooler reviews. Now all that is left is to open the bottle. For some people, the mere thought of opening a bottle of wine can invoke sheer terror. All they can think about is struggling with the cork in front of guests, or even worse, breaking off the cork in the bottle. That doesn’t have to be the case, however.

Opening a wine bottle doesn’t have to induce symptoms of anxiety. All it takes is having the right equipment, knowing the proper technique and a little bit of practice. This guide will help you with these first two parts, but the practice is all up to you.

The Traditional Corkscrew

I have found that the easiest corkscrew to use is the traditional corkscrew, otherwise known as the waiter’s corkscrew. These corkscrews come with four components that make them ideal for opening a bottle of wine effortless. They contain a curved body that matches the angle of your palm, a foil cutter blade, a screw and a hinged lever that provides leverage to pull the cork out of the bottle.

To use this corkscrew to open a bottle simply follow these steps:

  1. Cut away the foil from the top of the bottle. You don’t have to remove all of the foil, only about a ½ inch or so. This prevents the wine from coming into contact with the foil as you pour, which can alter the wine’s taste profile.
  1. Insert the screw into the center of the cork and begin to slowly turn it clockwise. Be sure not to go all the way through the cork as this will introduce pieces of cork into your wine. Just enough so that the screw is securely anchored in the cork.
  1. Rest the lever’s small hook on the edge of the bottle. This will create a pivot-point and give you the leverage you need to pull out the cork.
  1. Pull out the cork and you are all done.


The Butterfly Wing Corkscrew

Another tool used for opening wine bottles is the wing corkscrew. To use this tool, first cut the foil off of your bottle using a  Sommelier Knife. After you’ve done that, push the tip of the wing corkscrew into the center of your wine’s cork. Put down the wings of the corkscrew on the neck of the bottle and begin screwing. As you do this, the wings on the opener will begin to rise. When they have reached a 90 degree angle with the rest of the bottle, then you can push them down with force. This will cause the cork to slowly pull out of the bottle. And that is all there is too it.

As you can see, opening a bottle of wine is not as complicated as it seems. In fact, with a little practice it will seem like second nature. Once you’ve mastered it, then you will no longer have those dreaded panic attacks when your remove your wine from your best wine cooler and begin to open it.

Everything You Wanted To Know About Rose Wines

If your best wine cooler is hungry for some other types of wines other than red or white, then you might want to try stocking it with some rose wines. Rose wines come in a variety of different shades of pink, from a soft hue all the way to a shocking pink. In Spain it’s called Rosado and in Italy its called Rosato. All names for what we call in the United States rose wine.

If you are thinking about stocking up on some rose wines, then allow this article to be your guide. I am not only going to tell you what gives rose wine its pink hue, but I am also going to explore their taste profile and suggest to you the best times to enjoy this sensational wine. Just bear with me and you’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about this variety of wine.

Why is Rose Wine Pink?

Traditionally, rose wines derived their color from the tannin compounds released into the wine from the wine being in contact with the grape skins during the manufacturing process. The longer the grape skins were allowed to remain in contact with the rest of the wine, the deeper the color. Leaving these skins in contact with the wine for a short period produces a rose wine, while leaving it in contact with the wine for a longer period will result in a red wine.

However, nowadays it seems like more vintners are making rose wine by mixing together red and white wine grapes. This is particularly true in the sparkling rose wine category, but is also done in other types as well.

Rose Wine Taste Profile

Rose wines tend to be much like their red wine cousins, except they have more of a subtle flavor and texture. When you drink a rose wine you can expect a wine with a fruity flavor that is oftentimes underpinned by subtle notes of citrus.

The Best Time For Rose Wine

Rose wine is a versatile wine that goes equally well with red meat as it does seafood. It’s also the perfect wine for more casual dishes such as hamburgers, hot dogs and potato salad. And if you’re looking for a great wine to go with your chips and dip, then you can hardly go wrong with a great rose wine.

Since it is so subtle, light and refreshing it is often a great wine for the summer months. Particularly if you are spending a lot of time outdoors. Just be sure to check wine cooler reviews and buy a good cooler so you can chill that rose wine down until it’s nice and cold.

And that my friends, is everything you need to know about this type of wine. While it might not seem as glamorous as white or red wines, I assure you that it has just as much class as both of these types of wine. Give it a try and I think that you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Making Your Own Wine

If you’ve always wanted to make your own wine, then you are in luck. That is because I am going to tell you how to get started making your own wine products. While this guide isn’t a comprehensive guide on the art of wine-making—after all, I really don’t have the space to write that—it will serve as a primer to get you started. Hopefully, reading this article will peak your curiosity and get you started down the road to making your own wines.

Before you start however, you are going to need a few items besides your best wine cooler, some bottles and some grapes. You are going to need things such as 2 6 gallon food grade buckets, a siphon hose, a chlorinated sanitizer, something to stir with, a rubber bung, an airlock device, sugar, yeast, a PH balancer, Sulphite, Bentonite, Potasium sorbate, Kieselsol and Chitosan. You can buy all of these things individually from your local home-brew shop or off the Internet, or you can buy them in a complete package. This guide is going to assume that you are using a kit.

Day 1: The next thing you should do is sterilize all of your equipment with your sanitizing solution and rinse it well with fresh water. Take one of your six gallon buckets and make it your primary fermenter. Add the Bentonite to the bucket and add 1 gallon of water. Dissolve completely. Now empty the contents of your juice concentrate bladder. Add 5 more gallons of water to the bucket. Make sure the temperature of the water is around 75 degrees, but no hotter. Stir the mixture well and add the yeast. Don’t stir the mixture anymore after adding the yeast, however. Cap the bucket and place it in a dark, cool location such as your closet. Don’t touch the bucket for a minimum of four days.

Day 5:  Check the mixture. It should be nice and foamy, an indicator that the yeast is doing its job. If it isn’t doing this, then you probably didn’t sterilize the equipment properly and will have to start all over. If it’s bubbly, then cap it up and place it in your closet for another 9 days.

Day 14: Sanitize your secondary bucket and siphon the wine mixture into this bucket. Now it’s time to mix in the rest of the ingredients in order and stirring after adding each component. Start off with the Sulphite and then add the  Potassium Sorbate, Kieselsol and Chitosan. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Now sanitize the airlock and place it on your container. Place it your closet for 2 more weeks.

Day 28: Your wine is now done and ready to be bottled. After you have bottled it, place it in your wine cooler and chill it down. If you don’t have a cooler, then check wine cooler reviews and buy a good one. Congratulations on making your first batch of wine!

How To Decant Wine

If you’ve ever wondered what the correct process for decanting wine is, then don’t worry because you are not alone. Not many people outside of expert wine circles know much about decanting and it can have an almost mystical quality about it. And that isn’t helped by the lack of quality guides on the subject. All over the Internet you can find wine cooler reviews, advice on selecting and serving wines and even tips on selecting glass ware. However, there isn’t a whole lot of information on the subject of properly decanting a wine. I aim to change that today.

The purpose of this guide is to demystify the decanting process and show how it can improve the quality of your wine. If you read this guide closely, then you will not only learn about the purpose of decanting but you will also learn how to properly do it.

What is Wine Decanting

Wine decanting is merely the process of transferring the wine from the bottle into another container; a container called a decanter. There are two reasons to decant a wine. First, it acts to aerate the wine. Second, it removes sediment from the wine.

Red wines tend to develop a sediment in the bottom of the bottles as they age. This sediment not only clouds the wine but it can impart tannic or bitter compounds into the wine, therefore making it less enjoyable to drink. That is why wine decanting is so important.

Prepare To Decant

The first thing you need to do before you begin the process of decanting is to locate a proper decanter. There are many different varieties available, but they can be generally broken down into two categories. The old fashioned versions that are basically just glass vessels, and the modern versions that strain the wine as you pour it through. It doesn’t matter which one you choose, either one will work.

The next thing you will want to do is to place your wine in your best wine cooler and cool it to proper temperature at least 24 hours before you open it and decant it. While you are storing it, it should be placed upright so the sediment can settle on the bottom of the bottle.

Time To Decant

Now you can begin to decant the wine. Pour it slowly into the decanter until you have emptied about half of the bottle into it. When you reach this mark, slow down your pouring even further. When the sediment reaches the neck of the bottle, then you should stop. Discard the remaining sediment laden wine from your bottle.

Wines that are 10 years or older should be decanted for about 30 minutes. Younger wines can be decanted for a longer period of time, but should never be decanted for more than an hour. You might want to try out different times to see which is best for your particular wine. Once you’ve done that you can then enjoy the fruits of your labor.

How To Serve Wine – The Basics

You’ve read through all the wine cooler reviews and have selected the perfect model for you and you’ve found the perfect place to do it. Now all you need to know is how to properly serve the wine that is now secure in your cooler and chilled to the ideal temperature. While that might seem like an easy proposition, it’s not as easy as you think. There’s more to serving wine than simply popping a cork and pouring it into a wine glass. How you serve it is as important as the wine selection itself and how it’s been stored.

Temperature, the quality of the glassware and even how you decant the wine can have a significant impact on the wine’s overall flavor and texture. And that is why I have decided to write this guide for you today. To show you how to properly serve your wine so that you get the most enjoyment from it. Follow these steps and you’ll never be faced with a wine that is underwhelming or disappointing ever again.

Temperature

One of the first things you need to consider is the temperature of the wine. Far too often people pay little attention to the temperature at which they serve their wine. I have been to far too many parties where people have served white wines that were too cold and red wines that were served too warm. While the temperature at which a wine is served can be impacted by an individual’s personal tastes, there are ideal temperatures for each different type of wine. I have listed some of the most common wines and their ideal temperatures so you can get a good grasp on the ideal temperature at which to serve your wine.

Rosés, Dry Light White Wines, Dessert Wines and Sparkling Wines-The ideal temperature for these wines is between 40 and 50 degrees. This temperature will not only preserve the fine bubbles in these wines but will also allow it to retain its light, fruity flavor.

Chardonnay and other Full-bodied White Wines and Beaujolais-The ideal temperature for full-bodied white wines and fruity red wines is between 50 and 60 degrees. This temperature will allow the complexity of these wines to shine through.

Full-bodied Red Wines Such as Cabernet Sauvignon And Most Port Wines-Ideal temperatures for these “heavier” wines is between 60 and 65 degrees. Serving them at this temperature downplays the acerbic aspects of these wines while enhancing their lissome aspects.

Choose the best wine cooler you can and chill your wine to the proper temperature. It makes a huge difference.

Glass Ware

The shape and composition of your wine glass can have a drastic effect on the taste of your wine. Different types of wines should be served in glasses that were designed for them. You should also choose crystal over regular glass, but if you don’t have a choice then at least use glass that is clear and isn’t colored.

Following these steps will help you serve a better tasting wine each and every time. For more advanced serving suggestions, then please read our advanced guide on serving wine.

Your Guide To Sparkling Wines

A person might be the greatest wine enthusiast in the world and might not know much about sparkling wines. In fact, most people know little more about these type of wines than how to take them out of their best wine cooler and serve them. That is why I am writing this article today. Consider this article a primer that will teach you everything you need to know about sparkling wines.

What Makes Sparkling Wine So Sparkly?

Quite simply, carbon dioxide puts the sparkle into this brand of wine. This invisible gas creates the bubbles—or if you prefer, the effervescence—that makes sparkling wines sparkle. Why did vintners start making sparkling wine, you ask? Well, it’s quite simple. It was accidentally discovered as the result of a process of dual fermentation within kegs. A happy accident that has created some of the best wines in the world.

Today, vintners use two separate methods to create this secondary fermentation process. They either use the Méthode Traditionnelle, or the Traditional Method in English, or they use the more modern method called the Charmat Method. When the first batches of Champagne were being made, it was under the Traditional Method, but as time went on and Champagne became more popular, then alternative methods had to be explored that were less labor intensive and quicker.

That’s Interesting, But How Do I Serve It?

Okay, that was probably more of a history lesson than you really wanted. You probably just want to get down to the specifics of serving this great wine. That’s okay, I am going to take care of that right this second.

Sparkling wine should be served at a very cold temperature around 40 degrees. Champagne on the other hand should optimally be served at around 45 degrees. These temperatures have been gleaned from years of experience and shouldn’t be deviated from because these wines are at their peak at these temperatures.

When you are chilling down a sparkling wine or Champagne, you should never use your household freezer. This will result in your wine losing some of its effervescence. You really need to store it in a wine cooler specifically built for sparkling wines. You can find one of these models by searching through various wine cooler reviews and finding one that suits your needs.

What Food Should I Serve With My Sparkling Wine?

I’m glad you asked this question.  Foods that are sweet, fried in oil or salty should be served with Champagne. That’s because these foods and Champagne complement each other so well. Blanc de Blancs tend to go well with avocado based dishes and Italian pasta served in a white sauce. It also pairs well with Chinese food, poultry and rich desserts. Extra dry or Brut wines pair very well with any type of cheese, as well as seafood. And Blanc de Noirs tend to pair well with appetizers, poultry and fruit.

How To Buy A Wine Cooler – Part One

If you are looking to buy a new wine cooler but don’t know exactly what features you need, then you’ve come to the right place. Today, I am going to tell you the models and the features that are available out there and how to determine if a particular wine cooler is right for you. If you read through this two-part guide—and then check out some wine cooler reviews—then you can rest assured that you will find the ideal unit for all of your wine storage needs.

Wine Coolers Vs. Wine Cellar

The first thing you need to realize is that there is a difference between a wine cooler and a wine cellar. A wine cooler is intended to store your wine for short periods of time. These units cool your wine down to serving temperature—which is between 40 and 65 degrees—and holds it there until it is ready to be served. Wine should never be kept in a wine cooler longer than a year. If you need a long-term storage solution, then you are better off purchasing a wine cellar.

Best Wine Cooler Features

A good wine cooler needs to have a number of features to ensure that it keeps your wine in good serving condition. These features will give you a good idea of the difference between a really good cooler and a mediocre one.

Temperature Range

When searching for a wine cooler, you need to find one that has the greatest temperature variability as possible. The better coolers have a wide temperature range of about 25 degrees from the lowest setting to the highest setting. Lesser models often feature a very narrow temperature variability of about 10 degrees.

Why is it important to choose a cooler with a wide range? That’s because different wines are the best at different temperatures. For instance, sparkling wines are usually served at 40 to 50 degrees; while full-bodied red wines are served at a temperature between 60 and 65 degrees. Therefore, it is very important to find a unit with a wide temperature range, particularly if you enjoy a number of different wines.

Price Per Bottle

Another thing you need to consider when purchasing a wine cooler is the price versus the capacity of the cooler. Instead of trying to just find the lowest priced model, try this little tip instead. Take the total price of the unit and divide it by the number of bottles it holds. This gives you the price-per-bottle price that can be compared to other unit’s price-per-bottle price. Generally, you’ll want to purchase the unit with the lowest price-per-bottle price. Of course, this can be adjusted by your needs. For example, a 46 bottle cooler might have a lower price-per-bottle price, but you might only need to store 20-24 bottles. In this case, it would make more sense to purchase the cooler that fits your storage needs.

The above features are the basics of what you need to look for in a wine cooler. To see some of the other features you need to take into consideration, then please check out Part Two of this guide.

Basic Types Of Red Wine

My last article on the basics of white wine was received so enthusiastically, I’ve decided I am going to cover the basic types of  red wines. As in the previous article, please remember that this guide is intended as a primer for those of you who have little to no experience with wines and it isn’t necessarily intended for those who are well versed in wine. In this guide, I am not only going to show you the different types of red wine, but I am also going to show you what flavor profiles you can expect from each variety and what food pairs best with them.

A word of caution before we begin, however. While red wine isn’t as sensitive to temperature changes as white wines—in fact some are best served warm—it is still important to buy the best wine cooler available to store your wine. Especially if you are buying quite a few different varieties.

Shiraz: This type of wine is one that is usually crafted in Europe, but there are also some great Australian and American brands of this wine. Shiraz is a spicy full body red that has a blackcurrant overtone and may has some peppery secondary notes. It is a wine that is best served with roasted meats and wild game.

Merlot: This red wine is one that is recognized by just about everyone; both wine novices and seasoned pros. It often displays plum or black cherry notes and has less of a tannin flavor than its cousin,  Cabernet Sauvignon. Because of the versatility of this wine, it can be paired with just about any type of food and it will complement it.

Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine has a full body taste that is sort of acidic. Because of the high tannin level of this wine, it is best to keep it stored at around 52 degrees so that it’s rich flavor profile isn’t altered too much. That is why you should check wine cooler reviews to find a cooler that can operate in this temperature range. A good Cabernet Sauvignon can be served with any type of red meat.

Pinot noir: Pinot noir can be describes as the exact opposite of Cabernet Sauvignon. Instead of a rich, viscous body it has a delicate and fresh tasting body. It often has a fruity flavor that is underpinned by earthy tones. It is best served with lamb, chicken, sushi and salmon.

Sangiovese: This is a medium body wine that is produced in Italy and California. It often has berry or plum undertones. Sangiovese is best served with Mediterranean and Italian dishes.

Barbera: This red wine has much of the same characteristics as Merlot, but isn’t as popular. It has a silky texture that has a good acid level and has black cherry notes to it. Barbera is a red wine that is best served with dishes that contain a tomato-based sauce, but its versatility really allows it to be served with just about any dish.