Serving Wine

Raise a glass of great vino with help from Chatelaine’s wine expert Natalie MacLean. Here are her tips to serving – and enjoying – a perfect glass.

1. Decanting

Pour wine out of the bottle and into a decanter, which can be a water jug, specially designed wine decanter or another large vessel to soften the wine and clarify it of any remaining sediment (the tiny particles from the grapes). Exposing robust red wines to air softens their harsh tannins, which make them taste smoother. White wines don’t have strong tannins, so they taste best when fresh from the bottle.

2. Red wine temperature

Serve red wine at about 17C. You can buy a wine thermometer if you really want to be sure, but the wine should be slightly cooler than room temperature. Some light reds, such as beaujolais or other gamay region wines, are better served at cooler temperatures to capture their freshness.

3. White wine temperature

Serve white wine chilled to about 13C. When you pour it, your glass should feel cool but not ice-cold – it shouldn’t mist over.

4. Good glasses

A good glass does make wine taste better. All you really need are two all-purpose styles: the bordeaux glass (with a rounded bowl) is the most versatile for reds, and the sauvignon blanc glass (with more of a tulip-shaped bowl) works for most whites. Leading glassware makers include Baccarat, Schott Zwiesel, Waterford, Spiegelau and Riedel.

5. Quality scent

Be sure to smell the wine before you serve it. Whether it’s red or white, if it smells like musty cardboard, it may be corked. This flaw occurs when a chemical from the cork leaches into the wine. There’s no salvaging it, so try another bottle.

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