Thursday, June 13, 2024

Sniff & swirl your way to drinking wine

Have you always wanted to be a wine snob and didn’t quite get there?

Apart from throwing around a few lines such as “What’s the oldest bottle you’ve tasted? Oh, it feels as if they took my childhood summers in Provence and put them in this bottle… what kind of barrels was this wine aged in?” Here are a few rules on wine etiquette that will go a long way.

Swirl and Sniff

Firstly, hold the glass by the stem to avoid getting your fingerprints on the bowl. Take a moment to smell the wine and savour the aroma—the fruity, flowery notes. Give it a good swirl. Smelling the wine before tasting is important, as smell affects how we process flavour in our brain.

Sip on slowly and taste the sweetness and tartness, without gulping it all up.

Remember you clink the glasses, bell to bell and not rim to rim. That way you don’t accidentally break a glass.

Also, do look the other person in the eye when clinking glasses.

What Comes first?

It’s elementary! When serving more than one wine, the golden rule is white wine is served before red. Think light before dark, dry before sweet, simple before a complex. Always serve in spotless glasses and use the correct glass.


The Historical Museum of Palatinate, Speyer, is home to the ‘Speyer Wine Bottle’, a 1700-year-old bottle of wine that was discovered in 1867.

Act like the chivalrous sommelier and serve the women first, followed by men.

It may be a good idea to uncork red wine ahead of the arrival of your guests to give it time to breathe. A good tip is to taste the wine before serving to make sure it is not spoilt. Only make sure you don’t finish the bottle before your guests arrive!

While some may say that the only important rule is to keep it flowing, you may want to decant an aged red wine to get rid of the sediment. Pouring from a bottle to a decanter and then from a decanter into a glass will oxygenate the wine and bring out the full-bodied flavour.

Whoever said wine gets better with age may have not got it absolutely right. Ninety per cent of the wines are meant to be drunk within a year of production and 95 per cent within five years. Having said that the life span of an unopened wine bottle can be from one to 20 years, depending on the vintage and storage.


> Don’t cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink.
> Rosé is served best in summer. White wine and Rosé must be chilled.
> Stemware matters: Reidel is the default glassmaker of choice when you want to impress your wine snob friends. The glasses are marked.

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