Tips & Tricks to Serving Wine
Have you ever wanted to chill a bottle of wine quickly or remove an old cork without breaking it? Most of us have encountered various obstacles, at one time or another, which delayed (or in extreme circumstances, prevented) our enjoyment of wine. Here are just a few of the common tips and tricks to getting your bottle ready to drink as soon as possible.
How do I quickly chill a bottle of wine?
If you don’t have time to slowly chill a bottle of wine in your refrigerator, here are two ways to do it quickly:
Option 1: Find a bucket or large bowl. Fill your chosen container ¾ full with a mixture of water, ice, and about a cup of salt. Submerge your wine bottle in the ice bath for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the bottle and enjoy!
Option 2: Grab enough paper towels to wrap around your wine bottle about three times. Fold the towels into a square and run cold water over them until they are completely saturated. Carefully wrap the bottle in the towels and put it in your freezer. Wait 15 to 20 minutes. Presto - you have chilled wine!
When should I decant a bottle of wine?
There are two reasons you should decant a bottle of wine. First, if there is a large deposit of sediment in the bottle - especially in older wines - decanting allows you to separate the wine from the sediment. Second, decanting can be useful when serving young red wines that may benefit from aeration.
If you need to decant an older bottle of wine, try to keep it in as horizontal of a position as possible, carefully remove the cork, and slowly pour the wine into a decanter. Hold the bottle above a light source, and be mindful not to disturb any sediment that may have collected in the shoulder of the bottle. Stop pouring once you notice the sediment starting to enter the neck of the bottle. For young wines that just need to breathe, you can be a bit more liberal with the pouring, as long as they don’t have any sediment.
How do I keep my wine chilled while serving it?
Perhaps you’ve tried adding ice cubes to your glass of wine. While this may seem like a logical solution in theory, in practice, it dilutes the flavors and textures of the wine as the ice melts. Instead, try this - freeze bunches of grapes and add them to a pitcher of wine. Not only will this keep your wine chilled - it also looks attractive, especially if you use green grapes with white wine and red grapes with rosé. Feel free to eat the grapes once the wine is gone, too!
How do I remove an old cork without breaking it?
Crumbling corks pose a major dilemma for the wine drinker, especially when pieces fall into your wine. If you want to prevent this situation from happening, buy an Osso. This inexpensive little gadget has two metal prongs that can be slowly wiggled into position on opposite sides of a cork. With a bit of patience and care, you can move the handle of the Osso from side to side while simultaneously twisting the cork out of the bottle. Not opening the bottle from the middle of the cork will decrease the chance of it breaking the cork into pieces.
Should my wine glasses have stems?
Yes, they should. There are three reasons wine glasses with stems are better than those without. First, cupping a stemless glass of wine in your hands will alter the temperature of the wine. Second, having a stem to hold onto means you can clearly observe the appearance of the wine. Third, wine glasses with stems will allow you to keep the bowl free of fingerprints and smudges.
What should I do with my unfinished wine?
If you open a bottle and don’t finish it, have no fear! Leftover wine can be utilized in several different ways. First, if you’d like to save the wine for later drinking, a vacuum system will come in handy. You can also reseal the bottle with the cork or a wine stopper and place it in the fridge for up to a few days. Another option is to use your unconsumed wine for cooking, or, as a drink option, use your residual wine to whip up a batch of Sangria.
Now that you know some common tips and tricks for serving and consuming wine, you'll never get frustrated trying to open or drink a bottle again!