Learn to serve wine like a pro

Importance of having a decent corkscrew:

  • It doesn't have to be expensive, but it has to meet the basic criteria of: Function (if it isn't easy to use, what's the point?), Strength (weak materials often snap of fracture with repeated use), Durability (make sure all joints, hinges and foil cutter are in good working order and not loose), Action (make sure levering the cork from the bottle isn't difficult), Movement (you want little friction between cork and screw. whatever you buy, ensure the screw has a sharp point)

    How to pick glassware:

  • Three different types of wineglasses are all you need. A champagne flute, an all-purpose wineglass and a slightly bigger version of that for heavier reds.

  • You don't have to spend a fortune, but make sure you choose clear glasses with a stem (plain and simple) - that way you can see the contents within and will keep your hands off the bowl of the glass so you don't alter the temperature of the wine.

    Why should you decant and how:

  • Decanters serve 2 main purposes: they allow wine to breathe and they're also especially handy when it comes to removing sediment.

  • Choosing a decanter: they come in all shapes sizes and prices; go for something clear, plain, free of overly fussy elements

  • How to decant: hold the bottle firmly at the bottom end so that you can see what's going on up at the neck as you poor. Pour very slowly down the side of the decanter until you see sediment, then stop.

    How to alter temperature of wine fast:

  • Paying attention to temperature is really important; if you serve a wine too cold you risk making all the lovely smells and flavors as well as altering the wines texture. But serve the wine too warm and you'll notice that the alcohol becomes far more obvious and will quickly throw your wine off-balance.

  • The fastest way to chill a wine is to fill half a bucket with ice and top it up with cold water. Rotate the bottle continuously in the ice for 10 minutes at which point the wine should be cold.

  • Similarly, if you pull a bottle out of the fridge only to discover it is too cold, pour some into your glass and, cupping your hands around it, swirl the wine in the glass at the same time. Your hands will warm up the content in the glass pretty quickly.

  • Don't put wine in a microwave, freezer or hot tap - wine doesn't like being subjected to dramatic fluctuations in temperature.

    About Matt Skinner
    Matt Skinner has been involved in the wine industry since he was 18. Matt is a wine writer, consultant and educator. In 2002, he left his native Melbourne, Australia to head up wine at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant in London. He now oversees wine operations for the Fifteen Restaurant group worldwide. Gifted with the refreshing knack of making wine simple, he has been teaching and writing about wine with his trademark passion and enthusiasm ever since.

    He is the author of the international bestseller Thirsty Work, which was awarded "Best Educational Wine Book UK" at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in 2005 and has sold in 14 countries and 10 languages, and the annual wine guide The Juice, both published by Mitchell Beazley. He writes for Waitrose Food Illustrated (UK), GQ Australia and jamieoliver.com and has appeared on ITV's Saturday Cooks, Daily Cooks, UKTV Food's Great Food Live, Food Uncut. He can currently be seen on Australia's Lifestyle Network's Tobie & Matt with fellow Fifteener and friend, Tobie Puttock. While much of his time is spent on the road, Matt calls Melbourne, Australia home. He lives, works and plays there along with wife Carly and daughter Indi.
    >> Buy the book on Amazon: Heard it Through the Grapevine: The Things You Should Know to Enjoy Wine

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