Have you ever drank wine? Probably yes, maybe at the table together with your meals. But why you limit yourself to drinking only, when we can enjoy the infinite smells, flavors and aromas that wine can give when it passes through sight, nose and mouth. It's like going on vacation and spending all the time in your room without enjoying all the beauties of the place (and for which we have already paid ...). We have to choose and serve wine in the best way and try to find those sensations that wine already has, find our favorite, the one that gives us the most pleasure, the one that best enhances the flavors of our dishes, let's stop being someone's copy, we look for our wine, what we like, not what our neighbor or friend has recommended, we will then recommend our favorite wines to others. So here's how to do it.
The choice of wine
When we are in front of the wine shelves, very often we can enjoy a phenomenon in which the buyer tends to stare at the dozens and dozens of bottles with absolute nothingness in his head. At least at the beginning it is good to know some simple general rules that can help us in the best choice. It is good to always make the choice fall on wines with DOC, DOCG, DOP, IGP abbreviations, this means that the production of wine, from the cultivation of grapes to bottling is controlled by a specification that wineries must strictly follow, a series of stringent rules against poor imitations and to maintain a minimum level of quality associated with the acronym itself.
Let's now move on the combinations with the dishes. The general pairing rules can be these:
- consistent and well-structured dishes, full-bodied wines (Barolo, Brunello, Amarone, Tintilia)
- light dishes, light wines (Lambrusco, Nebbiolo)
- white first courses (without tomatoes sauce) and vegetable soups, dry white wines (Chardonnay, Grechetto)
- red first courses (with tomatoes sauce), light red wines (Lambrusco, Gamay)
- white meats, light white and red wines (Chardonnay, Passerina, Cerasuolo)
- red meats and game, full-bodied red wines (Barbera, Montepulciano, Merlot, Cabernet, Sassicaia)
- fish, white wines (Pinot Grigio, Verdicchio, Falanghina, Sangiovese)
- fresh cheeses, dry white wines (Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay)
- aged cheeses, red wines (Barolo, Brunello, Amarone, Chianti)
-desserts, sweet wines (Moscato, Passito, Vin Santo)
As usual when it comes to tasting, the choices are subjective so the combinations proposed are only general advice that can vary according to personal taste but which offer an excellent starting point for the right choice.
How to serve the wine
The first thing to keep in mind is the temperature. The most common answer that you hear about it is that wine should be served at room temperature. Nothing more wrong. Each wine has its own serving temperature that best enhances all the organoleptic characteristics, let's see which ones:
- light white wines, serving temperature of 8 ° - 10 ° C
- structured white wines, serving temperature of 10 ° - 12 ° C
- rosé wines, serving temperature of 12 ° - 14 ° C
- light red wines, serving temperature of 14 ° - 16 ° C
- structured red wines, serving temperature of 16 ° - 18 ° C
For a constant control of the temperature of the wine and therefore to taste the best of all its flavors it is advisable to use (in the absence of a decanter) an ice basket where you can place the bottle and a wine thermometer in such a way as to prevent the wine gets too hot on the table.
Finally we can uncork! Uncorking a bottle (especially if in front of relatives, friends or colleagues) is a delicate operation that sees the use of the right tools that simplify the procedure. We can use a corkscrew with or without a small knife, the important thing is that it is of good quality and specifically for wine, the materials must be sturdy to allow easy opening, the screw (or worm) of good workmanship to avoid crumbling the cork and the very solid lever and suitable shape to avoid bending and twisting that would ruin the cap or lead us to involuntary movements with possible breaking of the bottle... so as always the choice of the right tools is essential to carry out a duty with extreme simplicity and naturalness.
The first thing to do is to remove the bottle capsule by making an incision on the lip, in other words on the rib of the neck of the bottle using the corkscrew knife or simply the tip of the spiral screw.
Once the capsule has been removed we can proceed to screw the spiral, from now on let's place the bottle on a stable surface and holding it firmly with one hand, point the corkscrew at the center of the cap and screw it, stopping at the last turn of the spiral, with the help of the lever slowly remove the cap from its seat, holding the bottle firmly.
Now the first thing to do is to smell the wine from the neck of the bottle which is not a gesture to be cool but hepls to make sure that the wine has been kept in good condition, if the wine tastes like a cork or has a rotten smell , mold, wet cardboard or in some cases the smell of vinegar unfortunately the wine cannot be drunk or used in the kitchen. All this due to mold or fungi that can proliferate in the bottle cap. Vice versa, if the cork smells of wine then go ahead!
The next phase sees the decantation and oxygenation of the wine. The oxygenation brings the wine into contact with oxygen in such a way that the molecules bind with it and the wine releases all its aromas and perfumes in the best possible way. The decantation instead serves to eliminate any sediments and impurities present in the wine. A fundamental tool for this operation is the decanter. Not all wines need this operation, mainly red wines should be decanted.
First of all you have to "avvinare" the decanter, so pour a very small amount of wine into the decanter and twirl it, this serves to remove impurities and smell present in the decanter that could ruin the wine. Then proceed to pour the contents of the bottle, it is advisable in this case to use a funnel with or without filter, the decanter funnel without filter helps us to better distribute the wine when we pour it and therefore to significantly increase oxygenation, the decanter funnel with filter helps us also to block sediments and impurities of the wine. If a wine needs decanting, this cannot be done through the neck of the bottle as the space available is really too small to obtain appreciable results.
With our thermometer we now check the temperature and if it is correct we proceed to pour into glasses or better, into wine glasses.
Wine glasses are of different shapes and materials depending of the use that we have to make of them. For the materials it is always advisable to use crystal thanks to which we have a better transparency and a lower thickness to better appreciate the color, in any case with a goog glass or crystal wine glasses we have no taste alterations of the wine. For the shapes instead it obviously depends on the type of wine. The dimensions to which we must refer are mainly two, the mouth (bocca) and the belly (pancia) of the wine glass.
The mouth serves to moderate the leakage of the wine's aromas to the nose and is more or less wide depending on the intensity of the wine, while the more or less large belly allows us to better appreciate all the nuances of color depending on the intensity the color of the wine.
- light white wine, medium mouth and medium belly so it is possible to appreciate all the shades of color even in a modest volume
- full-bodied white wine, wide mouth and wide belly, which allows you to better appreciate the most intense colors and aromas
- full-bodied red wine, medium mouth and wide belly with an elongated shape, in this case the glass is of important dimensions that allow us an easy twirling and therefore oxygenation of the wine as well as to appreciate the decisive colors and the most marked aromas
- light red wine, wide mouth and wide belly with a rounded shape, this allows us to appreciate the fairly clear colors and delicate aromas
- sweet dessert wines, medium mouth and large belly with a reduced shape as the high sugar content and high alcohol content suggest tasting small quantities.
Finally our wine arrives in our wine glasses, one last tip, let's fill the glasses up to one third of their maximum capacity, they should not be filled to the brim as the wine once in the glass tends to change temperature quickly, so it is preferable enjoy it little by little and better. Now we just have to observe, smell and taste or wine, and enjoy your meal!