This post is mainly addressed to friends who participate in confraternities and wine dinners and talks about the best practices and precautions to be observed when assembling the sequence of wines to be served. After all, an ill-defined sequence may come to disfavor some wines during the tasting and thus not allow them to be tasted in their fullness.
Surely, if you follow these basic rules, your sequence will be highly praised by the participants.
1 – Study the wines that will be served:
It is important to know the characteristics of wines such as grape, alcohol content, type of aging, producer, recommendations for decanting or aeration, etc.If you have received the list in advance look for the technical data of the wines, if you did not receive, the wine label you can bring important information. This can form a “pre-sequence” that will be validated at the time of service. For this it is important to know the body of the wine grapes, from the lightest to the most full.
2 – Taste all wines before service:
It is this proof that will confirm our “pre-sequence”, surprises always happen. Impossible to know the wines conditions before proving. Wine may has small variations from bottle to bottle. This also avoids serving a corked or bouchonée bottle.Usually all wines are opened before the service starts, except in special situations.
3 – From lightest to full-bodied, but not necessarily:
Obviously the ideal sequence is as explained above, but according to possible variables such as pairing with a main course, time required for decanting or condition of the vintages, this sequence can be altered. Often it may be necessary to decant for more hours than foreseen.
4 – Care when decanting or aerating wines:
Regularly taste wines that are in the decanter (30 – 30 minutes) to prevent a wine from being served before the ideal time or especially to oxidize for an excessive time. Prepare yourself in advance and try to calculate the required number of decanters so you do not have surprises during the service. If a wine needs aeration for 2 hours, it needs to be taken out of the bottle at least 2 hours before service.
5 – Beware of the service temperature:
This is one of the great challenges, use everything from a bucket of ice water to bottles to an ice platter for decanters. But beware, an excessively cold wine can be worse than a wine just above the temperature because the low temperature will cover up aromas and flavors and make your guests have to “warm” the wines with their hands in the glass.
Decanter with ice space. This decanter has an area to place ice, which maintains the temperature of the wine.
6 – Do not let the best wine to the end:
This is a big mistake that usually happens, I even took time to learn. The best wine must be in the correct sequence, according to the body of the wine or with the dish that would paired perfectly. Another important point is to take the best wine while our palate is still in a hurry. In several confraternities I attended, the best wine of the day was the first or second served, without the mystique that the latter is the best.
7 – Beware of old vintages:
Often they should be the first to be served because they have already lost some of the tannins, altering the taste and risk oxidizing after being opened. It is necessary to monitor these wines with certain frequency, even outside decanter.
8 – Have the necessary equipment:
Conventional corkscrew, tweezers corkscrew, a metal sieve, aerator, decanter, wine taste glasses, eyepieces and cup / decanter markers, among others, are necessary to ensure a good wine service.
9 – Be flexible:
Many times someone arrives later with a wine that no longer fits in the sequence. Make it a challenge for a different pairing or the best fit in the sequence.
10 – Try to hear the opinion of the participants and the owner of the wine.
This information and feedback is very important for improving a sequence in progress or for upcoming services. Information from those who have already tasted a particular wine, from whom they purchased, can be valuable for an ideal service.
Good wines to everyone !!