Wine Etiquette: what is the traditional way to pour wine and why do people check the cork during a wine service?
There you are, sitting at your table at the restaurant, waiting for your wine.
The sommelier arrives; he shows you the bottle of your choice and then starts a series of little moves before you can actually enjoy your bottle.
I guess you have often wondered what is he doing and why, am I right?
Is he just putting on a show to justify its salary, or are all these little moves really necessary?
To answer your questions, I’ll start by explaining you how to perform a perfect wine service.
RULES OF WINE SERVICE IN A RESTAURANT
Once taken from the cellar, the bottle must be brought to the table carefully. Red wines, especially the aged ones, often require attentive handling, because moving them roughly can mix the deposits with the liquid and make the wine cloudy.
The sommelier must present the bottle to the left of the customer, so that the label can be seen and he needs to say the name of the wine and the vintage to make sure the guest is having exactly what he has ordered.
The sommelier must present the bottle to the left of the customer
Opening the bottle
The opening of the bottle must be performed with elegance. No uncorking noises, no bottle between the legs; we can leave all this to comedians!
The sommelier makes an incision on the capsule under the ring, using the sharp knife of the corkscrew, without moving the bottle. Then, he removes the capsule, cleans the bottle neck with a napkin and inserts the corkscrew.
Now, this is the most dangerous moment…it is essential not to break the cork in order to avoid any droppings in the wine and make a very impression on the customer!
The corkscrew lever is positioned on the edge of the bottle neck and the cap is gently pulled out. When this is almost completely out, the extraction is concluded by hand, tilting the cork a little to the side to avoid any noise.
The sommelier sniffs the cork, and places it on the table, so that it can be also checked by the customer. Then, he tastes the wine in his glass and if everything is alright, he can pour some wine to the person appointed to tasting.
Once the customer has confirmed that the wine is fine, everyone can be served. Ladies first, in decreasing age order.
Popular questions about wine service
What are the tools for a perfect wine service?
Professional corkscrew, a cloth napkin, a tasting glass and a decanter within reach.
Why do sommeliers check the cork during wine service?
To check for any defects. If the cork has been broken, there may be droppings in the wine If it smells of cork, dump or wet cardboard, the wine may be corked.
Do you need to decant all wines?
Not at all. Actually only a few wines need decanting: some of the aged ones both red and white in particular may need to be decanted to remove any deposit or to let them oxygenate well after having been closed in the bottle for a long time.
Some of the aged ones both red and white in particular may need to be decanted to remove any deposit.
Is it necessary to swirl the glass before tasting?
It is not strictly necessary but it is always a good thing to do. In fact, by swirling the glass, the wine oxygenates and releases more aromas.
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