5 Easy Steps: How To Present A Bottle Of Wine Like A Sommelier?
Knowing how to open a bottle of wine properly is a skill that sets wine lovers and wine drinkers apart! Get ready to impress your friends and create an unforgettable wine experience with these five easy steps that make you feel like a sommelier. Elevate the ambiance and give your wine the respect it deserves. Your friends will love the unique atmosphere you create as you showcase your newfound expertise. So, get ready to pop the cork and pour the perfect glass. Cheers to becoming a true wine connoisseur!
1. Present the bottle of wine to the guests
Before opening the bottle, a good sommelier would briefly present the main information about the wine:
- the name of the wine, it could be a fantasy name, or it could be named after a variety, etc.
- the variety, or the varieties of the wine, preferably with a short explanation if it is an unknown local variety etc., perhaps the position where the vine is grown
- the producer, including essential information about the winery, where it is from or about the enologist or the winemaker, etc.
- the vintage and general features of the harvest, if it’s relevant
Whereas food is usually served from the left, the sommelier will most probably serve from the right. While doing that, he would turn the label forward to make it visible to the person who was ordering the wine. The sommelier always does that to ensure the correct bottle is being served.
Even if you are having a casual dinner with friends, you’ll see that your guests love to know more about the wine you are serving. It is pretty common today to leave the bottle for your guest to take a snapshot with a phone camera.
The presentation doesn’t have to be as official as in top restaurants. Rather share your own insight and, ideally, passion about the particular wine and what makes this wine special for you.
If this is the winery where you have been, describe your experience and tell people more. Sharing your emotions and impressions will enhance the feeling of enjoying the same bottle with your friends.
2. Remove the capsule
Most fine wines come with a capsule, also known as the foil, which is a protective cover that sits on top of the wine bottle’s cork and neck. It serves as a barrier to protect the cork and wine from dirt, dust, and moisture.
For removing the capsule, it is best to use the specialised foil cutters or, as the sommeliers would do, use the small knife attached to the bottle opener.
The foil should be cut at the lower lip of the bottleneck, at the front and back, without moving or shaking the bottle itself. You don’t want to play spin the bottle. If you want to look like a pro, remember that the label should always be facing the guests.
Some foils are easier to remove than others. It depends mostly on the material used to make wine bottle capsules:
- PVC is the most common because it is also the cheapest material. It is easy to use and very lightweight. It also comes in all the possible colours to match the desired visual appearance of the bottle.
- Tin is also a popular choice which today is used on more expensive bottles. It is heavier, and it crumples, unlike the plastic foil.
- Polylaminate is a material made of several layers of polymers, often including aluminium, to provide protection against oxygen and light.
- Aluminium is used with increasingly popular screw caps, but in this case, the bottle is opened by hand, keeping the lower part of the cap under the perforations fixed and turning the wine bottle with the other hand. The cork will release itself, and the wine is immediately opened.
- Wax capsules usually aren’t really made out of beeswax. Luckily, otherwise, the opening of the bottle could present a tiresome task. Mostly, an artificial wax is used that peels off quite easily.
After removing the foil top, put it in your pocket and be aware that nothing should touch the table, not even the bottle, during the wine presentation. The next step is cleaning the upper part of the bottle for the first time with the napkin to remove any possible dust or mold.
Effortlessly remove foil with a simple turn, ensuring a clean and precise result. This elegant and practical tool comes with a lifetime warranty, making it a lasting essential for wine lovers.
3. Take a corkscrew
There is a reason why this is the most widely used wine opener in the world is “the waiter’s friend”. Designs may vary depending on the producer, but it usually has everything you will need 99% of the time:
- attached small knife,
- a two-notch lever,
- and a screw (the “worm”, the spiral).
The procedure with the World’s most popular bottle opener is as follows:
- Open the corkscrew and insert the screw straight into the middle of the cork.
- Twist the corkscrew about 5-6 times, making sure to keep the worm in the centre of the cork and to insert it straight down until only a single spiral loop shows at the top.
- Once the worm is fully inserted, use the leverage of the corkscrew to pull the cork out slowly and steadily. Rest the lever’s first notch on the lip and hold the lever flat against the bottle so it doesn’t slide, and gently lift the end of the corkscrew. Then use the second notch at the end of the lever to ease the cork out of the bottle.
Additional preparations and tools might be required if you end up opening a seriously old bottle of wine. Extra care is required to avoid damaging the cork or the wine inside.
Instead of a traditional corkscrew with a worm and a lever consider using an ah-so corkscrew or a Durand corkscrew, both designed to gently remove old and fragile corks.
A popular wine tool among wine enthusiasts, collectors, and sommeliers, this patented two-part device effortlessly removes old and fragile wine corks whole and undamaged.
4. Remove the cork cleanly and quietly
Pull the cork out delicately.
Once the cork is removed, smell it to check for any off smells such as TCA (cork taint). Or not, this could be considered pretentious and ridiculous if you’re not certain you know what you’re doing.
Remove the cork from the bottle opener and put it on the side or, ideally, on a small plate. This is done so that the guest can examine the cork if they want, to make sure it’s wet on the side that was in the bottle and dry on the outer end.
Once the cork is removed, wipe the neck of the bottle to remove any debris or cork particles before serving the wine.
5. Pour it up
The sommelier is always the first to taste, so pour a small amount of wine into the glass to check the aromatic profile and quality of the wine. If the wine is corked, you would want to know that before pouring the wine into your guest’s glasses.
Hopefully, the wine is just as you imagined, and you and your guests can discuss the aromas and flavours.
Pour the wine slowly and steadily into the glass, aiming for the center of the bowl. The amount of wine you pour will depend on the size of the glass. As a general rule, a standard serving of wine is around 5 ounces (150 mL), which is about one-third of the glass.
Even the shiest people who are afraid to talk about wines (because they don’t know enough or aren’t familiar with the common vocabulary) are most likely to engage in a wine conversation after you devote so much effort to presenting the wines like a professional.
Of course, there are exceptions to these five steps, and the most notable exception would be the famous decanting.
Decanting is a technique used for the purpose of allowing the wine to breathe. Which wine to decant and how, and which not, is another story. And it is also a matter of which aspects of the wine you prefer to emphasize.
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