To the amateur enthusiast, pouring a glass of wine is as simple as opening the bottle and pouring out its contents. However, to truly get the most out of your drink it is important to know exactly how to properly pour the drink. This is especially the case with Italian red wine, where much of the joy from drinking comes through enjoying the complexities and depth of flavour displayed by the wine.
So why does the proper pouring method make such a difference? For one, it can ensure that nothing contaminates the drink before it reaches your glass, thus altering its flavour. Furthermore, unlike many other alcoholic beverages, wine carries with it a certain level of history and tradition that the true enthusiast always considers. The action of pouring the wine is almost ritualistic in nature, so the proper protocols need to be followed to make sure that you do it right.
Additionally, should you operate a restaurant or other business that serves Italian red wine, odds are that you will have run into a connoisseur at some point or another. They, more than any other customer, will want to ensure that their wine is poured properly so you need to know what to do to make sure that you get it right.
With that in mind, we have created a step-by-step guide to the proper way of pouring wine. This is not something that you absolutely have to follow, and most wines can be enjoyed no matter how you choose to pour. However, to get the absolute most out of the bottle these instructions should be followed at all times.
Step 1 – Remove the Foil
Many people make the mistake of assuming that simply unscrewing the cap or popping the cork in a bottle of wine is all that needs to be done to provide proper access to the contents.
This is simply not the case. The foil that is often wrapped around the neck of the bottle must also be removed to ensure the wine is poured correctly. This is not because the foil provides any sort of barrier to the wine exiting the bottle, but more because its presence can have an effect on the wine and alter its taste.
The issue is that the foil often contains chemicals that can leech into the wine and ruin its integrity. You should aim to remove at least half an inch of the foil before pouring, perhaps more if you want to. This ensures the wine does not come into contact with it. Many corkscrews actually contain a small blade for this purpose.
Step 2 – Clean the Lip
The foil is not the only aspect of the bottle’s neck that can contaminate the wine. The lip of the bottle can also contain contaminants, be they dust from the wine cellar or debris from the cork itself.
Wiping these away ensures that they don’t get into the wine and is a crucial step if the drink has been stored away for a long time.
Step 3 – Prepare the Glass
It’s not just the bottle that needs to be taken care of before pouring. The glass that the wine will be poured into must also be taken into account. This includes everything from storing the glass correctly right through to ensuring that it is fit for purpose when it comes time to pour the wine.
Glasses should be stored upside down before use to ensure that no dust or debris collects within. When it comes time to actually use the glass, always make sure to hold it up to the light so that you can check for any unsightly smudges or smears. Even if these are simply water marks it is considered good form to remove them before serving.
Use a clean cloth to properly wipe the glass and ensure that it is clear from all angles. This will be crucially important to those who like to observe their wine.
Step 4 – Pouring
After all of that preparation, it is now time to pour the wine. This is actually an important process as well, as the manner in which you pour can have a bearing on the eventual taste of the wine.
The first step is to ensure that the glass remains on the table. At no point should you pick it up when pouring, as both of your hands need to cradle the wine bottle to ensure maximum accuracy when pouring.
You should also aim to create some distance between the lip of the wine bottle and the base of the wine glass’ bowl. A distance of 7-10 inches is preferred, as this also offers the wine the opportunity to aerate as it is poured, thus softening the tannins.
Finally, ensure that you twist the bottle slightly as you conclude pouring to ensure that no wine drips out.
Step 5 – Clean the Lip…Again
Just because the wine has been successfully poured, doesn’t mean that your job is over. Various issues can cause problems with the wine after pouring and need to be remedied.
Make sure that you clean the lip of the bottle again after pouring. This ensures that no wine dries onto the lip, which would contaminate the next pour. Again, always remember to use a completely clean cloth.
Step 6 – Place the Wine Back in Storage
Now that the bottle has been opened, you need to ensure that it is store in such a way that it maintains its integrity for future servings. Make sure that you know the storage requirements for the bottle and, where possible, try to use a vacuum pump to prevent the wine from being contaminated by the open air and thus ruining its flavour.
So there you have it! Six simple steps that demonstrate exactly what you need to do to properly pour a glass of wine and ensure that it retains its integrity at all times. Try using these steps the next time that you have people over and see if they notice the difference.