Choose And Enjoy

Douro Wines

Serving a wine involves a series of steps which, if properly carried out, highten the pleasure one can enjoy from the wine. Without going into detail, here are some of the aspects that we consider important:

 

Choose and buy

  • Purchase in shops where there is a good variety of labels and, more important, where there is a good stock turnover;
  • Purchase in shops with adequate temperature control and where the bottles are not exposed to sunlight;
  • “The older the wine, the better” is, at best, a half-truth that only applies to certain types of wines.  As a general rule, especially for beginners, when choosing between two vintages, select the most recent one, especially in the case of white wines;
  • Examine the state of the bottle. The label should be in good condition and the level of the wine should not be below normal;
  • In the event you do not know a particular wine, opt to buy only one bottle.  If you like it, you can purchase more later;
  • Find out more about the quality of the vintage years.  This is always a useful indicator, especially when you are looking for a top quality wine.

 

 

Storage

The conditions under which a wine is stored or kept are very important if you wish to preserve the characteristics of the wines and guarantee that they will age in an appropriate manner.

Accordingly, your cellar or storage space must ensure that:

  • the temperature is between 10ºC-12ºC
  • there is some ventilation so as to avoid the growth of mold
  • the bottles can be laid on their side
  • there is no shaking or vibrations

 

  • there are no unpleasant smells
  • the bottles are kept in the dark
  • there is a high relative humidity.

How to Serve a Wine

The first step is to remove the capsule, if there is one, by cutting it immediately below the cork with a knife or appropriate device.  Next, clean the neck of the bottle and remove the cork.  Your corkscrew should have a long screw so that you can remove the cork without breaking it. 

There is a technique that uses hot tongs for very old wines with very bad corks.  After applying the hot tongs, ice water is poured over the neck of the bottle to create a thermal shock that ought to break the glass cleanly, above the bottom of the cork, to prevent small bits of glass from falling into the wine.  This is a very complicated technique that is only recommended for use by experts.

 

Decanting
 
Decanting is the term used for pouring wine from a bottle into a crystal decanter.  There are two situations in which one may wish to decant a wine:  in the case of wines that have aged in bottle and will thus throw a deposit, and in the case of young red wine and some white wines that will benefit from airing when the wine is poured from the bottle into the decanter.


The need to air wines that have not thrown a deposit is a controversial issue.  Some say that the wines will breathe in the decanter and others say that this “airing” may cause the wine to lose its freshness and fruit.

 

Tasting and glasses

  • The bowl of the glass must be separated from the base by a stem
  • The glass must be narrower at the rim than at the base (except for flutes)
  • Crystal or fine glass
  • Clear
  • Carefully cleaned
  • Approximately 350ml capacity
  • Never fill the glass more than halfway.

 

Rules of order for tasting wines:

As to types

Whites -> Reds

As to quality

Poor -> Average -> Good -> Great

As to body

Thin -> Full-bodied

As to age

Young -> Aged

As to degree of sweetness

Dry -> Smooth -> Sweet

 

Recommended Temperatures:  

WHITE WINES

TYPES

TEMPERATURE (ºC)

Light and acid

6 to 9

Exuberant

8 to 10

Full-bodied, woody

14 to 16

ROSÉ WINES

TYPES

TEMPERATURE (ºC)

All, generally speaking

6 to 9



RED WINES

TYPES

TEMPERATURE (ºC)

Light and fruity

12 to 14

Moderately full-bodied

14 to 16

Full-bodied, tannic, aged

16 to 18

SPARKLING WINES

TYPES

TEMPERATURE (ºC)

Brut

6 to 12

Demi-sec

4 to 8

Sweet

4 to 8