12 June 2016

Etiquette for serving wine at table

servire il vino

It is often true that the details turn out to be more important than they seem at first glance. A fine example of this is the choice of glass which, plays a fundamental role in wine tasting.


The ideal type of glass must, for starters, have a stem, ensuring that the person tasting won’t unwittingly alter the temperature of the wine with the palm of the hand.

The stem also plays a role in enabling the rotation of the glass, allowing the maximum release of the wine’s perfumes.


And this is just the beginning; because the selection of the most appropriate glass for wine sampling opens a door onto an infinity of possibilities. Should ordinary glass or a prestigious crystal, such as that from Bohemia, in the Czech, Republic be used?


The simplest solution rests in acquiring three types of glass: a stem glass for still wines, an elongated flute glass for spumantes and a small glass for liqueur wines.

A further refinement lies in distinguishing between the glasses for the still red and still white wines, the latter usually has a smaller capacity.

The most discerning connoisseurs go even further, acquiring specific shapes of glass for all the different types of wine.


For red wines, in reality, two types of glass are enough: one for young wine and the other for aged wine. Alternatively, choose a specifically designed glass for each of the best known appellations, such as Brunello di Montalcino or Chianti Classico, to bring out the particular characteristics of that wine.

Of course, the same is true for white wines and spumante. For spumante in particular, there is a specially designed crystal glass that enables the most complete appreciation of Prosecco Superiore DOCG.



Apart from the shape of the glass, great care should also be given to the temperature at which wines are served.

In general, the more complex aged wines should be served at a temperature between 16 and 18°C for the reds and 12 and 16°C for the whites, to facilitate the evaporation of the aromatic components in the glass.

It is an interesting fact that the higher temperatures increase the sensitivity of our palates to the sugars, while, lower temperatures tend to highlight the acidic and tannic elements.

The lighter reds and whites should be tasted at temperatures between 10 and 12°C, while spumante is best at even lower temperatures (from 6 to 10°C), also because warmth accelerates the release of effervescence.



And it doesn’t end here. After choosing the most appropriate glass and temperature in order to appreciate the wine, the advice regarding the order they are served in at table needs to be kept in mind.

In the most simplistic terms, it’s best to serve dry wines before the sweet ones and young wines before the more complex aged wines.

However, there are numerous exceptions: for example, there are powerful young wines that dominate the delicacy of the more mature wines, often with lower alcohol content and, therefore, should be served last.