Decanting
Temperature
Opening Wine
Caring For Glass
Choosing Glasses
Wine At Table
The Duty Of The Host
Food, Wine And Fashion
Customs Of Service

Custom, too, dictates the order of service of wines, and their place on the menu. This is explored in the Wine and Food chapter. The conventions are: white wine before red, young before old, light before heavy, dry before sweet, minor before fine or rare. White wines accompany the first courses in a meal, red ones the main or later courses.

Do not serve assertive, aromatic wines such as Gewurztraminer and expect a delicate burgundy to show at its best just afterwards. Powerful young wines can overwhelm fading old ones.

Wines from very different wine-making traditions can clash, even if the conventions of order are followed. Think of the weight and character of the wine, and reflect that neighbours make good partners: a Sancerre followed by a Chinon; a white Graves, then a Medoc. Grape variety pairings often work well, contrasting wines from the same grape but from different regions, even different continents.

All these "principles" seem no more than practical common sense and so they are. However, what is rarely appreciated is how ephemeral they are. They change over time, and from country to country.

Only 60 years ago, a revolutionary change came over the menus of the Oxford and Cambridge colleges: red wines began to be served with food. Until the 1930s, dinner for the Fellows at Christ's College, Cambridge, involved no fewer than nine courses all washed down with white wine. After dinner the dons settled down with the vintage port, and with a classed-growth claret.

The pattern was an international one: Andre Simon, the French-born writer and gastronome and founder of the International Wine and Food Society, gave a dinner in 1907, the 14 courses of which included lamb and pheasant. The wines were sherry, Mosel and with the game champagne. Then port to finish.

This tradition went back a century, in England at least, with hock and champagne the wines to go with food, and not a red to be seen until the cheese course at earliest, with port and claret to follow. How will the next century regard our food and wine conventions?

 
Wine regions of the world.

History of wine
Choosing Wine
Keeping Wine
Serving Wine
Tasting Wine
Wine and Food
Making of Wine
Maturing Wine
Wine Terminology
Creating A Cellar
Vintages
Facts And Fallacies
Wine Glossary
Media
Reading Wine Label
Wine sellers register now
Log in to your inventory
Search Wine
Our Services
Home