Wine drinking tips 1-18-2023

As life semi-returns to pre-Covid normal, we return to restaurants and order wine. We have folks over for dinner. We pay attention to things besides vaccinations and masks. Observations, tips.

• At a fancy restaurant, what do you do when the sommelier presents the cork? Easy: Nothing. The cork presentation is a vestige of a world long past. The cork was examined to ensure the wine in the bottle matched the claim on the label. If you wish to save the cork as a memento of your evening, feel free. Otherwise, let it lay.

• You want to set a proper table to impress. You know the basics. Spoon-knives on the right, forks on the left. Where do glasses go? In traditional setting, there are three glasses. Water glass goes on the right above the dinner knife. White wine glass goes further to the right above the soup spoon. The red wine glass goes on the right, centered above the water and white wine glasses. Now you are at your hoity-toity best. By the way, pour good wine and serve a delicious meal and it doesn’t really matter where you place utensils and glasses.

• Fancy wineglass makers will sell you a specific glass for almost every wine you pour. Do you need them to fully appreciate wine? No. You easily can make do with one all-purpose glass—a large white wine glass works well. If you want more, go with a white wine glass, a large red wine glass, and a sparkling wine glass that is not a narrow flute.

• Is there a “correct” way to hold your wine glass? This is not really a Miss Manners issue. It is a best practices suggestion. Hold the wine glass by its stem or its foot rather than cupping the bowl in your hand. When you hold by the bowl, you warm the wine. You also leave fingerprints and oil from your hand on the bowl. Neither of these are good outcomes, but it also is not the end of the world or a klaxon warning of gaucheness if you hold by the bowl. Enjoy the wine any way you wish, but consider the stem or foot hold.

Tasting notes

• Scheid Family Wines VDR Very Dark Red 2020 is deep, dark wine that showcases two grapes rarely used together as sole grapes in a blend—petite sirah and petit verdot. $24-25 Link to my review

• Torre de Oña Finca Martelo Rioja Reserva 2015 is mouth-filling with rich, dark fruits.$33-40. Link to my review

Last round: Where do milkshakes come from? Nervous cows. Wine time.