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Traditional Wine Serving Rules

We all know that wines are meant to be paired with certain foods (although it never hurts to mix it up a little). However, what about pairing wines with wines? When should you drink which wine? Does it matter the order you choose to drink your wines in? Traditionalists would say yes and below is a closer look at the rules professional sommeliers live by.

Light to Full

It may seem like common sense but going through your wines from light-bodied to full-bodied throughout a meal is always recommended. Serving a range of wines at a dinner party requires real planning and so placing those delicate flavours first is always recommended. A full-bodied and powerful Bordeaux served before a light Pinot will simply ruin the enjoyment of the second wine.

White, Rose, Red

Light-bodied wines come first so white wines must come before reds and roses are best served in between the too. This allows for the acidity and fresh fruit flavours of whites and roses to be enjoyed on a clear and clean palate. If you’re considering a red before white, keep it light such as a Beaujolais.

Start Young

Wines make-up considerably changes as they age. The flavours become smoother and their aromas change too. Red wines gain rich tobacco and leather-like flavours while whites start to develop those sweeter, dried fruit notes. Trying these flavours before a fresh young white wine would simply stop the enjoyment of the second wine and remove the chance to enjoy both sets of flavours. Older wines should be saved for later in the evening.

Acid then Sweetness

Again, a very obvious rule but one which must never be broken! Sweet and fortified wines are designed for the end of the meal, they’re not called dessert wines for no reason. The residual sugar in these wines will kill off the flavours of any younger, non-fortified wine, removing its tannins and acidity.

Planning a traditional dinner party, wines and all, is certainly achievable with a little effort and planning. You can easily buy wine online to suit every course of your meal and wow your guests with a dinner party which allows for great food and perfectly paired wines.

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Who puts the Bubbles in Bubbly?

Champagne remains the most enjoyed and beloved of all sparkling wines, but many people want to know exactly how it is made. As the most famous wine on the planet, it certainly deserves attention and below we’re looking closely at champagne, its make-up and how those bubbles are formed.

Champagne is a very specific type of sparkling wine. It has to be produced in the region of Champagne and it has to fall within the very strict appellation guidelines to truly be classed as Champagne.

Only three grapes are allowed to be used in the making of Champagne. They are:

  • The white grape Chardonnay which adds freshness, acidity as well as fresh flower and fruit aromas and flavours.

  • The red grape Pinot Meunier which adds fruit aromas and helps bring balance to the wine.

  • The red grape Pinot Noir which adds structure, power, body and red fruit flavours to the wine

Most Champagnes will include a blend of these three grapes but it is not essential all three included. A 100% Chardonnay Champagne is known as a Blanc de Blancs and has a remarkably fresh and fruit-enriched flavour. A red grape Champagne, using 100% Pinot Noir or a mix of the two red grapes, is known as Blanc de Noirs. These wines have a richer and more densely structured.

Where do the Bubbles Really Come From?

The unique winemaking process which creates Champagne also creates those much-loved bubbles. The first few steps of creating Champagne are the same as still wine but then some syrup, made up of a combination of sugar and yeasts, is added into each bottle. The yeasts then consume the sugars which produce the alcohol and also carbon dioxide. This process is essentially a second fermentation and the carbon dioxide is trapped within the wine. When the bottle is opened, it is released and the bubbles can be enjoyed!

Of course, newer and less prestigious sparkling wines are popular on the market, but nothing quite takes the place of a classic Champagne.