Serving Order for Wine
When you’re doing things up right for your guests, with an intricate menu and carefully chosen cocktails and wine, sometimes you’ll end up serving a number of different types and styles of wine in one evening.
So then the question is, when serving several wines through the evening, in what order should they be served?
In general, wines should be served in ascending order, from light to strong. Here are some basic guidelines:
Dry before Sweet
A sweet wine has a long aftertaste. Dry wines that are enjoyed following
sweet ones have a tendency to taste bland and sour.
Light before Full
Full-bodied, full-flavored wines will tend to cancel out the flavors of more delicate wines. A light, dry rosé will be enjoyed much more if served before a big Montrachet than after it. And in the same way, a Pinot Noir will be more enjoyable before a Cabernet Sauvignon than after.
White before Red
Perhaps the most common mistake made in serving order is to give this rule the highest priority. It’s better to keep the off-dry and sweeter white wines for later (remember dry before sweet), after the dry reds, or be certain to serve sorbet or a similar palate cleanser in between different wine types.
Old before Young
This rule goes against the common wine wisdom that is based on saving the best, the most complex wine, for last. Young wines are simpler, but also generally fruitier, more intense, crisper and more tannic than older wines – this can mean they overpower them. Give maturity the first chance, to be appreciated for complexity, grace, elegance, softness and length. Then enjoy the vigor and excitement of the younger varieties at the end of the evening.