Choosing when to serve your best wine

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winedrinkingindian.jpgWe’ve all had those panic attacks. You’re about to have a dozen friends over for dinner and things have begun to go wrong. The chicken tikkas that you ordered haven’t been delivered, you’ve discovered that you don’t have enough ice and your dessert is suddenly looking weary. When this happens the last thing you want to do is think about when to serve your best wine. Here are some tips from Shiv Singh.


As a general rule, I’ve always served my best wine at the start of an evening. Having had too many a dinner party with guests showing up extremely late (they are as I am Indian after all!), I decided to take a drastic measure. I announced to all my friends that at every dinner party I host, the best wines will be served at the start of the evening to induce everyone to come on time. It has had mixed results, some pay attention and now show up promptly while others have ended up bringing better bottles of wines themselves and still showing up late! But incentives aside what is the right time to serve your best wine?
There are two answers to this question. The first is about the wine style. It is always better to go from your lighter wines with their more nuanced flavors and then steadily build to the heavier Super Tuscans and Napa Valley Reds. That way the lighter wines get their moment in the limelight before your palate is numbed by the heavier wines. Along similar lines, it is also useful to go from dry to sweet as the dry wines will taste funny after a sweet one.
The other answer is about common sense. At the start of the evening, the senses are strongest. Your guests are fresh and you don’t have alcohol in their system. They haven’t begun nibbling on all the heavy snacks that may numb their taste buds as the evening progresses and nor have they gotten themselves into deeply engrossing conversations. It is a perfect time for them to appreciate a fine wine and remember it too. It makes common sense to serve your best wine at the start of the evening. And who knows, it may encourage more of your guests to show up on time!

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