Serving Wine

24. Wine is best enjoyed when served at the proper temperature: 40-45 degrees for sparkling, 40-50 degrees for whites, 50-55 degrees for lighter reds, and 60-65 degrees for full-bodied reds.

25. There are many devices on the market for opening wine bottles, but the best is a corkscrew that has a rounded open spiral and a handle that's easy to grip - the choice of most restaurant servers.

26. Should the cork break when you're opening a bottle, reinsert the corkscrew at an angle, keep the bottle steady, and then pull smoothly and strongly with the corkscrew.

27. Even when you remove a cork perfectly, small cork chips will often remain in the bottle. These are harmless. When they show up in your glass, simply tilt the glass so the chips float toward the rim, and remove them.

28. Most wines do not need to be decanted, but should you encounter one that does, simply pour the entire contents of the bottle into a glass container, let it sit for five minutes, then pour it back in the bottle using a funnel. The wine will be sufficiently aerated and ready to pour into wine glasses. The most likely candidates for decanting: very old wines that have developed sediment in the bottle, and very young wines that need encouragement to "open up" (i.e., reveal their aromas and flavors).

29. The sediment in a bottle won't hurt you, but it's not pleasant in your mouth. Use a coffee filter or cheese cloth when decanting to remove it from the wine.

30. When pouring a glass of wine, end the pour with a twist of the wrist as you pull back the bottle. This will help prevent spillage.

31. Fill a wine glass no more than one-third full. This accommodates swirling the wine without spilling.

32. Most red wines are ready to drink right when they're poured. Exceptions include very old or very young wines, which may need some time to "release" their aromas. To speed the process, vigorously swirl the wine in the glass.

33. If you forgot to put that bottle of white wine in the refrigerator an hour before dinner, it's perfectly okay to stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes; no harm will be done to the wine.

34. When opening a bottle of sparkling wine, untwine the wire, wrap a cloth napkin around the cork, then twist the bottle away from you. This will help prevent the top of the cork from breaking off - and protect you should a "loose" cork dislodge on its own.

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