How is the wine service? What are the 5 basic rules of perfect service? Let's find out together!
1. From cellar to table
Bottles of red wines should be brought to the table with care, especially the important and aged ones you should take from the storage cellar with a wine rack. A professional corkscrew, a cloth corkscrew, and a tasting glass are the tools you need to be able to uncork a bottle of wine perfectly.
2/A. Bottle presentation
You have to present the bottle to the LEFT of the CUSTOMER so that he can get a good look at the label. At the same time, in a clear, not very loud voice, say the name of the wine, the cru (if any), the vintage and the producer. Other information about the wine (grape varieties, anecdotes...) you will only give at the customer's request.
2/B. Important bottle presentation
If the bottle of the chosen wine is in the cellar, you pick it up with the wine basket, inserting it with the label clearly in view. You bring it close to the customer carefully, avoiding shaking and vibrations so as not to bring solid particles back into suspension in the wine, which would make decantation more difficult. Then you present the bottle to the customer without removing it from the basket. Given the importance of the wine you can describe it briefly, making some reference to its history and that of the producer, but you must not impose your culture: discretion is one of the main qualities of the perfect sommelier.
3/A. Opening the bottle
If you have brought the bottle to the table in the ice bucket, before starting the opening you must take it out and dry it with the special napkin, which can remain on the bottle as long as it does not cover the label.
- Cut the capsule under the ring (or baga) using the knife of the corkscrew without turning the bottle and without moving it;
- Remove the capsule and place it in the serving apron or on a saucer that you remove from the table;
- Clean the upper part of the bottle neck with the frangine;
- Insert the worm of the corkscrew into the cork without going over the cork to avoid dropping cork particles;
- Place the lever of the corkscrew on the edge of the bottle neck and pull the cork out gently to avoid breaking it;
- When the cork is about to come out, complete the extraction by hand using the baffle and avoid any noise. Do not touch the cap with your hands;
- Smell the cap and place it in the saucer to be left on the table;
- Dry the neck of the bottle with the frangino and proceed with normal service.
3/B. Opening the bottle - sparkling wine
- Remove the top of the capsule;
- Loosen and remove the metal cage;
- Hold the base of the bottle with your right hand and hold the cork between the index finger and thumb of your left hand, rotating the bottle. Tilting the bottle at a 45° angle increases the surface area of the liquid in contact with the air and avoids annoying and inconvenient product spillage;
- Release the cork gently (no bang), sniff it, place it back in the saucer and proceed to serve.
Important and highly evolved red wines sometimes require the decantation to remove sediment that may have formed in the bottle and must be separated to prevent it from ending up in the glass. In addition, the wine must oxygenate and release all the complexity of its aroma.
INSTRUMENTS: crystal decanter, tasting glass, corkscrew, candle and candle holder, matches, frangino and two saucers.
The sommelier moves away from the place of decanting and lights the candle with a match before opening to help disperse the sulphur smell. The bottle is carefully uncorked in the basket, after sniffing the cork to check for defects, he pours a small amount of wine into his glass and does a quick tasting while standing to the side of the customer. If everything is OK, he pours a small quantity of wine into the decanter, screws it in and proceeds to decant. If the wine has defects, the bottle is replaced by apologising to the customer. The sommelier gently removes the bottle from the decanter in a slightly tilted position and supports it from the base. The shoulder of the bottle must be positioned in such a way as to allow the flame to illuminate some sediment. Slowly decant the wine into the decanter, stopping the movement when you see that the sediment is reaching the neck of the bottle. Once the decanting is complete, the clarity must be checked against the light with the aid of the candle, which must be extinguished without blowing on the flame. After rearranging the gueridon, the cork is left in the saucer on the customer's table. Then table service takes place.
In the case of important whites, where decanting only serves to enhance the bouquet, there is no need to use a candle as no sediment will be present.
5. Table Service
- Taste the wine and check that it is free of defects: at the customer's side serve a small quantity in a tasting glass. If the wine is fine proceed with the service, if the wine is not fine apologise and change the bottle;
- Start with the person who ordered the wine, pouring a small amount of wine from the right so that they can taste it;
- If the customer gives the OK, start the service respecting theorder of precedencewith the label always in full view, circling the table in a clockwise direction. After serving all the customers, last serve the wine to the person who ordered it. Never overfill the glass: one bottle is enough for a table of up to 8/10 people.
During service, the bottle must be left on the serving table - the gueridon - with the label facing the customer. If the customer has chosen different wines during the meal, change the glasses each time you change wine. If these still contain wine, you must ask the customer for permission. The last wine glasses left on the table you must collect at coffee time, leaving only the water glasses.