Instructions for the services of wines
Denoting the order in which they should be drunk at the dinner-table.
The judicious service of wines at the dinner-table is essential to the complete success of a well-ordered and recherche dinner; for on the manner and order in which this service is conducted will chiefly depend the more or less favourable judgment awarded (independently of their real claims to superiority) to the wines put before the guests.
First, let it be remembered that all possible care should be taken in removing the bottles from their bins, and afterwards also, in handling them for the purpose of drawing the corks, and decanting the wines, not to disturb any deposit that may exist in the bottles, for that deposit, if shaken, destroys not only the brilliancy of the wine, but also impairs its flavour and bouquet.
The different kinds of Sherries, Ports, Madeira, and all Spanish and Portuguese wines in general, are the better for having been decanted several hours before being drunk. During winter their aroma is improved by the temperature of the dining-room acting upon their volatile properties for an hour or so before dinner-time.
By paying due attention to this part of the process, all the mellowness which good wines acquire by age, predominates to the delight of the epicure's grateful palate. The lighter wines, such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, and most of the wines of Italy, should be most carefully handled, and decanted an hour only before dinner- ...