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In what order should wines be served during a meal?

When planning a meal, we often ask ourselves in what order the wines should be served. What is the appropriate moment to drink a particular wine? There are a few basic guidelines, but the important thing is to make sure that the pairing makes sense and to enjoy it. Bestheim helps you to get a clearer picture, and decide which wines to take out of your cellar.

 ORDER FOR DRINKING WINES: BASIC RULES FOR SERVING WINES

In general, it is customary to observe the following conventions.

ORGANISE SERVICE BY THE COLOUR OF THE WINES

Start with bubbles (with a sparkling wine like Crémant d’Alsace or Champagne), white wines and/or rosés, then red wines and finally, round off with sweet and dessert wines.

START YOUR MEAL WITH LIGHTER WINES BEFORE SERVING MORE POWERFUL ONES

Don’t serve a powerful wine before a lighter one, as the tannins of the first one would pervade the palate and neutralise the fruitier aromas of the second.

DRINK DRY WINES BEFORE SWEET WINES

As with the more powerful wines, it is preferable to keep the sweeter wines for the end. Sweet wines (amongst the Alsace white wines: Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, etc.) often have greater body and character, which would risk saturating the taste buds before drinking a dryer wine (amongst the Alsace varieties: Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, and Riesling).

FROM THE “SIMPLEST” WINES TO THE MOST COMPLEX

Opt for finesse by building up to a crescendo and keeping the most complex wines for the second part of the meal.

SERVE YOUNGER WINES BEFORE OLDER ONES

Although there is room for discussion… It is undoubtedly difficult to return to the vibrant fruit of a young wine after tasting the sophisticated flavours of an aged wine. However, if you drink young, fruity and intense wines followed by mature wines at their peak, you will soon notice that the last wine tasted seems tired in comparison.

 SERVING ORDER FOR WINE: TURN CONVENTION ON ITS HEAD!

Sparkling wines like Crémant d’Alsace are not necessarily reserved for an aperitif before the meal. With their delicate bubbles and acidity, these wines refresh the palate. Sparkling wines are therefore a perfect choice for breaking the rhythm after white or sweet wines, particularly with foie gras!

Don’t hesitate to change the serving order and offer a red wine with the starter, if it’s an excellent accompaniment for the dish. There are various ways to cleanse your palate before continuing with the meal, for example drinking a large glass of water or eating a mouthful of bread. It’s important to consider food and wine pairing for each part of your meal, rather than just the order in which the wines should be served.

Never forget that your enjoyment is what counts, so give free rein to your tastes and don’t be afraid of experimenting and surprising your guests!

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Gewurztraminer
AOC Alsace
Extra Brut
AOC Crémant d'Alsace