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Wine tasting

Tasting and service

What bottle to open first?

What bottle should you open first? And what’s the difference between a red, a white and a port? The most important thing to remember is that you need to give each bottle a chance to shine!

Published on October 14, 2020

Do you know what order you should be serving your wine in? It’s all in the degree of body.

Your guests have arrived . . . and they’ve all been kind enough to bring along a bottle of wine to share. As host, you have the rather delicate task of deciding which bottle to open first. Imagine serving a very light, very delicate red, right after having served a full-bodied, robust, woodsy wine. Would it be an error in taste? Or simply a product of circumstance?

Basic order

Start with light, dry whites, and work your way up to whites that are a little more robust. Next, switch over to light reds featuring hints of fruit, then slowly transition to more intense reds, and finish with more robust reds.

Having said this, there is no precise rule when it comes to opening wines. If you’ve planned a specific food-wine pairing for each course, let your guests know and explain to them why you chose each individual wine. However, pairing your dishes with the bottles that your guests bring could be a little trickier.

If you really want to pair with guests’ wines, the number one rule of thumb to keep in mind is: degree of body. Place all the bottles in ascending order, from least to most intense. So go ahead and open them up, taste them and place them in order according to their intensity, or go to to match taste tags to the wines your guests brought. By figuring out which taste tag goes with which bottle, you’ll be able to order your bottles from lightest to most robust.

Tasts tagsTasts tags

When it comes to reds, using the taste tags is pretty simple and a great way to figure out which bottle to open first.

For whites, it’s a little more complicated. Watch out for white wines with the “Fruity and Sweet” tag, as some are best served at the start of the meal, while other slightly sweeter whites are best served with cheese or dessert.

Your best bet is to taste them! You can’t go wrong when you let your taste buds do the deciding…

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