9 Dos of Drinking Wine: A Simple Guide to French Wine “Etiquette”
At somMailier, we realize that “wine etiquette” can sometimes be overwhelming and add an air of snobbery that can make enjoying wine a little bit scary. That should NEVER be the case. Wine is meant to be shared and enjoyed. That’s why we take away some of that apprehension by hand-selecting incredible bottles of wine for you and delivering them right to your door every three months. But what about those intimidating rules? We’ve put together a simple list of our top 9 most important “dos” of drinking wine.
1. Do Know How to Properly Open a Wine Bottle
If you’re reading this blog, you have probably opened more than a couple of wine bottles in your life, but there are some general guidelines that can up your game and make you look more like a pro next time you share a bottle.
If you really want to showcase your amazing taste in wine, make sure to first put the wine bottle down on the table with the label facing your friends. (Hint: You can tell them that you got it from an amazing French wine club called somMailier.) Then, start by removing the foil that is covering the cork. Sommelier knives like the one in the photo have a little knife specifically for this purpose. You know the rest.
Another note worth mentioning is the “proper” way of opening a bottle of Champagne is to do it gently so that it doesn’t make the popping sound. We’re somewhat torn on this. Opening the bottle slowly and silently is said to decrease the bubbles and even change the taste of the Champagne, but there’s also something great about hearing that joyous sound. So, to each their own. Pop or no pop, make sure you open the bottle safely!
2. Do Serve Wines at the Appropriate Temperatures
The temperature of wine affects the taste. For example, a red that is served at too cold of a temperature may seem harsh and bitter, but if it is too warm it might taste unbalanced and dull. Wine serving temperatures can get very specific, but in general here’s what you should remember:
- Red wine should be served at room temperature. Keep in mind, though, that this is the room temperature you would find in the caves in which wine is often aged in, which is slightly cool and damp.
- White wine should be served chilled, but not ice cold. A good policy here is to take the bottle out of the fridge about 20 minutes before serving.
- Champagne should be well chilled, in the low to mid 40 degrees F.
Luckily for our members, the back of each wine bottle includes a label with recommended wine temperatures.
3. Do Avoid Watering Down Your Wine
Trying to get that white wine a little bit colder? Putting the bottle in an ice bucket for a little bit is a good idea, but try to avoid putting ice cubes in your wine glass. This waters down the wine. One exception is when you’re sipping rosé at the pool (rosé a la piscine), which is actually a common summer tradition in the South of France.
4. Do Fill Wine Glasses Up the Appropriate Amount
If you follow somMailier on Facebook or Instagram, you might have seen our Optimism Day post talking about a glass half full. Leaving room in the wine glass helps us to fully experience the wine: see, swirl, sniff, sip, and savor. Pouring your glass half full allows us to tilt the wine glass and swirl the wine around without spilling it. It also leaves room for the aromas to be released.
5. Do Be a Good Host & Fill Others’ Wine Before Yours
If you are the one serving the wine at your gathering, fill up others’ glasses before your own. This simple act shows your generosity as a host.
6. Do Wait for the Host to Offer a Toast
If you are a guest at a gathering where wine is being served, give the host a chance to say a toast before taking your first sip. That way, the host can kick off the evening and everyone can enjoy the first sips of their wine together. If it does not appear that a toast will be said, feel free to start enjoying your wine with the rest of the group.
7. Do Make Eye Contact When Saying Cheers
Spilling salt, walking under a ladder, and upside-down loaves of bread: these are just a few French superstitions. Another superstition you should be aware of is that not making eye contact when saying cheers is considered to be bad luck. In fact, this act supposedly brings on seven years of bad luck! The French aren’t alone in this belief with many other European countries having the same superstition. So, whether you’re saying santé, chin chin, a ta santé, or a la tienne, be sure to make eye contact while clinking glasses.
8. Do Appreciate Each Wine
With all of the work that comes with producing amazing bottles of wine, it is important to appreciate each wine individually and avoid mixing two different wines in your glass. Simply wait until you finish what is in your glass before reaching for a different bottle so you can truly taste each individual wine and all the work that went into it.
9. Do ENJOY
Sit back, relax, enjoy the company of whomever you are sharing the wine with, and savor every sip. Despite any “rules” of etiquette, the most important thing is to enjoy your wine!
somMailier takes the stress out of wine. From shipping incredible wine to your door that has been selected by experts to giving you delicious pairing recommendations to this simple list of 9 Dos of Drinking Wine, we want to give you every resource to bring the experience of a sommelier into your home so you don’t have to worry about anything else!
Want to learn more about French wine? We’re here to help! Why not check out our French wine club? Every three months we send direct to your door three or six bottles of boutique French wines which have been carefully selected by wine experts in France along with detailed information about each wine and food pairing ideas to help you really discover French wine. And as if that wasn’t enough, we also have a wine club gift option for that special wine lover in your life!
P.S. We are pleased to announce that we are offering free shipping on 12-bottle orders within the continental US. We are also offering 50% off shipping of 12-bottle orders to Hawaii. Mix and match your favorites from our wine cellar, or stock up with 12 bottles of your favorite.