Jonathan Ray Jonathan Ray

Struggling to serve wine in the right order

The key to working out the best order in which to serve one’s wines is to mix it up a bit discovers Jonathan Ray.

There were five of us to dinner last night at a BYO-friendly club in London and each of us had brought one or two fine bottles to knock back and bang on about. (And five, incidentally, is the perfect number for such a dinner as you get one hearty glass each out of every bottle.) The trouble was that none of us could agree on the best order in which to serve the stuff, not least because we had all ordered something different to eat.

And it had all seemed so obvious at the beginning. I had brought some fine fizz and between them the others had brought a magnum of Provencal rosé, a German Riesling, a claret, a Rhône, a New World Pinot Noir and a Sauternes. I had naturally imagined that in the normal course of things it would be fizz first as an aperitif, then Riesling with the starters, then maybe a palate-cleansing rosé, followed by a mishmash of Pinot, claret and Rhône with the mains and cheese before ending up with the Sauternes alongside the pudding.

But oh no. Gather five wine bores together and each will have his or her opinion on just about every possible vinous topic and especially the best order in which to serve the vino. We argued for ages, so long in fact that it was only the threat of a dry evening that prompted us finally to ignore our differences and come to some sort of decision.

(And BTW, just what is the collective noun for a group of wine bores?  The best we could come up with was a bunch of wine bores – geddit? – or a pontification of wine bores or a slurring of wine bores.

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