Red table wines should be served cool or at room temperature. Room temperature means about 65 to 68 degrees F, so some cooling may be necessary. White table wines, rose wines, and all sparkling wines, both red and white, should be served well chilled. Dry wines should not be served with sweet dishes.
So that corks stay moist and tight, store wines on their side. If the cork is removed an hour or two before serving, red wines will expand a bit and give off a pleasant scent. Smell the cork to see if it is sour-smelling; if so, the wine has started to turn to vinegar and should not be served; it can, however, be kept for cooking.
Many good wines will contain a small amount of sediment. This is harmless and will settle on the bottom of the bottle if it is stood upright for about two hours before serving. When serving champagne, hold the bottle at a slight angle for a few seconds after the cork is removed. This will reduce the amount of frothing and will maintain a maximum amount of sparkle.
Wineglasses should be placed to the right of the water goblet; they are arranged according to their use, the first wine glass being closest to the water goblet. If more than one wine is served, the glasses used first are removed when the course is through.
The person serving should fill his or her own glass one-quarter full and then taste the wine to check the quality and flavor. Then the other glasses should be filled half to three-quarters full, but never to the very top. Wine is poured as soon as a course is served. The person pouring should not lift the glasses from the table.
When more than one wine is served, remember that light wine comes before heavy or full wine, dry white wine precedes sweet red wine, and dry red wine is served before white sweet wine. The correct wine is always the one you like best; however, certain wines complement certain foods. The following wine and food list is a guide to what people generally like. One's own taste should be the final judge.
Canapes, crackers, olives, cheese dips, other hors d'oeurves: sherry, vermouth, or champagne.
Soups: sherry or Madeira.
Seafood: Chablis, Rhine wine, Moselle, dry sauterne, white Burgundy.
Fowl: Rhine wine, dry sauterne, champagne, Bordeaux, white or red Burgundy (with game)
Meats: claret, red Burgundy, rose (with cold cuts).
Cheese or nuts: port, sherry, red Burgundy, muscatel, Zinfandel, Barbera.
Desserts: sweet sauterne, champagne, port, muscatel, Tokay.
After dinner: brandy, Cointreau, Benedictine, creme de menthe.