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How much do you actually know about wine?

Wine is one of life’s simple pleasures. With so many varieties, it’s impossible not to find a type you love. Do you consider yourself a wine aficionado? How much do you know about wine?

We have asked our EHL wine experts (Davide Dargenio, Chef sommelier at EHL's gastronomic restaurant Berceau des Sens & René Roger, Professor of Oenology, Wine Consultant, honored as professor of the year 2016/17) some rather unexpected questions. Can you answer them yourself?

Should you put ice cubes in wine?

Davide Dargenio: You shouldn’t put ice cubes in the wine. If you do, they will probably melt and you will end up with water in your wine. However, if the guests ask for it, you should bring it to them.

Why is there different glass for each type of wine?

René Roger: There are different shapes of glasses in order to help the wine express itself. Each glass is made specifically for the type of grapes used for the wine.

Why should you hold the wine glass by the stem?

Davide Dargenio: I have learnt this in France. By holding the glass wine by the stem, you avoid warming up your wine when you swirl it.

This is the most important reason to hold the glass by the stem, but there are other reasons that may interest you.

Why should you not overfill a wine glass?

René Roger: With a proper glass, you should respect the filling limit. Doing so allows to aerate the wine, to swirl it and bringing more oxygen into it. If the glass is too full, you won’t be able to do this.

Why should you swirl your wine glass?

Davide Dargenio: Swirling your glass of wine allows the aromas to open up. However, you shouldn’t overdo it. After two swirls, you won’t feel any aroma.

Here’s how you should swirl you glass of wine.

Why shouldn’t one store wine standing up?

René Roger: If you keep your wine upright, your cork will dry out. This way, the vapours coming from the alcohol will dry out the bottom part of the cork, which will shrink. If the cork shrinks, air will get into the bottle and your wine will oxidize too fast.

Why should you pop the champagne cork?

Davide Dargenio: In a restaurant, everyone needs to hear when you open the first bottle of champagne. It has a psychological effect: by hearing a champagne bottle, other guests will think about drinking a glass of it. However, you should only pop the first bottle. For the following ones you should slowly twist the cork and pull it off to make as little noise as possible.

Why do we see people smelling the cork?

René Roger: That’s because of the disease that touches the cork. When you say “the wine is corked”, it means that the cork has, unfortunately, given its taste to the wine. You should be careful about this situation as smelling the cork may not be enough to realize the wine is corked, sometimes you also have to taste it.

Is it ok to cook with cheap wine?

Davide Dargenio: Many chefs use expensive wines to cook sauces. Not surprisingly, the better the wine, the better the sauce will be. “I know many chefs who use corked wine to make the sauce, so it depends, but for me you shouldn’t use a wine that is too cheap”

While cooking, is it ok to replace water by wine in a recipe?

Davide Dargenio: Yes, you can. Instead of the classic bouillon, you can use wine. You can even add some spices or butter to the make the sauce a bit deeper.

Want to try something even classier? Check out these recipes you can make with champagne.

Have a passion for Food? What can I do with a Culinary Arts Degree from a top Swiss School?