Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Proper Wine Service for a Formal Ten-Course Dinner

The following is excerpted from "Dinners and Luncheons, NOVEL SUGGESTIONS FOR SOCIAL OCCASIONS", Compiled by Paul Pierce, Editor and Publisher of What To Eat, the National Food Magazine; Superintendent of Food Exhibits at the St. Louis World's Fair; and Honorary Commissioner of Foods at the Jamestown Exposition; 1909. It contains a detailed description of proper wine serving thoughout a very formal ten-course dinner! How very luxurious this seems today...

If only two kinds of wine are served, sherry should accompany the soup and fish courses, and either claret or champagne brought on with the roast, and served throughout the remainder of the dinner.

For the ten course dinner, cut glass goblets filled with water and crushed ice are placed at the right of each plate, about ten or twelve inches from the edge of the table. With these are grouped sauterne, sherry, rhinewine, claret, champagne, burgundy and liqueur glasses. The goblet of water remains in place throughout the dinner, being refilled at intervals.

First Course. With the oysters, a glass of sauterne is the most appropriate accompaniment. This should be served in light green glasses, poured from native bottles, which have been cooled to 52 degrees Fahrenheit, but never iced. When the oyster plates are taken away, the sauterne glasses should also be removed.

Second Course. With the soup, sherry, slightly cooled, should be served from a decanter, and poured into small white stem glasses, flaring slightly at the top. The sherry glasses should be removed after this course.

Third Course. With the hors d'oeuvres, which may consist of cold side dishes, such as canap├ęs, caviar, or anchovies, or of hot dishes, such as timbales, croustades or bouchees; and

Fourth Course. Of fish, rhine wine is served from original bottles cooled to 52 degrees, and poured into long stemmed, light green glasses.

Fifth Course. With the entree, claret is served from a decanter having a handle and poured into pure white glasses, never colored. The temperature of the claret should be from 65 to 75 degrees, at least thirteen degrees warmer than other wines.

Sixth Course. With the roast, champagne is served from native bottles, as cold as possible, but not iced. The usual champagne glasses are saucer-shaped stem glasses, although some prefer a goblet shape, one size larger than a claret glass.

Seventh Course. A sherbet. With this cooling refreshment, regular sherbet glasses (small glass cups with handles) are necessary.

Eighth Course. Game with salad should be accompanied with burgundy, slightly warm, at 65 or 70 degrees, served from native bottles in wicker basket, poured into plain crystal glasses. After the eighth course the table is cleared for the first time of all plates, knives and forks, leaving only the water goblets, champagne and liqueur glasses before the guests. All crumbs are carefully swept away, and dessert spoons and forks laid for the

Ninth Course. With this course champagne is the favorite beverage in every country. After the dessert plates, forks and spoons are removed, a finger-bowl partly filled with water is placed before each guest, on plate having upon it a doily, a fruit knife and a nut pick (if fruits and nuts are to be served). After the fruits, cognac and liqueurs, such as annisette, benedictine, chartreuse or kummel, are served in miniature decanters, without handles, and poured into tiny thimble-shaped glasses, which should match the decanters, either plain or colored, cut or in striking gold effects. Creme de menthe is served on shaved ice in a special bowl-shaped glass, from a highly decorated small decanter either of white or colored glass without a handle.

Sherry, port and madeira are improved by being decantered several hours before using. In winter, the decanters should be dipped in warm water or otherwise warmed.

All possible care should be taken in handling and decanting wines in order not to disturb the deposit which may exist in the bottle. Nearly all wines precipitate a sediment which sometimes resembles sand or white crystals. Its presence is rather a mark of superiority than inferiority in the quality of the wine. This deposit, however, if shaken, destroys the brilliancy of the wine, and impairs its flavor and bouquet.

Lighter wines, such as bordeaux and most Italian wines, should be decanted only an hour before dinner,and brought into the dining room as late as possible before using. Sauterne, rhine wine, burgundy and champagne should be served from the original bottles, which should be stood up on end at least twenty-four hours before serving, to give the sediment time to settle at the bottom. The cork should be very carefully drawn without shaking the bottle, the bottle slowly tilted, and the clear wine gently poured out. A small quantity of wine containing the sediment should be left in the bottle. Putting ice in the wine glass will spoil the flavor of any fine wine.

A few drops of wine should first be poured into the host's glass, before serving the guests. If a toast to the health of any one present be proposed, the guest in whose honor the toast is given, must not drink, but should acknowledge the compliment with a smile and bow of thanks. The etiquette in regard to the German custom of clinking glasses is very well defined. One must hold the wine glass by the stem, being careful not to touch the bowl with the fingers. Convention also requires that one must look the person with whom one clinks glasses in the eye, and not at the wine, as one unfamiliar with this custom is very apt to do.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Vintage Light Summer Wine Cocktails

Wine Cocktails
The following is excerpted from "The Pacific Wine and Spirit Review", November 30, 1900 and is a nice set of old ideas for some light cocktails using wine.

In hot weather it is not good to drink too much of anything, but the drinks suggested here, if moderately used, will surely be beneficial, and they may be taken by even ladies of the very finest fiber. A Claret or Rhine wine rickey, Rhine wine high-ball, claret high-ball, rye high-ball made with cider instead of carbonic water, and a Rhine wine punch made with the juice of a lime are all delicious.

Claret Rickey
To make a claret rickey, squeeze the juice of half a lime into a high-ball glass; add a lump of ice and a wineglass of claret; fill with carbonic water and stir well. Be sure to instruct the mixer to be sure to wash the limes or lemons before using them for rickeys or sours.

Rhine Wine Rickey
A Rhine wine rickey is made in the same way, only Rhine wine is used instead of claret.

Rhine Wine High-Ball
To make a Rhine wine high-ball, add a lump of ice to a glass of wine and fill with carbonic water and stir thoroughly.

Brandy Frappe
A brandy and Benedictine frappe is made in a cocktail glass filled with shaved ice. Add half a liquor glass of Benedictine and the same of good brandy. Sip it through a short straw.

Burgundy and Strawberries
Another drink that will be found extremely delicious, for ladies especially, is made as follows: Take as many goblets as there are guests and crush in each five strawberries (I am a great believer in crushed strawberry; it gives, when well done, a delicious flavor to a drink), add a lump of ice, then half fill with burgundy and the balance with apollinaris or white rock; stir well. The juice of a lime in a glassful of equal parts of champagne and claret, with a piece of ice, is also very palatable.

Claret and Rum Punch
For the man of moderate means, who likes to entertain his friends in hot weather at his country cottage, the following will be found a refreshing mixture. Melt a half pound of loaf sugar in a pint of warm water, pour it into a bowl or other vessel, add one gallon of good California claret and one pint of Jamaica rum, one square piece of ice, sliced oranges, lemons, pineapple and mint, then spray in three syphons of carbonic and stir well.

One can entertain a company of ten a whole evening on this beverage for about two dollars. Be sure, though, to buy claret from some dealer of established reputation.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Wines of Tenerife, 1699

The following is excerpted from "A Voyage to New Holland Etc.", 1729, by Captain William Dampier, Third Edition. The book describes "The Canary Islands, the Isles of Mayo and St. Jago." amongst other topics. This section on Malmsey and Verdona wine from the island of Tenerife (today a popular holiday destination) is particularly interesting.

The true malmsey wine grows in this island; and this here is said to be the best of its kind in the world. Here is also canary wine, and verdona, or green wine. The canary grows chiefly on the west side of the island; and therefore is commonly sent to Oratavia; which being the chief seaport for trade in the island, the principal English merchants reside there, with their consul; because we have a great trade for this wine.

I was told that that town is bigger than Laguna; that it has but one church, but many convents: that the port is but ordinary at best and is very bad when the north-west winds blow. These norwesters give notice of their coming by a great sea that tumbles in on the shore for some time before they come, and by a black sky in the north-west. Upon these signs ships either get up their anchors, or slip their cables and put to sea, and ply off and on till the weather is over. Sometimes they are forced to do so 2 or 3 times before they can take in their lading; which it is hard to do here in the fairest weather: and for fresh water they send, as I have said, to Santa Cruz.

Verdona is green, strong-bodied wine, harsher and sharper than canary. It is not so much esteemed in Europe, but is exported to the West Indies, and will keep best in hot countries; for which reason I touched here to take in some of it for my voyage. This sort of wine is made chiefly on the east side of the island, and shipped off at Santa Cruz.