Responsible for more than 350,000 bottles of wine – the largest hotel collection of its kind in the world – it’s fair to say the sommelier team at Monaco’s Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo know a thing or two about sipping, cellaring and savouring.
What steps should you take when tasting a new bottle?
First, bring the wine to the right temperature: 10 to 12 degrees for whites, and 17 to 19 degrees for reds. Open the bottle about 30 minutes before serving: this will give it time to aerate, which is good for most wines. If it’s a big white or a red, using a decanter is a good option. But be careful – older wines don’t handle rebottling very well, so if you use a decanter, you’re drinking the whole thing!
How do you choose the right wine glass?
Ideally, the bowl shouldn’t be too big – 20 centilitres is good. A big glass can go well with a young wine, which can handle lots of aeration, but it may wear out an older wine.
What does the ideal wine cellar look like?
It’s a highly person choice. If nothing else, you can stick to the following breakdown: 20 per cent champagnes, 30 per cent whites and 50 per cent reds. The rest is up to you! It also depends on what your goal is. If the idea is to keep the bottles for more than 20 years, you’ll want to go with grand crus. Otherwise, most wines on the market can keep for up to 10 years.
What makes a good cellar, in terms of temperature and humidity?
You should be aiming for 13 to 15 degrees and at least 70 per cent humidity. If you have an underground cellar, one that is naturally cool and humid, then that’s perfect. Otherwise, there are air conditioners made specially for wine cellars, which will allow you to achieve an ideal, self-regulating atmosphere. You should also make sure that there isn’t too much vibration.
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Lead image: The hotel’s wine collection is the largest of its kind in the world © Monte Carlo Société des Bains de Mer