Saturday, December 5, 2020

Lockdown diaries day thirty-seven, Advent day five, wine etiquette

French Village Lockdown Diaries day thirty-seven French Trivia Advent calendar day five
JP Chenet Sauvignon Blanc and a Biere Blonde

Day thirty-seven, Saturday 5th December 2020


Advent day five

We awoke to sun and a dull list of household chores that had been neglected for too long. Maybe one day I will remember to spend the damp days doing things like cleaning the bathrooms, dusting and hoovering, rather than leaving them until the sun returns, especially as it only made a brief appearance today. As we paused to enjoy a chestnut and cauliflower soup for lunch, we’d ticked off seven things but added on at least that number again. By this evening we should have cleared about seventeen, with about seven left to roll over to tomorrow, so not too bad. We also spent a good few hours looking back on this year’s photos, filling our minds with sunshine, cycling adventures and fun with Ed, Pearl and our friends. It might have been a mixed-up year, but we’ve been very lucky to get away and made some great memories. Maybe I need to add ‘plan the next trip’ onto the to do list. 


Our boozy advent calendar offerings today are a beer blanche for Adrian, which he’ll enjoy (although probably not as much as yesterday’s IPA) after his cycle session this evening. I have my second white, a JP Chenet Sauvignon Blanc, which will be perfectly chilled to go with the pizza’s tonight.


French Village Lockdown Diaries day thirty-seven French Trivia Advent calendar day five
From a wine cave in Bordeaux

France Trivia advent calendar, day five, wine etiquette

Once again, I have turned to the pages of my Larousse A la Française !, guide to everything French, for my petits morceaux (little pieces) of trivia and as my wine consumption has increased this month, reading up on wine etiquette seemed a good idea. Please note, however, that the bottle sizes in my advent calendar are only 185ml, so no need to panic, Mum.


Did you know that a bottle of Champagne that is too cold will have lost some of its flavour? Or that a correctly chilled one is easier to open (without the cork flying off) than one not cold enough? The use of a fluted glass when serving sparkling wine, gives the advantage of keeping the bubbles in the glass for longer.


As a general rule, only Champagnes and sparkling wines (vins mousseux) should be opened at the table, in front of your guests. Red wine should be opened around half an hour before serving, to allow the flavours to develop. White wine must never be opened for longer than ten minutes before serving, and always kept chilled in an ice bucket.


Decanting your wine should only be necessary if it has lain for a long time in your cave or cellar. In this case, pour into a decanter and leave, without a cover, for at least half an hour.


How many wines should you serve with a meal? If it is just a meal with close friends, one wine should be fine. If you (or your caviste (wine seller)) have selected a number of wines to accompany different courses they need to be served to ensure you don’t regret the one you’ve just drunk or destroy the next one. For example, serve a young wine before an aged one, a light one before a heavy one and a simple one before a complex one. Only fill the wine glasses to a maximum of two-thirds full, but never let your guests’ glasses remain empty – quelle horreur (how awful).



  1. I love this and am sharing this link with our "Cork Poppers" group. We haven't had a tasting at all in 2020 (quelle horreur!) but hopefully will have at least one or two before 2021 ends!

    1. Thanks for sharing. And I really hope you can get back to meeting up and toasting each other's good health very soon xxx


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