From the cellar to the table: when’s the right time?
True or false: “Prior to opening a bottle, I should bring it up from the cellar 48 hours in advance, stand it upright and leave it at room temperature?”
Why disturb the precious liquid if it’s stored in the right cellaring conditions? If it’s cellared at 54-57°F, in a dark environment with good humidity levels, you might as well leave your wine in cellaring heaven as long as possible.
Bring your wine up from the cellar no more than three hours prior to serving, and do so by swishing it around as little as possible and by keeping the bottle horizontal, so the sediments don’t disperse.
If you don’t store wine in your home because you don’t have the proper conditions, and instead you tend to buy wine from bottle shops when it’s needed, it’s best to buy it three or four days before opening the bottle, as the precious liquid will need time to settle after transport. In this situation, you can stand the bottle upright, as it will have already been shaken up quite a bit by the time you get it home.
Should I remove the dust from the bottle?
Theoretically, yes. A good sommelier in a restaurant for instance, will never serve a dusty bottle: he would normally give it a gentle swipe with a linen cloth. If you feel that the thin layer of dust adds to the charm of your treasured wines, then make sure you clean the neck thoroughly, so that no dust particles end up in the wine. Ideally though, you would pour an old wine from a decanter, and instead present the bottle on a small cabinet aside the table. For wines which will be chilled before service however, a thorough cleaning is required, as dust and condensation on the bottle don’t make a good match.