WINE O’CLOCK: It’s hard to get the measure of drinking at home
Pessimists, we are told, always see the glass as half empty; for optimists it is half full. But it seems we are all a bit optimistic when it comes to pouring wine.
A survey has discovered that what most of us regard as an average glass is about 50% bigger than the standard measure you would buy in a pub or restaurant.
For the purposes of this survey – conducted by an insurance company in Britain, for reasons that are not at all clear to me – a glass of wine was set at 125ml. More than half of the participants poured over 150ml and one in seven poured more than 175ml.
When asked to pour 25ml of spirit into a whiskey glass, three -quarters of the participants poured too much and one in six poured more than 50ml.
In Britain, 125ml is regarded as a standard unit of alcohol. Irish health authorities say 100ml is standard and that women should drink no more than 11 of these in a week, 17 for men.
So someone with generous pouring habits is adding three-quarters of a standard measure to every glass they pour.
It would drive you to drink!
If you are going to try this at home, I suggest you do it with your normal wine glass, a measuring jug and water – because wine is too expensive for messing around. I tried it and was rather surprised to find that my measure was a bit on the mean side – generally I poured about 100ml.
My spirit measuring, however, was way out – somewhere between 50ml and 60ml was what I poured in several attempts.
I’ve no doubt that the problem with measuring wine has been exacerbated by the practice in many restaurants of serving it from the bottle in glasses big enough to make a bowl for a couple of goldfish.
Restaurants sell more wine this way, but I can’t understand why people are using these giant glasses in their own homes.
If you want to drink less, use a smaller glass. But not too small. Those tiny glasses that sherry used to be served in are not good for wine in general.
To get the best out of a good wine, half-fill a decent-sized, tulip-shaped glass. Hold it by the stem so your hand does not change the wine’s temperature. Swirl it a little to let in some air, sniff to enjoy the scent, roll it over your tongue and the back of your mouth, then swallow and enjoy.
I usually end this column by recommending some appropriate wines. I can’t think what is appropriate to over-pouring. But I always enjoy a nice, big glass of …
A light bright red with flavour of cherries and other summer fruits. It goes beautifully with charcuterie, duck or pork and is a very pleasant drink on its own.
Blütengarten German Blaufränkisch (€7.86 , Aldi)
We don’t associate Germany with red wines but this is a very nice red from Württemberg. Not unlike the Pinot Noir, but a bit more spicy. Aldi recommends it with confit duck legs.
Ramon Bilbao Lalomba Rioja Rosé (€24.99, Ardkeen Store, Waterford)
Some say the rosé season is over but this beautifully-scented product is a wine for all seasons. Made from the Garnacha grape in Spain’s Rioja region.
Venuglia Pinot Grigio delle Venezie (€14.95 O’Briens)
Over-production had caused the standard of some Pinot Grigio wines to slip but it is fighting back. This one has a nice citrus sharpness and fresh-flower scent. From the Veneto region of north-east Italy.