Saturday, August 20, 2011

How To Taste Wine

I thought it would be nice to go over a little method of how to taste wine, this is something we would talk about in an introduction to wine class and it can really help you get more out of your wine experience.

1. The wine glass. To get the more enjoyment out of your wine choose a good wine glass. It should have a tulip shape where the width of the bowl is slightly larger than the rim. Most importantly the glass should be clean. Take it out of the cupboard and smell it, if it smells like the cupboard wash it and let it dry. The glass should have no odor before you use it.

2. The pour, swirl, and sniff. Pour some wine into the glass, filling the bowl no higher than the largest circumference of the glass. Now swirl the wine in order to coat the sides of the glass and to give it some air. I like to swirl counter-clockwise. (There is a super geeky reason for this, if you want to know then ask me next time you're in the store.) Put your nose to the rim of the glass and smell. Pay attention to any immediate impressions that the wine gives you. It could be anything; fruit, earth, spice, herbs, clothing, a handbag, someone in your past, a favorite meal, anything.

3. The sip and swallow. Take a sip and notice the initial taste that you perceive. Sometimes it confirms aromas that you picked up in the nose and sometimes it's very different. Now swallow and continue to pay attention to the flavors and textures as they linger into the finish of the wine. Do you get new sensations that weren't in the nose? Does the wine have nice length? Is it light or heavy? Are the flavors in balance or is there an extreme of acid, tannin, or alcohol? These are all things that you can ponder.

4. Relax and enjoy the wine. See if the wine changes over time after being open. Is your next glass different from the first? If the wine is chilled, see if the flavors change as it warms up. If you are eating food see how the flavors and textures interact. Does the food make the wine disappear or vice versa? Have fun!

Drinking wine is a subjective experience, it's mostly about paying attention and being open to any sensory feelings and thoughts that you get. As you gain more experience you'll start to notice things in common between wines and you'll pick up on the lingo and terminology that you see in wine magazines and hear from wine professionals. With more wines under your belt you will also start to find your personal preferences, and don't be surprised if these change over time.