If you have been invited to a wine tasting and you have no idea what to do, then this article is for you. You will at least know how to look like you know how to taste wine like a pro.
That will get you through just about any wine tasting. Look at the wine as though you are inspecting it for certain qualities, smell the wine as if you can identify specific aromas, and taste the wine as if you could tell a good wine from a bad one.
“I enjoy a glass of wine each night for its health benefits.
The other glasses are for my witty comebacks and my flawless dance moves.”
For those of you who want to do a little more than fake it!
If you don’t have to run out the door immediately to flaut your new-found skills, then you might want to know what it is you are looking for, smelling, and tasting. This information is only slightly deeper, as wine tasting is quite an artform.
Looking straight down into the glass will you the best indication of the color. The color will give you an idea of the variety of grapes used, as well as the density.
Looking through the side of the glass will allow you to assess the clarity of the wine. A cloudy wine could have fermantation problems.
Tilting the glass and looking at the thinned out edge will give you an indication of age. A watery edge suggests a young wine, while a brown edge may be due to an oxidized or old wine.
Advanced: Swirl the glass on a flat surface. If the “legs” run down from the wine, this indicates a wine with a higher alcohol content.
Don’t shove your hooter into the glass. Just gently sit your nose over the glass and take a few quick sniffs.
Bad smells: smell of wet newspaper (the wine has corked), smell of burnt matches (bottled with S02), smell of vinegar (volatile acidity), smell of sweaty saddles (a little is okay but not enough so that it covers other smells).
Good smells: smell of fresh fruit, flowers, leaves, herbs, spices and vegetables.
Other smells: New oak barrels – toast, smoke vanilla, chocolate, espresso, roasted nuts, caramel.
Finally it is time to taste wine. Sip the wine, don’t gulp. Once a little of the wine is in your mouth, suck as though you are pulling it through a straw. This is going to get some air into the wine and release the flavors.
Make sure the taste is balanced, i.e. not too sour, too sugary, too hot, or too bitter.
Do the flavors blend together? Are there lingering and changing flavors?
To spit or not to spit?
Most serious wine tasters always spit out the wine to keep the palate fresh and to stay sober enough to be able to give equal attention to each wine. If you are at an event with only a couple of different types, then it is quite acceptable to swallow.
Want to know more?
What experiences have you had with wine tasting?
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