Guide To Tasting Wine
The basics of tasting wine are relatively simple to learn. Once the fundamentals are mastered, the nuances and details can be enhanced over a lifetime. Like any other skill, tasting wine requires practice, and consistency is probably the most important factor.
One helpful strategy an aspiring wine taster can pursue is tasting with a friend that has superior knowledge. Questions can be addressed, and you will quickly become comfortable with this unnecessarily intimidating subject.
Another important strategy for a beginning wine taster is to taste several wines side-by-side that share at least one common variable. This could be the varietal, style, AVA of origin, or any combination of the three.
Tasting blind will minimize any prior opinions or stereotypes. You may be surprised to discover that less-expensive wines are more pleasing to you.
The Essentials of Tasting Wine
It is imperative that you taste in spotlessly clean glasses. The most common contaminants in unclean glasses are invisible molecules left behind by cleaning products. Even high-end restaurants can be guilty of this faux pas. It is best to thoroughly hand wash glasses with unabrasive soaps and hot water.
It is beneficial, but not necessary to use varietal-specific glasses when tasting wine. Research has shown that the shape of glasses really does make a difference in the sensory experience.
Overview of the Tasting Process
Wine tasting employs much more than just the taste buds, although they are very important. Your palate is a term for how taste buds on your tongue translate particular flavors to your brain. The palate can perceive only four basic flavors: sweetness, sourness, saltiness, and bitterness. Most of the subtle flavor components of wine are actually picked up by one's sense of smell.
Although many of our daily perceptions are unconscious, making a concerted effort to pay attention to several things makes the tasting process more educational and rewarding. Despite the mystique that surrounds many wine "experts", tasting wine can be broken into simple steps. Wine knowledge usually stems from practice and confidence, not any inherent superiority.
Of course, some people have more developed senses than others. An extreme example is Robert Parker, widely regarded as the most influential wine critic in the world. Mr. Parker's tasting ability is derived from his natural ability to be keenly aware of his senses.
It is within the grasp of the vast majority of people to confidently differentiate varietals, styles, flavor profiles, and flaws when tasting wine. Tasting wine requires not only a grasp of your senses, but also the ability to articulate (with the proper vernacular) your thoughts about a particular wine.
Relevance of Sight in Tasting Wine
Your sense of sight will reveal a lot about a particular wine before smelling and tasting it. Immediately after pouring, check to see how clear the wine is. While haziness may simply indicate a full-bodied, unfiltered red wine, in any other style it is usually cause for concern. Wines will often taste the way that they look (an unrefined look may indicate a clumsy, unfocused wine).
Viewing the color of the edge of a wine in a glass will give you an indication of its maturity (or lack thereof). Mature, aged-worthy reds will have a deep crimson, or even brownish look. Too much brown usually means that the wine is past its prime. the rim of a white wine will generally be light yellow in youth, and and progress to an amber color with age.
After your initial visual impressions, swirl the wine in your glass. While this may be tricky at first, you will pick it up quickly. This reveals the "legs". The more wine sticks to the side of a glass, the higher the alcohol content.
The Role of the Sense of Smell During Wine Tasting
As mentioned earlier, many of the subtle "tastes" of wine are actually perceived by your sense of smell. While there are only four perceptible tastes, there are thousands of different scents. Revealingly, sinus congestion will stop even the most experienced and accomplished wine taster in his/her tracks. Smell is perceived through the upper nose as well as through the back of the throat. Molecules of different scents are registed by the olfactory bulb in the sinuses.
Before smelling a wine, swirl the glass again to reveal the aroma. When smelling a wine, attempt to put any familiar aromas into the context of previous tastings. This is the fundamental basis for increasing your knowledge of tasting wine.
After smelling the wine, the majority of registered perceptions occur very quickly. Sense of smell is very delicate and easily overwhelmed. Smelling the same thing repeatedly becomes less and less revelatory in rapid succession. If you do not immediately pick out the array of aromas in a wine, relax for a minute or two, then try again.
The Actual Tasting Begins
After experiencing the aroma of a wine, it is logically time to taste. Swirl the wine once more, and then swallow a small sip. After your initial impression, take a slightly larger sip and make an effort to coat your entire mouth. This is called, "chewing" the wine. Before swallowing, aerate the wine in your mouth. While this makes a slightly strange sound, the enhanced flavors and aromas that are released are more than worth it.
Another important component in the tasting process is touch, or how the wine feels in your mouth. Major variables to be aware of are the body of the wine, serving temperature, and astringency. The body of a wine includes the depth of flavor and alcohol content. If these components are underrepresented, a wine will taste dilluted.
Serving temperature is an important variable that mainly hinges on the varietal(s) that compose a particular wine. A crisp Sauvignon Blanc will taste flat at room temperature, and should be chilled. On the contrary, a well-aged Cabernet Sauvignon will not reveal its true complexity when served too cold. The incorrect serving temperature for a wine will adversely affect both the aroma and flavor.
Astringency is basically a synonym for bitterness, and is caused by excessive or unmellowed tannins. Great red wines often taste astringent in their youth, but develop into opulent masterpieces when mature.
I hope that you believe that proper wine tasting skills are within your reach; because they certainly are. Mankind's ancient enjoyment of wine is largely derived from the fact that our senses, feelings, and preferences are the basic components of what makes us human.
Benjamin Bicais lives in the Napa Valley and is the webmaster of http://www.california-wine-tours-and-accessories.com
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
Bottle bill would lower deposit for wine, spiritsWGMEBottle bill would lower deposit for wine, spirits. by WGME. A bin full of returnables is ready to be sorted Wednesday afternoon at Roopers Beverage & Redemption on Sabattus Street in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal). AA. AUGUSTA (WGME) -- A bill ...
Blue Equity Builds A Dominant Retail Presence In KentuckyShanken News DailyLouisville, Kentucky-based Blue Equity LLC is invested in everything from Mexican resorts to flooring companies to talent management firms representing chefs and TV broadcasters.But chairman Jonathan Blue's great passion lies close to home, where he ...
News Briefs for February 23, 2018Shanken News Dailyâ€˘California's Clos du Bois, part of the Constellation portfolio, has launched Lightly Bubbled RosĂ© and Chardonnay wines. Made from Sonoma-sourced grapes, the new line of frizzante wines will begin rolling out nationwide in March, both retail priced at ...
Craft Brewing and Distilling News for February 23, 2018Shanken News Dailyâ€˘Kentucky's Rabbit Hole Distilling has partnered with Young's Market Co. to expand into California. The partnership will bring Rabbit Hole's whiskies to nine states in all, with California joining Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Illinois, Tennessee, Wisconsin ...
Naples Daily News
Drink Up: Wine, spirits and beer events in NaplesNaples Daily NewsAll day Thursday, Feb. 22, celebrate National Margarita Day with two-for-one margaritas at Felipe's Mexican Taqueria, 4255 U.S. 41 N., Naples. Felipe's hand-made Key lime margaritas are made with fresh-squeezed Key limes, 100 percent blue agave tequila ...
Oregon's A To Z Wineworks Leverages The Pinot BoomShanken News DailyWith Oregon wine volumes now above 3.4 million cases and growing, Pinot Noir remains the star, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the state's vineyard acreage. Among the key labels driving growth is Newberg-based A to Z Wineworks, whose flagship A to ...
Vinexpo Expected To Draw 3000 Attendees At Upcoming New York EventShanken News DailyVinexpo New York is set to launch at Manhattan's Javits Center March 5-6, marking Vinexpo's first U.S.-based event in nearly 15 years. Jointly organized with global media group Diversified Communications, the show will highlight more than 470 producers ...
Craft Brewing and Distilling News for February 22, 2018Shanken News Dailyâ€˘Boston Beer Company has reported a net revenue decline of 4.8%, to roughly $863 million, for its full fiscal 2017, as shipment volume also fell 6.2% to 3.8 million barrels. The craft beer giant was hampered by soft performances from its Samuel Adams ...and more »
News Briefs for February 22, 2018Shanken News Dailyâ€˘Italy's Risata Wines has expanded its lineup with Brachetto d'Acqui, a new sparkling red wine. Made with 100% Brachetto grapes, the new DOCG entry will be available nationwide starting April 1st, priced at $17 a 750-ml. Brachetto d'Acqui joins ...
Rare Varietals Cure Wine Boredom
The future of the Australian wine industry will be shaped by a group of innovative grapegrowers and winemakers who are busily experimenting with new varieties in new regions.The phenomenal success of the industry in producing quality wine at competitive prices does not need recounting here.
Using Cooking Wine
Cooking wine is sort of a holdover from prohibition. People who grew up thinking Alcohol is Evil didn't want to have any in their homes.
The Carignane grape variety is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world. It's popularity stems from the high crop yeilds that it produces as well as the characteristics that it can bring to a wine.
Australia Is More Than Jacobs Creek
The Jacobs Creek Brand of wines have taken the world by storm. And so they should.
Start Your Wine Cellar The Right Way
One of the great joys of wine is to be able to select a bottle from your own cellar, perhaps one that you've been storing for some years, draw the cork and enjoy it with friends. You can marvel at the changes brought on by maturity and, as a bonus, you can brag about the price you paid and congratulate yourself on picking up such a bargain!However, wine is an ever-changing thing and how it is stored will directly affect how quickly and how well it ages!Storing wine is very simple ?It requires a constant temperature, humidity, darkness, stillness and a well-ventilated and clean environment.
Wine Making and Home Brewing: Whats the Deal?
When it comes to making alcoholic beverages at home, wine making and home brewing is considered sort of a 'niche' market. You either know how to do it or you don't! This is very hard to believe as wine making and home brewing has been going on for thousands of years.
Counting Carbs With Wine
The recent health claims that wines have antioxidants in them that may block free radicals, prevent heart disease, cancer, and other conditions associated with aging seems to have some validity. Polyphenol, catechin, and cholesterol-reducing resveratrol are found predominately in red wines in various degrees.
It was once a ritual usually performed by a man. He would put some salt where the bottom of the thumb met his wrist.
How Sparkling Wine is Made
There are three methods that may be used to make sparkling wine. These methods are: the Transfer Method, Charmat Bulk process and Methode Champenoise.
Alchoholism, A Major Diesease?
Alcoholism can be given a lot of definitions and all of them stress the fact that there is a terrible disease that involves addiction to spirits. Apart from the physical dependence on alcohol, there are other psychological, genetic and social factors that may play a role in the development of alcoholism.
The Mystery of Decanting
Decanting is a strange word to many people. Some do not even know what it means exactly.
White Zinfandel Wine
White Zinfandel wine is a blush wine made in California from early-picked Zinfandel grapes. The red grapes are quickly separated from their skins during crushing and fermentation so that the resulting White Zinfandel wine is very light pink; thus White Zinfandel wines have far less color, alcohol and flavors than normally fermented Zinfandels.
Wine and Your Health
During the 1990s, a physician voiced on a national TV show that drinking red wine reduces heart disease. It made all the headlines.
An Introduction to Wine
What is wine?Wine has been made for centuries from just a two simple ingredients: yeast and grape juice. Actually, just about any fruit juice can be used, but by far the majority of all wine is made from the juice of the grape.
Choosing that Perfect Wine for a Dinner Party
So, you find yourself having been invited to a dinner party and decided to bring the host a bottle of wine. But which type of wine should you buy? I am sure you have seen people seemingly bewildered in front of the wine shelves at the local grocery or liquor store.
Hosting A Wine Tasting Party
As your love and knowledge of wine grows, it is inevitable that you will want to share your revelations with friends and family. Hosting a wine tasting party is a great way to do this.
France Car Hire
Here is a quick summary of the different French wine regions you can visit with some idea of what you'll be tasting and the airports where you can conveniently pick up a rental car.Champagne RegionWhat to taste: bubbly, of course! From the twin champagne-making centres of Reims and EmpernayWhich Airport to pick up your Champagne rental car? Paris Charles de Gaulle car hire or Paris Orly Airport car hire.
An Idiots Guide To Wine Tasting
Have you ever seen those stiff upper-lipped types doing a spot of the old wine tasting malarkey? You know the form - sip, swill, spit. Yuck! Well this information has been written to help you understand the form should you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to know what to do.
How to Order Wine in a Restaurant
Ordering wine in a restaurant is not much different than buying it in a wine store. The main difference is that you have an audience.
Red Wine Compound May Extend Life
Good news! A recent study suggested that resveratrol, a red wine compound, may extend our life.The study was conducted on fries and worms to see if resveratrol can extend life in these creatures.