I hope you haven’t allowed the ‘rituals’ of wine tasting to keep you from exploring many types of wine. Learning about and trying different types of wine can really be a lot of fun. It can be a nice way to spend an evening with friends and family sharing a bottle of wine that you just discovered.
The rituals really do serve a purpose and aren’t that hard once you understand what they are and why wine drinkers do them.
One of the most intimidating rituals is the wine tasting. This might look weird to someone who isn’t that interested in wine but it really can help you to not only get the most satisfaction from your wine, but also to learn how to describe wine so that the next time you want to buy a bottle you will have an easier time conveying what you are looking for.
Wine tasting is made up of 3 major steps. No one expects you to be an expert but you can easily learn enough to follow these steps the next time you are trying some wine.
1) Sight. You are looking for 3 major things: color, intensity and clarity. The wine should be clear and not cloudy. Gently tilt the half full glass of wine away from you. Swirl it. Observe the colors and clarity. Make sure to have a white backdrop such as a table clothe or white wall.
As you learn more there will be specific characteristics you will be looking for but for now just enjoy the richness of the colors and the way the wine swirls around the glass.
2) Smell. Again, gently swirl the glass so that the wine mixes with the air to bring out it’s full aroma. Now, stick your nose in and sniff. Breathe it in deeply. Savor it. Take some time to fully process the smells.
Again, as you gain experience you will be able to describe several layers of aroma and subtle hints of other smells, but for now just stick to the 3 basics: floral, fruity or spicy.
Don’t forget, the sense of smell is very personal. There is no right or wrong. If you think it smells fruity than it smells fruity.
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The reason you want to swirl is because your tongue has taste buds all over it in the front and back. Each set of taste buds will respond to different flavors. So to get the maximum flavor you have to use all of your taste buds and that’s why you swirl.
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