You may have seen it before, a connoisseur savouring a bottle of wine, while diligently sniffing and swirling it with utter thought as though it may have answers to life’s biggest mysteries. However, after all of that, the connoisseur spits it out as if it’s the foulest tasting thing in the world. If you’ve witnessed this with your own eyes, and wondered what on earth is going on, then you’re in the right place as we’re here to explain what exactly wine tasting is.
Using Your Senses for Wine Tasting
There is so much to learn about wine. Wine tasting is a great way to test 3 of your 5 senses. We’re going to briefly discuss what to look for when it comes to the look, aroma and taste of a wine.
SIGHT – What Does the Wine Look Like?
The colour of a wine often depicts the age of it, and as we all know an aged wine is a fine wine. The darker the wine, the more it has aged. Hold your glass of wine up to your face and look for the clarity and intensity of the colour. If you find your wine having a cloudy-like look, it could very well be unfiltered or faulty.
Give your glass of wine a little swirl. This leaves “legs” running down the side of the glass. What you’ll need to look at is how thick or thin these legs are. This will determine the body of a wine – the thicker the legs, the more full-bodied.
If you are looking for a wine that is delicate and refined, then choose a wine that is more light-bodied, whereas a full-bodied wine is bolder. The legs will also indicate the alcohol levels. There is more alcohol in a wine that collects more droplets on the side of your glass.
SMELL – What Smells Am I Picking Up from The Wine?
A good swirl is imperative for appreciating the full range of aromas in a wine. The wine will release more aroma molecules and the tasting experience will be enhanced if you let it dance in the glass. This is because it’s interacting with oxygen.
To get the aromas of a wine, simply bring your nose over the wine glass’ edge, open your mouth, and take a deep breath in through your nose. Try and see what types of aromas you’re getting. As a beginner to wine tasting, you will be able to pick up generic scents such as floral, or fruity. Once you become more advanced, you will be able to pick up more specific scents such as Rose or peaches.
TASTE – What Flavours Are You Picking Up On Your Palate?
Finally, the part we’ve all been waiting for! However, when it comes to wine tasting, the actual tasting part isn’t as simple as taking a swig and spitting it out again. When taking a sip of wine, it’s important to take a sip along with some air. This ensures the wine gets more oxygenated and releases more aromas.
After this, try to roll the wine over your tongue for a few seconds, and swallow. As you’re swallowing, you need to breathe out of your nose. Now, for the next sip. Take a sip and chew your wine – this allows you to get the wine throughout your entire mouth.
While doing this, you should be picking up both flavour and structure. When it comes to flavour, you can pick up flavours such as specific fruits like blueberries, or perhaps even chocolate. When it comes to the structure of a wine, that simply refers to the sweetest of the wine, the alcohol content, the acidity and finally the Tannin of the wine.
Pairing Foods with Wine Tasting
What can assist in bringing out the flavour of your wine is pairing it with food. When pairing food, it’s important to note that your wine should be more acidic and sweeter than your food. Your wine should also have the same type of flavour as your food.
- Red Wine Pairing: When it comes to red wine, it is often best paired with red meats such as a tender sirloin steak.
- White Wine Pairing: Your white wines more often pair better with your white meats such as chicken or fish.
- Rose Wine Pairing: Rosé has a bit of a broader spectrum so it will depend on the type of rose, but it often goes well with seafood, soft cheeses and flatbreads.
Final Take Away for Wine Tasting & Pairing
By learning and partaking in wine tasting, you broaden your intellectual knowledge about wine itself. Once you fully get into it, you will be able to tell a good wine apart from a bad wine very quickly without even having to taste it.
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Without having needed to be said, you should always ensure you are of the legal drinking age when going for a wine tasting. You should also ensure you are responsible for it by not drinking and driving.