WINE TASTING 101
Over the last couple of weeks I have share a couple of great Wineries in the Okanagan as well as Wine BC app that recommends wines based on your flavor profile.
Today I decide to switch it up and talk a little about winetasting.
You may be great at drinking wine – but do you know how to taste it? Here are the top tips I have learned on how to properly taste wine and impress your friends in the process.
You have already picked out the wines you want to try so now you’re ready to taste it! Start by making sure you’re out of the way of other odours and that you’ve cleansed your palette – you want to be able to concentrate on the wine at hand.
POUR A GLASS AND TAKE A LOOK
For obvious reasons, it’s always best to look at a wine against a white background in good lighting. Look at the wine from above and think about the colour, brightness and clarity – is your white wine a light, lemony colour or is it more of a honey colour? White wines are obviously never actually white: they range in colours.
Rosés come in a dazzling array of colours, from the palest pink to big, brash cherry-coloured beauties. As a rule of thumb, the paler a rosé, the more delicate it’s likely to taste; the more vibrant the colour the more robust and food-friendly the taste (this is wine so obviously there are loads of exceptions, but you get the idea).
SNIFF, SWIRL AND INHALE
One of the great joys of wine is its smell. Smell is an infinitely more sensitive and complex sense than taste and this is a crucial part wine tasting and is often overlooked.
You’ve probably seen wine drinkers swirling their glass. The reason they do this is to release the volatile compounds (where the real excitement lies) in the wine. Put your nose as far in the glass as you dare and take a good long sniff. Wine is made from fruit so is usually ‘fruity’. It’s fun trying to identify the type of fruit flavours you’re experiencing. Sometimes you can get a sent of spice, depending on the kind of spices and aroma you pick up may indicate which kind of oak barrel has been used for ageing the wine, French oak or American Oak.
TIME TO TASTE
Your taste buds can do things that your nose can’t. They can register sweetness, acidity, bitterness and saltiness and can detect the presence of alcohol. They also register the length of the wine – how long the taste remains or evolves on the palate after swallowing.
Take a small sip and work it around your mouth ensuring you cover all the millions of taste receptors in your mouth. Try to pinpoint flavours and consider texture, particularly in reds.
Now let your tongue do the talking. If the wine is sweet, is it balanced? How does the wine finish? Does the flavour evolve and linger in the mouth after swallowing? Is it short and insipid or long, complex and multi-layered?
Always take a second sip, I feel like you get a good sense of what the wine tastes like with the second sip. Sometimes you get a slightly different flavor the second time around.
Now that you have the basics down you are ready for your next wine tasting.