If you’ve ever been with wine lovers who drop phrases such as “let it breathe” or “slow legs,” you might already know this sluggish, often more pious game.
Once you’ve gotten past all the language, the wine-tasting experience can provide you with a better appreciation of the many types of wines available and, more important, will boost your enjoyment as you sip these wines down.
The experience of drinking wine is similar to listening to music: there are both soft and loud notes, plenty of information to take in, and each person has their taste which is why “good” and “bad” is entirely subjective. Once you’ve figured out your tastes or preferences, you can use that information to discover other wines you appreciate. Like most things, the only method to improve your skills in describing wine is to get used to it. The objective is to build a “wine vocabulary” of your own, as well as a background that you can build upon so that you can be able to compare it with other wines later on. Make sure you are prepared to utilize your senses.
Step 1: Prep Your Setup
While you may be able to locate wine glasses at an estate sale, It’s best to invest a few dollars for a quality set. At a minimum, drinks should be transparent (no multicolored grape designs and green frosting, get it? ). It should be able to examine the wine’s color and be large enough to let you swirl it around without spilling it. Stems are also a great idea, so you don’t heat your wine by placing the glass with your hands.
The color of the wine also helps determine the perfect shape of the glass. The glasses of red wine tend to be taller and feature an extended mouth and bowl. This shape allows flavor and scents to emerge when you swirl the juice in the glass. For white wines, it is essential to minimize the amount of air that enters them, so these glasses are typically slimmer and have smaller mouths.
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If you’re planning wine tastings with several bottles, begin by tasting lighter wines and then work toward heavier wines. If your palate isn’t prepared, it could become exhausted early. Most red wines, especially older (newer) wines, would benefit from decanting. This involves opening the wine before the tasting and pouring them into the container. Decanting helps you sort from the sediment in the bottom of the bottle and can also help to aerate the wine and let the flavor and aroma out.
Cleansing your palate before and during your wine tasting is essential to avoid consuming an enormous Caesar Salad or smoking a cigar before starting. Also, keep a glass of soft fruit, water, and crackers to clean your palate between wine tastings.
Step 2: Visualize It
To assess a wine’s appearance and color, it is essential to examine it against a white background in natural light. This is the reason why transparent glass is crucial. One of the aspects to look out for are the intensity of color, clarity, and hue.
Step 3: Swirl It
The most frequently overlooked step when tasting a drink is the swirl. While the glass is lying flat on the table, grasp the bottom of the stem and then swirl vigorously. You’re trying to enhance the wine. You can also let it aerate to let out more aromas. Do not stir it for more than 5 or 6 seconds; it’s not the time to make a cocktail. Take note of the wine’s viscosity, or “legs.” You can determine the leg’s viscosity by looking for streaks of wine that run across the glass as the wine has been swirled. More extensive wines, which contain higher levels of alcohol or sugar, are likely to have more prominent legs. However, they could be a better indicator of the quality or taste of the wine.
Step 4: Nose It
Don’t be afraid to stick your nose into the wine glass to take a deep breath. The brain can distinguish around 10,000 distinct smells, and therefore, if you put your nose into an alcoholic beverage, you’ve got a job taken care of. Our taste perception is strongly affected by the sense of smell, and nobody else can identically smell an odor. Be aware of this when the person next to you begins commenting on the subtle teriyaki scents and the enticing notes of whatever-berry.
Consider the first scents that pop into your head regardless of how far away you are, and record them. Having a list of wine descriptions is fine, but keep it manageable. Always use your intuition. The standard aroma wheel has fruity, woody, spicy floral, spicy, chemical, and nutty reports. It can take your nose 20 or 30 seconds to recover and reset; therefore, if you decide to take a second sniff, you should wait.
Step 5: Taste It
You’re ready to try the wine after getting some initial impressions. Finally! Please have a quick sniff and then take a tiny sip and move it around your mouth until it covers nearly every area of your tongue. This can also warm and open up the wine and release the flavors. If you’re enjoying a selection of wines and want to ensure that your senses are at the top of their game, you must drink the wine following this procedure. This isn’t fun, indeed? Okay, you can gobble it up.