GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR TASTING WINE:
Place a small amount of wine (3/4 to 1 oz.) in a glass with a bowl that narrows toward the rim. It is not necessary to rinse your glass with water unless you are going from red to white wine. Wine and water don’t get along very well when you taste.
Next, it’s a good idea to neutralize your sense of taste and smell. It’s not a good idea to brush your teeth, gargle or eat sweet or acidic foods an hour before tasting. Also, perfume and cologne create havoc in all kinds of ways since much of the wine tasting experience is influenced by your sense of smell.
THERE ARE FOUR SENSORY EXPERIENCES WHEN WE TASTE WINE: COLOR, AROMA, TASTE AND FINISH.
- Color: The best way to check out a wine’s color is against a white background, with the glass tilted toward its side. Each grape varietal has its own hue, so we can’t compare Pinot Noir with Cabernet Sauvignon. But, for the same varietal, the deepest, darkest color is a good indicator of the richest wine.
- Aroma: It’s important to swirl the wine in your glass to release the aromatics responsible for its wonderful aroma. Don’t be shy about sticking your nose down into the glass for 2 or 3 big sniffs. What do you smell? Fruit, oak, alcohol, acid? Is the aroma simple or complex? Are you eager to taste it?
- Taste: When you take the wine into your mouth, breathe through your nose so both senses come into play. Chew it up like mouthwash, so it assaults your entire palate. Here, balance is the key. Is the fruit, acid, tannin (if it’s red) and sugar (if it’s sweet) in harmony? Do you go “Wow”, I want some more?
- Finish: A wine’s finish is how long it lingers on your palate after you swallow. The longer you taste it, the more “full-bodied” it is. The “legs” on the glass when you swirl are a glimpse at its finish. The thicker and slower they move, the more the wine will coat your palate, and the more full-bodied it is.
So there you have a pretty simple approach to wine tasting. It can be a lot more complicated, but the bottom line is what works for you. Our message at Whistling Duck Vineyards & Winery is don’t make it too hard. It’s supposed to be fun!!!