I think it’s time I nailed my technique for tasting wine. It really does make a difference when you have the proper form and you know what you’re looking for. Fortunately, I learned quite a while ago although I didn’t
Now, don’t be jealous, but I was taught how to taste wine in Bordeaux in the summer of 2009. I went on a road trip around France with my parents for about a month. Please note: I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS. We were all ready to kill each other at the end of the trip. You do not want to be trapped in a car with your parents for three weeks straight. We had a lot of issues. No offense mom and dad but, I think there’s a reason we have not gone on a road trip together since.
We were with my best friend’s family as well, who had their own car, and I think it was even worse for them. I don’t know if they even talked civilly to each other for at least a week once they got home.
Hopefully, we’ve all learned from that trip even though there were some deep scars left behind.
Moving on…I can’t remember what winery we were at because we went to so many (woe is me), but it was in the Bordeaux region that the wine makers taught us the proper technique. I remember it so well, too, because my best friend and I were making fun of our parents as it was happening. They were taking it soo seriously and we were getting a kick out of it because our parents are lame.
- Hold your glass up to eye level and tilt it up to a light source so that you can look into the wine. Hopefully, you can see through it, showing the clarity of the wine, its colour, and when you level the glass back down, the residual wine on the side of the glass. When you see the wine draining back down the side of the glass, its “legs” are exposed (Ooh, scandalous!). The legs of the wine give you a clear idea of the alcohol content. The more legs, the higher the alcohol content.
- Now, stick your nose as far into your glass as possible. Not only will you look really cool, you’ll also be able to smell the wine much better. What are the scents that you notice right away? Does anything hit you right off the bat, or are the smells more subtle? To narrow it down, try using your wine aroma wheel.
- Next, hold the stem of your glass and swirl your wine around. This allows air to enter the wine and opens up the bouquet.
- SMELL (AGAIN)
- Now that air has been introduced into your wine glass, it should open the scents you previously experienced. They should be a bit stronger and easier to pinpoint. Use your wine wheel again, maybe you’ll smell something completely different.
- And last, but not least, you actually get to taste the wine! Take a small sip, hold it on your tongue, and suck air slowly through your mouth and over your tongue. See what flavours you’re tasting and compare them to the ones you sensed while smelling the wines. (Side note: my dad always chokes when he does this and starts coughing like a maniac. Don’t let it happen to you )
Using these simple steps should make tastings wine a whole lot easier and more educational. Pretty soon you’ll be exciting your palate as much as I have been!