Of course, wine tasting is mostly about fun. Whether driving to wineries on a week-end outing or enjoying some of the gifts of the grape with friends here are a few tips to keep you on track both in tasting and in form.
Limit your bottles or wineries 3 -6, too many and everything becomes a “fog” if not modulated by use of a spittoon – when provided. Let’s start with how to hold the glass. Grasp it by the stem, not the bowl. Grasping the bowl causes smudgy fingerprints that detract from viewing the hue and clarity of the wine. Hands also warm the glass ruining the optimum serving temperature. additionally, holding the stem aids in eliciting that swirling motion which looses the fragrances and aromas… known as “stoking” or aerating the wine. If you’re tasting in a private setting, using large burgundy glasses as opposed to the typical small tasting glass offered in wineries, the delicious heady and wonderfully subtle fragrances will tickle your nose really livening your tasting. Until you get proficient in the art of swirling, start by placing your glass on a flat surface, grasping the stem and swirling.
Inhale deeply from the aroma of the swirled glass before sipping. In a good to excellent wine your nose will pick out special fragrances that marry beautifully with the taste. Be sure to swirl the wine in your mouth. Don’t just swallow. Swirl around from front to back, between your teeth under the tongue… Taste buds reside all over your mouth and they pick up different tastes. By “chewing” and swirling in your mouth you will be surprised at the bountiful tastes and subtle aromas.
Start with white wines and lighter wines working your way to bolder wines or red wines and save sweeter wines for last. This is important since the bolder and sweeter wines will over power your pallet leaving you with only a faint impression of an otherwise delicious lighter wine.