Sniff, Sip, and Slurp – The Joys of Wine Tasting
Written by Rick on August 30, 2013
Wine experts always come up with the most enticing descriptions during wine tasting. They go on and on about hints of this and nuances of that, and after reading their wine critiques we all clamor for the wine that got impressive ratings from expert wine tasters. Then we suddenly get the urge to be an expert wine connoisseur. But no matter how passionately you play the role, in the end you will realize that you actually need to learn how to be a great wine tasting expert, you will need to educate yourself.
But where do you start?!
What are the tools needed to make the most out of every wine tasting experience you have? In this article, we will enumerate all the things that an amateur wine taster should know in order to reap the fun and the satisfaction that wine tasting is known to offer enthusiasts.
True Passion for Wine
Before venturing into the famous vineyards of California, France, and Italy, ask yourself if you are committed to the craft of wine tasting. Being a wine taster takes time and money. I mean, imagine all the hours you have to spend learning terminologies and getting familiar with the science of winemaking. You might also have to invest a lot of time on traveling to different regions of the country or even fly to popular overseas destinations.
Wine tasting is not the snobby activity that everybody assumes it to be, but it would really help if you have/save up enough money and get ready to spend, that is, if you want to delight your tastebuds with wines from all over the world, and what wine taster doesn’t want to do that?!
If you are traveling the world searching for good wine to taste, you don’t want to find yourself at a loss for words or money. Its more fun when you know what you are doing and when you can afford to taste any wine you want. But remember, when it comes to tasting the best wines, how much you spend won’t directly translate to more satisfaction, the more educated you are about wine, the more satisfied you will be with your wine tasting abilities.
Sharpen your Wine Tasting Skills
Beginners need to remember that wine tasting involves these four crucial activities:
Of course, you will need to use all of your senses when tasting wine. The sense of taste and smell are known to be very important, as it is through taste and smell that you will form your main criteria when judging between wines.
Beginners, don’t torture yourselves by memorizing all the words that experts commonly use when tasting wine. I mean, if you are into that, go ahead, but most people just do not want to waste a lot of time thinking about which exact term perfectly fits their observation. Use any word that you think perfectly describes the taste, aroma, texture, and feel of the wine. Remember that wine tasting is a subjective experience. So it is absolutely appropriate for you to simply describe your wine tasting experience with the first words that pop out of your head.
Comparing wine may be difficult for first time wine tasters or those who have not had the opportunity of experiencing a wide verity of wine varietals and vintages. Wine tasting comparison analysis will become natural for you as soon as your experience in wine tasting becomes more extensive over time.
Judging wine quality is highly subjective. What that tastes excellent for a sommelier may be disapproving to your palate. This doesn’t mean that you have bad taste though! Do not be discouraged if your observations are far different from everyone else. The differences in perception and opinion alone are more than enough to make wine tasting a very challenging and highly enjoyable activity for beginners and experts alike.
Be Consistent with your Wine Tasting Methods
The steps in tasting wine are simple and repetitive. This is most true when you are about to go into wine flights and wine tastings. To guarantee efficiency and accuracy, you will need to perform the steps in chronological order for each and every wine on your list.
An expert will tell you that the fastest way of mastering wine tasting is in this order:
Lift and See
Observe the color, texture, and consistency of the wine. The practice of tilting wines ensures that you see its true color. The presence of legs on the sides of the glass reflects the high alcohol content of the wine and directly identifies that it is full bodied by nature.
Swirl and Sniff
You really do not have to exaggerate the swirling motions as you really wouldn’t want to stain your expensive dress or suit. A subtle swirl really opens a wine’s true aroma. Place the glass a few inches away from your nose and perform a moderate sniff. Remember that a wine’s bouquet or aroma also contributes to the overall taste of the wine so make sure to perform the sniffing before taking a sip.
Sip and Swish
Wine tasting in essence is just, well, wine tasting. Experiencing wine excellence does not mean that you have to consume glasses of wine in one sitting. Take a short sip and let the wine travel across your tongue. Let it pass through all of your taste buds for a few seconds. Once you have tasted the sweetness, the acidity, the alcohol, and the tannins from the wine, spit it out. You don’t want to get drunk at a fancy wine tasting event, mostly because this will affect your judgment on the wines that you are evaluating. Remember to rest your taste buds for a few minutes and let the aftertaste fade before tasting more wines again.