Wine tasting is an art that takes time to understand and acquire. But most of us casual wine drinkers want to know how to taste wine without really getting into the deeper details. Here’s a no-frills method of wine tasting that can be learnt and used by any amateur in a few minutes.
Wine tasting – the general idea
We’ve all heard the line, “Red wine with meat, white wine with seafood and poultry”.
This saying is very basic, and yet it seems to work very well, literally all the time when it comes to tasting wine.
But another thing that you have to know is that your personal taste is more important than what others say. If you’re not enjoying white wine with your chicken, that’s just fine.
Don’t keep drinking something you don’t like simply because someone told you to.
Make your own rules of wine tasting
Decide for yourself what you do like and don’t like. With wines, you don’t always have to follow the rules on how to taste wine. And yeah, that’s the first rule of wine tasting.
The reason red wine with red meat usually works is that you don’t want either wine or food to overpower the other. And since most red wines are heavy and hearty, it makes sense that they should accompany a hearty meal.
But, if you have a more complex white wine, by all means, serve it with steak. A nice contrasting combination would be spicy foods with a sweet, fruity white wine.
Spicy foods like Indian, Mexican, Thai, or Chinese also pair wonderfully with a sweet wine such as a Riesling or Pinot Noir.
At the end of it all, it all comes down to your preference. But these tips may just help you understand the reason why a certain wine is chosen over the others.
The art of wine tasting
The art of wine tasting is very sophisticated and something that has to be learnt with time. But for a dinner-date, we could probably brush you up with a few tips!
Tip #1 The color of the wine is a good indicator of the quality of wine. Red wines become lighter as they age, and they taste a lot better when aged, whereas white wines tend to get ruined with age.
Tip #2 Now the part you need to know to impress your date. Always hold your glass at the stem. A wine connoisseur never holds the bulge of the glass, as the warmth of your hands could affect the taste of the drink! So be careful not to forget these finer points of wine tasting and drinking.
Tip #3 Before you take a drink of wine, swish your glass around to release the different flavors in it, and take a smell of it. When you take the time to sniff your wine, you are allowing your taste buds to better pick up subtle hints of flavor in the wine.
Tip #4 You can smell wine in two different ways. You can take a quick sniff and then sit back to contemplate about the first impression the wine gave you, and then take a longer, deeper sniff before allowing the smell to make an impression and taking a swig. Or you can just take the deep smell.
Usually this depends on the person’s preference, so you should try both to see which you prefer. However, you should never attempt to drink any type of wine before you have taken a long sniff and allowed your senses to take it in.
Tip #5 When you take a sip of wine, allow it to linger on your taste buds while swishing it around the entirety of your mouth, allowing it to come in contact with all of your taste buds, including ones found on the underside of your tongue.
Contrary to what some of us learned in school, all taste buds are capable of detecting all types of flavors, including sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Sipping your wine slowly this way will allow your taste buds, as well as your sense of smell to identify the finer points that are not as easily detected in fine wines.
Tip #6 Your first swig will be the initial sense you get from the wine, this will awaken your taste buds and get them going.
Now is when you should swish the wine around your mouth, and try to draw in a little air. Try to notice the body of the wine, for example, is it smooth and rich, or light and smooth? Before you take another sip of wine, relax and see how the after taste is. How long did the flavor of the wine stay in your mouth, and was it a pleasant experience?
Now you can turn towards your partner and ask them what they felt. And voila, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. A wine connoisseur!
Always remember that wine tasting is an individual experience, and not based on any fixed rituals or rules, we’ll leave them to the connoisseur-wannabes.