Have you ever opened a bottle of wine, surrounded by friends and felt embarrassed by everyone staring at you, wondering what you are thinking?
Unless you are a wine professional it is a hard exercise to put words on everything wine has to offer. It is however a great experience to try identify the feelings aroused, from the sight to the taste, by properly tasting a wine. Before beginning the tasting a few steps are required to allow for an optimal experience.
Wine is a delicate product, and temperature is an essential element to enjoy it. Red wines must usually be between 14 and 18°C, it is better for a rosé to be tasted between 9 and 13°C and white wine to be tasted between 6 and 12°C, although this can vary depending on the type of the white wine.
It is generally better to use a long wine glass to concentrate aromas because it allows better aeration.
The first step is observing the wine in the glass. The “dress” is the color and the external aspect of the wine. It gives a lot of information about the age of the wine and its grape variety.
When they are young, red wines are brilliant and deeply colored. After aging, they tend to become a red amber hue. Once they turn amber/brown, they are generally too old.
White wines on the contrary starts very white and gain gold reflects after years.
Here we are, done with looking after this quiet glass! Smelling is the first approach towards the aromas and the complexity of the wine.
Smelling is made in two separate steps. The first one is done without moving the wine in the glass, in order to detect any defect for instance a corky smell. Then, the wine is swirled in the glass, to liberate its aromas. After this step, the aromas can be smelled and distinguished. These aromas may be associated with red fruits, spices, wood, and even flowers flavors!
Last but definitely not least, the taste. A tongue can identify 4 flavors: sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, and sourness. After taking a sizable sip, the wine should be allowed to wallow in the mouth and be chewed to expose it to all of the sensitive receptors of your mouth.
Often, wine professionals suck air into their mouths (“grumer” in French) to aerate and heat the temperature of the wine, so that it will reach the olfactive bulb via the retronasal passage. But it is not necessary to make it noisily, it just sounds rude!
Finally you can either swallow or spit. In fact, it is quite common to spit a fortiori when doing multiple tastings as it helps to keep the mind clear.
Now that you have become an expert of wine tasting, I only have one last piece advice… Training is the key to success, Santé!