Wine Tasting 101


Well Brothers, it looks as if you are partaking in some wine tasting in the near future, so I figured I would do my part and give you a quick rundown of the correct way to taste wine:
Step 1:   Sight
You want to put the wine against a white background and angle it about forty-five degrees or so.  Things you want to notice are the color and the hue of the wine.  Is it really shinny, cloudy, brilliant, full of sediment?  These things will prepare your mouth for what you are going to taste.  Ex.  Dark and cloudy wine full of sediment is going to be full bodied and have a lot of flavor, whereas a clear white wine with a brilliant hue will be easy drinking probably sweet tasting and short lived.

Step 2:  Smell
First you want to swish the wine in a circular motion around the glass (this is called volatizing the esters: letting the wine breath by mixing it with oxygen).  You can do this by setting it on the table and moving it in a circular motion or for you more advanced wino’s you can hold the glass by the stem and swish it around, just be careful not to spill any.  Next put your nose to the rim of the glass and have a sniff. Repeat a couple times, and remember not to sniff too heavily.   Things to notice would be the bouquet (smells added to the wine by the winemaker ex. Vanilla from the toasted barrel it was fermented in, or a buttery smell from malolactic fermentation).  Also notice the smell of the grape itself.  Hint:  For any red wine you can sound like you know what you are talking about if you say I smell blackberries, as well as with white wine you can say I smell citrus.

Step 3:    Taste
Take in a little wine and let it rest on the top of the tongue.  Suck air over the top of it and then swallow.  You must do this at least twice to get the true flavor of the wine.  Think about what areas of the tongue it is affecting.  Is it sweet?  Acidic?  Bitter?  Does it have a long aftertaste, or a short one?  Think of the taste of certain fruits, vegetables, and other aromas that might show up in the wine.  Dirt Vanilla, cinnamon, spices.

Step 4:     Touch
This is a kind of combo step with number 3.  Think about how the wine feels in your mouth.  Is it heavy and thick (like a black man) or is it light and short (like a Chinese man).  Does it feel like cough syrup or water?  This will give you clues as to how the wine was fermented, but those processes we shall save for another day.

Step 5:     Overall Opinion
This is what it is all about.  Take a second to discuss with the brothers what you think about the wine.  Did you like it or dislike it.  Would you buy a bottle or not?  What kind of food would it taste good with?  There is no right answer it is all about what you like.

Just remember to take the time to form an opinion of the wine and remember to compare it to what you have tried previously.  This is the first step in forming a foundation of opinion for your future interaction with wine.

Tid Bit:  Syrah (French) and Shiraz (Australian) are the same grape and is now considered the "hot wine" in the market, replacing the wave of Pinot Noir fanaticism.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. schroediki
    Oct 14, 2006 @ 09:46:53

    step 4 is disturbing…I need to order ties this week and I know some people want normal ties and others prefer skinny ties. let me know what you want. nice posting lately, hooray.

  2. athletics
    Oct 13, 2006 @ 12:24:58

    No beer hating here. I was referencing the continuous pounding of beers in Step 3 of beer appreciation. I was the one who took my mom to a beer and classic car show in SB. Beer appreciation runs deep in the family. Don’t ever question my loyalty to Adolphus again.

  3. M+T
    Oct 13, 2006 @ 11:25:11

    After the undocumented success of our upcoming wine tasting excursion, we should try to find an event like this for a meeting to be planned around:
    Indoor Alcoholic Adventure Squad! Assemble!!!

  4. M+T
    Oct 13, 2006 @ 11:21:39

    Or if you don’t have an alcohol superstore nearby, try this list:

  5. M+T
    Oct 13, 2006 @ 11:18:12

    What’s with the beer hating Athletics? Adolphus has a rich golden taste that always goes down smooth, but if you want to start appreciating beers like every American monkey should check out this list:

  6. Rousing
    Oct 13, 2006 @ 11:08:40

    Step 4:
    Pound another beer after you puke. Fuck yeah! Than beer bong like three beers and puke again. Fuckin’ party!

  7. athletics
    Oct 13, 2006 @ 10:53:14

    Now what are the key elements to beer tasting? Step 3: Place the mouth of the bottle close to your nose and take a whiff. Then take a sip and swish it around in your mouth. Then pound your beer. What is the taste in your mouth (try to taste beyond the vomit that just came up, crack open another to wash down the vomit if necessary).

  8. M+T
    Oct 13, 2006 @ 09:45:49

    Wow that was incredibly informative. Danke. Wir vermissen Sie