Are you a wine connoisseur? I know that I am not. In fact, I hardly know anything about wine. I am aware, however, that a fair proportion of my readers love wine; for some it is even a little too much. So instead of pretending to be a know-it-all, I got a wine expert to guest-blog and share some elements of the etiquette of wine-tasting. Unlike what is often presented, there are only a few basics to be aware of at wine tastings.
One: Ladies First – This might not sit well with some who would be swift to cry sexism, but it is just part of normal etiquette.
Two: Clear Your Palate – The bottled water and plain crackers offered are for you to clear your palate so that the taste of the previous wine would have dissipated.
Three: Hold It Correctly – Always hold a wine glass by its stem. The reason is so that the temperature of your hand does not affect the temperature of the wine. It might seem a bit extreme, but even a subtle temperature change can influence the flavour of some of the more sensitive wines.
Four: Don’t Smoke – No, this is not a ‘class’ thing. The reason for this is because smoking can alter your sense of taste.
Five: Don’t Chew Gum Or Eat Sweets – Same reason as above.
Six: Keep Your Scent Simple – For the same reason as above (starting to see a trend here?), a heavy perfume can throw off not just yourself but others as well.
Seven: The Look Says It All – Ensure the wine glasses are clear and the table cloth is white. These allow you to observe the appearance and hue of each wine. Oh, contrary to popular belief, not all white wines are meant to be ‘clear’, and not all red wines have the same hue too.
Eight: The Rim Test – Now we go on to expert-wannabe mode. One way to guess-timate the age of a red wine is by tilting the wine towards the rim of the glass and looking at its colour. Generally, a younger wine has a purple tint and an older wine will have a more brown shade.
Nine: Swirling – No, we are not talking about that movement in the United States. The reason for swirling wines is to release the flavours and aromas. This is important for the next step, which is smelling the wine.
Ten: The Right Way To Sniff – Take a short and a longer sniff of each wine. Only after you appreciate the aroma should you taste it.
Eleven: Taste It Right – Just like sniffing, there is a way to taste wine too. Get the initial taste first, and then swirl the glass a little before tasting it again to get the full flavour of the wine.
One last killer tip for you – do your homework. What this means is that if possible, read about different types of wine before you even go. This may give you a mild insight to the flavour and taste you should be expecting. However, nothing beats being on the ground and practicing. Now, go forth and enjoy!
Also published on Medium.
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