SEE = EYES = COLOR
Hold the glass by its stem at a 45 degree angle against a white background. If you hold a glass by its bowl, the heat of your hand will quickly warm the wine.
VISUAL WINE INSPECTION.
Start with clarity. Natural sediment can result in cloudy wine.
Then the color.
The color of the wine can tell you a lot about the taste.
White wine with high acidity has a brighter color.
White wine with low acidity has a duller tonality.
Intense color means heavier body.
Red wines range in color from deep purple (young), to ruby (majority), to orange red - brown (aged).
White wines range in color from green-yellow to gold-copper.
Rosé wines range in color from light pink to salmon -orange.
Age: white wines darker with age, while red wines get lighter and orange.
Bubbles: look for size, quality and persistance.
SWIRL = OXYGENATION
Swirling the glass draws oxygen from the air into the wine.
The wine 'opens up' and releases its aromas.
1. Hold the glass by the stem.
2. Train with water first, to avoid spilling.
3. Free choice if you want to do it with the glass on the table or up in the air.
4. Duration max. 5-15 seconds.
Notice the tears or legs formed inside the bowl. Good legs are sign of higher alcohol content, higher density and ripeness.
SMELL = SNIFF
Human nose can detect a trillion smells. No wonder it plays the major role!
Start training your olfactory memory!
Begin at the top of the glass. Then stick your nose inside.
Primary aromas come from the grapes.
They are fruity and floral like apple, lemon, berries, rose, violet.
Secondary aromas come from the fermentation.
They are oak, toast, smoke, vanilla, butter, wood, nutty.
Tertiary aromas come from aging and oxidation.
They are coffee, caramel, cocoa, earth, tobacco, cedar, veggies.
Tips: don't fill the glass to the top.
Sniff for wet newspapers and damp basement.
The rate of corked wine is 2-7 % globally.
Sniff for vinegar.
Common complaint when drinking a wine by the glass.
Ask when the bottle was opened.
Sniff for roasted prunes or jammy raisins in reds and Sherry-like, nutty whites.
Caused by prolongued exposure to heat.
4.Brettanomyces aka Brett.
Sniff for sweaty saddle, horse stable, rancidity, bacon, smoky.
Caused by a natural wild yeast known as British Fungus.
SIP = SMALL QUANTITY
The wine tasting sequence is a Crescendo!
Start with the lightest whites and proceed to the heaviest reds.
This will keep your taste buds more sensitive to taste the next wine.
Sip water between wines to clean your palate.
Size matters! Wine releases different quantities of volatiles depending on the volume of the sip.
Small sips help to detect melon, baked apple, apple pie, grass, wood, almond and wine varietals such Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
Large sips help to detect citrus, berries, cherries, grapefruit, honey, flower, truffle, kerosene and wine varietals such Riesling and Gewürztraminer.
SAVOR = TASTE + AFTERTASTE
Move the wine around in your mouth and try sucking on it.
You want to bring in air and coat tongue and gums.
Swallow and notice how long the flavor stays.
Quality wines last long (have a good lenght).
Sweetness: is the wine sweet or dry?
Acidity: aka tartness. Too much tastes bitter, too little tastes flat.
Tannins: tastes astringent and mouth-drying. Typical of young reds.
Alcohol: if not balanced by tannins and fruit it tastes unpleasant.
Spit if you don't want to get drunk.
Touring wineries safely involves spitting into dump buckets (spittoons).
I prefer to bring my own plastic cup.
To avoid a mess, develop your personal technique.
Aim for a long narrow stream. Precision and Speed are key factors. Go for an arched stream if you have long hair or wear scarfs.