Personally, I prefer the wine drinking to swish and spit tasting. But I do want to know what’s in my glass.
Many years ago we took a wine tasting course that lasted a number of weeks through Renton Technical College. It was run by a very knowledgeable (then) wine shop owner who loved wine and taught us so much! It was a great experience.
We learned quite a bit about different regions and different wines, cellar life, varietal characteristics, food guidelines, domestic and international. A lot of what we learned in that class I refer to today when experiencing a glass of wine.
The most important thing I learned I think was, drink what you like!
Let’s take deeper dive into your glass and what can make the experience even more interesting for you!
Your senses are the most important part of wine tasting. Use them.
There are 4 parts:
- And your brain
It can get more interesting from there when you add wine taste characteristics on top of that. We can do that later.
When you buy that bottle of wine; either attracted by the label and the pretty picture or by a small write up you may see posted next to the wine or even the one you grab at the checkout stand seems like a good price. You’re buying more than just a bottle of hooch. You’re buying an experience.
The taste, the smell, and the look of the wine all contribute to the brain part.
If you’re also looking at having a particular wine with a particular meal you are enhancing the food and wine experience even more.
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to drink a really nice glass of port wine from Portugal you may know what I’m talking about. Port and a nice dark piece of chocolate in your mouth at the same time is an incredible experience
as the flavors and the smells all come together in a magical combination.
So when you’re tasting wine experience it. As soon as you open the bottle what is the first thing that happens? If you’re paying attention and taking it slow you’ll smell something. You could smell cherries, or fruits you can’t quite identify or maybe oak or mushrooms. But that first smell contributes greatly to the overall taste experience.
When you pour the wine into your glass and you’re looking at the color whether it be a white or a red the color of the wine can be deep like a really nice Garnet or it can be pale and watery like a very light red juice.
The smell when you stick your nose in the glass, and yes you stick your nose in the glass with your eyes closed can be a multitude of things hitting you all at one time. And the interesting thing about the smell of anything when you’re eating is that how the smell contributes greatly to the other aspects of the tasting experience. Smell and taste go together very well.
So, the first taste of that wine is affected by the look and the smell adding to the overall experience yet again.
And once you’ve had that taste you will automatically taste something. It could be metallic, or like dirt or mushrooms, or watery, or fruity… It could be a number of things all happening at one time.
When you’re tasting wine you want to look at the color and the “legs”.
Sometimes you may hear the wine snobs say something like, oh look at those “legs”. And I don’t mean Gams (don’t know that word? Use a dictionary).
What are wine legs what does that really mean? Wine “legs” are like small tears of wine dripping down the inside of the glass after you’ve either swished it around the glass or you took a taste.
To break it down, you can actually use these wine tears or “legs” to get information about the alcohol level of the wine! High alcohol wines have a higher density of droplets on the inside of the glass whereas lower alcohol wines don’t. Wines that are sweeter will have tears or “legs” that flow slower down the glass.
What that means is that a wine that has more “legs“ or tears can indicate that the wine has a higher alcohol content and could also have a higher sugar content affecting the taste and sometimes the smepll.
So now you know about wine legs! Next one, what am I smelling?