It’s no secret I enjoy a good glass bottle of wine. Since I’m trying to be more honest with myself in 2015…I will admit that I do more drinking than tasting these days. Believe me there IS a difference!
I guess you can say I went from 0 to 100…real quick. I skipped the wine ABC’s and went straight for the bottle. Now that I have the drinking part down, I’m getting my Michael Jackson on and moonwalking back to the basics. That way I’m not just gulping down wine, but taking in the experience as well.
I understand wine can seem very overwhelming, especially for young professionals like myself who enjoy wine, but don’t necessarily know much about it. So, I took one for the team and visited Solaro Urban Winery here in Houston to learn more about wine tasting etiquette.
- Words to Sip By: Here’s a cheat sheet of words to remember:
- Tannins…this took me a minute to get, but tannins add bitterness to wine. Think of the bitter taste that lingers in your mouth after you drink wine. That after taste is caused by tannins and is often found in a lot of red wines. Grape tannins come from the skins, seeds and stems of a wine grape.
- Acidity influences the taste of wine. Acidity is a wine’s tartness. Think about a glass of lemonade. That pucker you get when you drink the lemonade, combined with the refreshment the lemonade gives you is the acidity.
- Body describes how heavy a wine is. Here’s a trick…if you let the wine sit on your tongue and it feels like water, then it’s light. If you let the wine sit on your tongue and it feels like milk then it’s heavy.
- Legs are the residue left around the glass after you swirl the wine in your glass. The thicker the leg, the more alcohol in the wine.
- Nose refers to the smell of the wine. So, if you hear the nose is heavy that means it has a strong aroma.
- Don’t Sweat the Technique
I always thought it was a bit ridiculous when I saw people sniff and then swirl their glass of wine. It just seemed extremely pretentious. But after some test runs, I learned how much this technique really enhances the overall wine tasting experience. When you swirl your glass of wine the aromas become more powerful. Try it! Take a sniff of your wine before you swirl and then after. Notice a difference? Well you should. When you swirl your wine, it puts oxygen in it, which helps release more of the aromas. #bombdotcom
- Taste and See
F-E-W Test: F-E-W stands for fruit, earthy, and wood. This is an easy way to identify what you smell and taste. Even if you can’t pinpoint the exact origin of the aroma, at least you can say “oh this wine has a fruity or earthy taste.” I will say that identifying aromas is not my thing…yet. I can definitely smell something, but what exactly remains the question :(. So, I will continue to use the F-E-W Test as I develop my wine senses.
Hopefully, with these takeaways you feel more confident when tasting wine. If you have any fun wine tasting tips or additional things you’d like to know, please comment below.