There is something exciting yet daunting about attending a wine tasting. If you’re a knowledgable wine enthusiast, then you are probably erring on the side of excitement; if you’re a novice wine connoisseur, then a formal wine tasting could force your palms to start sweating with nervous anticipation. But take a breath…we don’t want that glass to slip through your fingers.
Every wine tasting is run differently. You may be lead through the tasting by a wine expert, talking about the vineyards, grape varieties, the process of the wine making and blending and what type of barrels the wine was aged in…etc…etc… Or, you may attend a wine tasting with a plethora of wine bottles on display for your tasting pleasure. (AKA: ‘free-for-all’.)
The first of the two types of tasting is very controlled, informative and paced in a way that will allow you to take note of the differences in the wines you are tasting. The other, the onus is on you, and more likely than not, control goes out the window (along with appreciation).
No matter which type of tasting you attend, there are a three basic rules to get you through it gracefully.
1/ IF YOU’VE NEVER BEEN TAUGHT THE RIGHT WAY: ASK
There is an art to tasting wine: swirling, sniffing, slurping, swishing and finally spitting. If you have never been educated on these things then don’t be afraid to ask an expert. Even if it’s not the person running the session, you’re guaranteed to have an expert in the mix.
You don’t need to be a wine panellist judge to learn the proper way of tasting — every-day folk can gain more from learning the basics.
2/ IT’S A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT
No prizes are awarded to those who finish first — every glass, every drop. Don’t be embarrassed to swirl and take in the bouquet of the wine more than once — you may pick up new and interesting notes each time. Take the time to let the wine linger in your mouth, moving it from front to back and to the sides — caressing every taste bud in your mouth.
Stop, think and focus on what you can taste and smell.
Take a moment to yourself.
3/ H20 IS NOT THE ENEMY
Don’t think you will look soft or weak if you keep a faithful glass of H20 next to you and take sips in between each tasting.
Water not only cleans your palate, to allow you to get the most out of the next wine you are tasting, but it also keeps you hydrated and delays any onset of intoxication.
If you are in for a big day tasting, then H20 is going to be your saving grace (along with a few carbohydrate-loaded snacks).
Have you been wine tasting lately?
Where is your dream location to go?