In this post, I will be sharing with you how to taste wine. The three S’s in tasting wine are: Sight, Smell and Sip.
First, examine the color of the wine. The color of the wine will tell you a little bit about the body and the flavors of the wine. The lighter the color, the lighter the body and flavor notes and vice versa. Looking at the color of the wine is also very important when comparing wines with each other. When comparing a Sauvignon Blanc with a Chardonnay, you will see that the Chardonnay will have a deep golden yellow color; whereas, the Blanc will be a soft pale yellow. When tasting the two, you will notice that the Chardonnay will have richer flavor notes and a heavier body than the Blanc. While the Blanc will taste crisp, light and refreshing on the palate.
The next step in tasting wine is to smell. You will want to start off by gently swirling your glass of wine. This will oxygenate the wine and release the aromas in your glass. Next, put your nose in the glass, take a deep breath and breathe in the wine. By the third sniff, you should smell the different flavors that you will possibly taste on your palate.
Now it’s time for the best part. Sip the wine and get a good taste. Gently swirl the wine around your mouth, letting the wine coat your cheeks. Breath in your nose as you take a sip and begin identifying the flavors that you are tasting. After tasting your wine, think about other wines that you have had and start making comparisons. Make mental notes about what you may or may not have enjoyed about the wine.
What I love most about wine tasting is that I feel like I am on an adventure every time I try a new one. It is very important in your wine tasting journey that you explore the world around you. Try new foods, explore new places, and be adventurous. You wouldn’t believe how smelling the flowers at your local grocer or florist shop will help you pick up on the different floral notes in a wine. Try new fruits and smell them. All of this helps in identifying flavor notes in your wine.
Well Smileys, I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did. Leave a comment below telling me your favorite wine and your most unique tasting note.
A lot of people have asked me how to go about pairing food and wine. I usually say it’s all trial and error and ask more questions to gauge what they’re going for with the dish. Here are a few other tips that may help as you explore pairing food and wine:
Balance the weight of the food with the weight of the wine. The bolder the flavor of the dish, the bolder the wine should be to stand with the meal. The reverse also applies, the lighter the dish, the lighter the wine as to not overwhelm the flavors of the dish.
Take into account how your meal has been prepared. Steaming a fish will have a delicate flavor versus a meat that has been grilled. Here you will want to serve a light bodied wine because the steamed fish is a delicate dish. A bold wine with tannins is great for a dish that has been grilled or broiled.
Dishes packed with citrus, vinegar or other acids will pair well with a wine that is equally as acidic. Normally, a white wine or a red wine that does not have a lot of tannins is recommended for citrus dishes because tannins clash with acidic food.
Acidic wines pair well with fatty dishes causing the dish to appear less rich. The acidic wine will also heighten the flavor of the meal.
The sweeter the food, the sweeter the wine. If you pair a dessert with a dry wine, you will notice that the wine will taste tart and thin. Of course, this is not an exact all be all. There are beautiful marriages of sweet and savory that can occur, you just have to explore and be willing to continue to try until you find it. I have found a few myself. (Note: you can check out my previous post: “Leading My First Wine Pairing Class, October 27, 2019” to see some of those marriages.)
The best partner for a wine with tannins is meat. Meat perfectly smooths out the tannins in the wine. Cheese and eggs aren’t the best of friends when it comes to tannins; probably because, these two are usually considered to be delicate dishes.
Let’s Be Adventurous
Normally, white wine is suggested as a pairing for fish but the next time you are ordering dinner or grocery shopping, I challenge you to get a broiled salmon and to pair it with a Pinot Noir. Notice I said a broiled salmon, not just salmon. I haven’t tried this yet myself so let’s come back and share notes. You can share your thoughts on today’s Instagram post or here on the blog.
I hope you find this helpful as you continue to explore the World of Wines.
Buying and learning about Wine can feel overwhelming but it isn’t as gruesome as it may seem. The exploration of wine can be fascinating and adventurous. So, this month I thought I would walk you through the Wonderful World of Wines.
What is Wine?
Fermented grape juice (and all of its sugar) + Yeast = Alcohol
Wine is prepared by adding yeast to the juice of grapes. Adding the yeast will convert the sugared juice into alcohol. This is called the fermentation process. The yeast comes from the natural fungus that grows on the grape skins. Wine is then added to wooden oak barrels or steel vats for fermentation. (pictured left)
Wines are identified by its grape varietal; such as Tempranillo, or by its region; such as Bordeaux. They come in two colors: Red and White. Pink or Rose’ is considered a secondary hue but not a color itself.
They also come in different styles, such as:
Still : no bubbles
Sparkling: contains bubbles
Dessert: sweet tasting
Fortified: extra alcohol added
The price of the wine determines the quality or taste. No, price is due to a number of factors. There are inexpensive wines that taste just as exquisite as the expensive ones.
Once I buy a bottle of wine I can drink it immediately. No, white wines should be chilled; however, red wines should be served room temperature. Too cold will make the tannins taste bitter and too warm makes it taste like vinegar. Ideally, 65 degrees Fahrenheit is what the experts say.
I must know everything about wine to truly enjoy it or even buy it. Not at all! Grab a bottle, did you like what you tasted? Take note of what you did like and didn’t like. Next time you go to the wine store, share with the Sommelier or Wine Specialist your notes and ask for suggestions. It’s all trial and error.
Smileys, I hope this put a little ease to the caution of trying wine or trying new wines. Take a big leap into this wonderful world and share with me your exciting adventures! I look forward to sharing more with you. But until next time,
I hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. This month I am excited to share with you my tasting notes on the wine: Chloe, before and after using an aerator.
Wine: Chloe Red No. 249
Region: North Coast California
Notes (without an aerator):
Sight: Beautiful legs, Deep Burgundy
Smell: Spice, Dark Berry, Raisin, Alcohol
Taste: Heavy Spice, Subtle Cobbler- maybe blackberry, Gradual Tannins and a building of coffee notes after several sips.
Pairing: Baked Chicken Parmesan, Artichokes and Cauliflower. The wine paired with the mozzarella very nicely drawing out the flavor of the cheese.
Overall: Truly enjoyed the wine. Paired nicely with my dinner and this wine could easily be enjoyed before bed.
Notes after using an Aerator:
Sight: Beautiful legs, Deep Burgundy
Taste: Sweet cobbler upfront, followed by spice. However, the spice wasn’t as strong after aeration. Heavy ending of Dark Chocolate; such as 90% Cocoa.
Pairing: Paired with the same dish but after aeration the wine seemed to be too rich for the dish. This wine would pair better with red meat. Full Bodied.
Overall: Still enjoyed the wine but not with my meal. Also, after aeration, the wine seemed to have a heavier alcohol content (versus smelling the alcohol, I felt the alcohol).
Winemaker’s Tasting Notes:
Bouquet: Dark Fruit Flavors
Taste: Rich Espresso and Spice. Soft integrated Tannins. Full Bodied.
After aerating the wine, the alcohol note was eliminated, the spice notes were more leveled out and the finish of the wine was more luxurious.
Have you used an aerator? Did it change the profile of your wine? Aerators mix air with the wine, allowing it to breathe more quickly than just letting it sit. Swirling your glass of wine also adds air to the wine and will open the profile of the wine before the taste.
I hope that you liked this article on wine aeration and learned a little bit about how letting the wine breathe enhances your experience of the taste.