I'm going to make it really simple. I'll get a bit more technical later on in this post. For now, the 4 basic steps to tasting are:
Spit (or, if you REALLY like it...Swallow!)
All start with the letter "S" for easy recall! (I'm really trying to keep it simple!)
You have often heard me describe a wine with "on the nose", which means "what I smelled was..."
All wine contains alcohol. Some more than others. That being said, the amount of alcohol might also determine the body that wine will have in your mouth. We will almost always experience the alcohol towards the back of the mouth as a 'hot' or 'burning' sensation. Is it a light wine or full bodied wine? Can it be drunk on its own, or does it need food?
Finally, we want to judge the finish of the wine. Everyone loves something that lasts! Like that savoury piece of steak that melts in your mouth, such is the finish of a good wine. Is it short or long? Does is disappear into the mist immediately after you swallow it, or does the taste linger in your mouth long after you swallow it?
Finally, let's talk about the balance of the wine. In the whole tasting proess, we have talked about what it looks like, what it smells like, what it tastes like; how much acidity, tannins and alcohol are present. In the ideal wine, all of these parts combine flawlessly together to create a whole which is greater than the sum of its parts. It's like the symphony: all the pieces of the orchestra go together perfectly. One doesn't outshine the other. They just blend together to create this beautiful melody. Intricate harmonies overlapping each other, yet sounding as one in our ears. So it is with that perfect bottle of wine. It is this balance that measures the overall quality of a wine, its potential longevity, as well as potential food pairings at the dinner table.
If you've been reading my blogs on a regular basis, remember what I said in my very first blog: drink what you like. What the wine SAYS it smells or tastes like, may not be what YOU smell or taste. Always be true to yourself in what you smell or taste! There is no right or wrong answer! Clever marketing should never be the one to tell you WHAT is in that wine! Trust your senses! YOU are your own best critic when it comes to which wine you will like at dinner, on your patio, or what might sit in your cellar for a few years!
Next time you sit down to enjoy your next glass of wine, try this exercise, and then tell me about it! I'd love to hear from you!