A wine tasting event or tour always has a special place in everyone’s bucket list. Plenty of people love to drink wine, but sometimes, the idea of attending a wine tasting might seem daunting, especially when you’re surrounded by wine connoisseurs who smell an entire forest with one sip of delicious vino.
You don’t have to keep up with the professionals during your first wine-tasting event, but here are some helpful tips that will help you get through your first wine-tasting while ensuring you enjoy yourself.
HOLD IT RIGHT
There are many ways to hold a wine glass, however, the most accepted, according to many wine connoisseurs would be to hold it from the stem. This is because the heat from your hands will warm up your glass of wine, which will then alter the temperature thus changing its special dynamics. In addition, your wine glass will be free from smudgy fingerprints, which will ruin the aesthetics of your wine experience.
SNIFF, SWIRL, SNIFF, SIP
The four S’ of wine tasting. This is where you get to look like you know what you’re doing. When the wine is first poured into your glass, inhale the aroma from your glass. You might be able to smell subtle hints of oak or cherry. Then swirl your glass, it’ll help the wine oxidize which will bring deeper aromas, usually of fruits. At this point, your taste buds will begin to tingle with excitement – treat it by taking a long sip of wine. Let it sit in your mouth, swirl it around and then swallow. It’ll help if you make a ‘mmmm’ sound right after.
Wine tastings are usually accompanied with a platter of delectable snacks. These snacks would ideally complement each type of wine and clear your palate. Bite into a crunchy bruschetta or anything that’s available on the table before trying another wine, as your palette will be cleansed and ready for the next wine!
In a typical wine tasting tour, each wine taster is given a spittoon to spit out the wine after sipping it. Just so that they wouldn’t’ be drunk by the 10th glass of wine. But, who really wants to waste that bit of wine, right? To avoid getting drunk on sips of wine by the end of the event, remember to pace yourself. Have plenty of snacks and water in between wine tastings.
The most important part of your wine tasting event is to ask questions about your wine. Ask your guide about the region, grape, climate, how it was picked, how it was processed and bottled. By this point, you should be comfortable enough to ask any questions, don’t hesitate or be shy to ask any questions.
WHAT TO EXPECT
When describing white wines, here are some helpful words to describe your wine, just in case the only description you can think of is ‘yellow and nice’. Try, instead using words like lime zest, lemon meringue, canned peach, limestone, flinty, pink grapefruit, baked apple, crisp, fresh, etc. For example, a perfect line to describe a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, would be, “very crisp and fresh with subtle undertones of baked apple and lemon meringue, which reminds me of the time I was apple-picking in the orchards while vacationing in the States”. Nailed it!
For red wines, the colours and tones are usually dark red from black fruits like blackberry, raspberry, black currant, black cherry etc. You’ll get subtle undertones of tobacco smoke, cedar, black pepper, chocolate. Common words to describe the wine would be earthy, smoky or fleshy. A perfect line to describe a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon would be “Succulent with tones of blackberry and black pepper mixed with tobacco, with a nice finish”.
NOW THAT YOU’RE FULLY PREPARED TO MASTER YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE IN WINE TASTING, ALL THAT’S LEFT TO DO IS SIMPLY ENJOY THIS LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE. FOLLOW THE ABOVE STEPS AND YOU’LL BE A SUAVE WINE CONNOISSEUR, AND NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW ITS YOUR FIRST TIME!
YOU SHOULD ALSO READ THIS TWO-MINUTE GUIDE OF DRY AND SWEET WINES, IF YOU WANT SOME ADDITIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND TALKING POINTS.