Believe it or not, I was never into wine-drinking, until I saw the movie, Sideways. That’s when I decided to do some exploring, by ordering wine with dinner and pairing it with the food. This process took a while, but, little by little, I would acquaint myself with the various grape varieties. It didn’t take long for my palate to fall in love with this magical juice and enjoy every aspect of wine tasting. Of course, I was still in the learning stages because, I had no knowledge of the wine making process and how it went from the vineyard into the wine glasses.
Four years later, In August 2008, my hubby and I took a Mediterrenean cruise to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We met the most wonderful people, some of them, I have kept in touch with, and became very good friends. Tonia, in particular caught my attention, because I was fascinated the way she was pairing all her meals with a wine. At that time, I was still considered a novice, and was “thirsty” to learn more about the art of wine tasting. I realize, she was pairing a different wine with each course, including the dessert. I was eager at that point, to discover more about this interesting experience.
In January 2009, I did some research on wine schools, and found out about classes held by the United States Sommelier Association, at the Cordon Bleu in my town. It didn’t take me long to sign up. There, I met the most amazing and kind-hearted people, and instantly made a connection with some of them. We had tons of fun in class and studied together for the test. Oh, how I dread that word, because it flares up my anxiety. I remember not sleeping the night before because I was too nervous, but with all the studying and the support of my classmates, I passed the blind tasting and the written test. It was a big deal for me and for all of us, after spending hours studying and sipping wine together. After earning the certificate, we would have wine gatherings at different houses and do some wine and food pairings. There was always a theme, and we had to pick a wine from a particular country/region and a dish to pair it with. Since then, we have attended some additional classes together and continue to gain knowledge in wine tasting.
It’s been 10 years since I have been sipping and savoring wine, red in particular, and I still have a long way to go. There are just too many regions and too much wine to explore. I also learned how the terroir has a major effect on the wine. The root of the word is terre, which means land/soil in French. Today, I will share with you the art of wine tasting.
You will be using your sense of sight for the appearance, smell for the nose, and taste. First, place a white paper or cloth on a table, pour about an ounce of wine in a clear glass, tilt a little and look at it. Make sure it’s sound. Next, you need to swirl it to bring out all the fragrance, then smell it, sniff it so you can get a whiff of the aromas. Please keep in mind, wine tasting is subjective and there is no right or wrong in my opinion. I may smell black pepper while someone else detects licorice.
Lastly, the best part, it’s time to taste. Take a sip and swirl it around your mouth, keep there, you will be doing an inhaling motion with mouth slightly open, repeat at least one more time, then swallow. At this point, you will determine all the flavor profiles in the wine, this can take some time for the more complex wines, as they are layered with various flavors. By tasting the wine, you will find out the acid level, the sugar content, the tannins, the length, the alcohol level. When all these are in harmony, it is said to be a well-balanced wine.
As you swirl the wine, you will notice the dripping on the inside of the glass, commonly referred to, as legs or tears. The slower the legs, the higher the alcohol content. You will also learn about the length of the wine. That is determined by how long after you swallowed the wine, the flavors remain in your mouth. The more lingering the length, the better the quality of the wine. A cheap wine is known to have a short finish, meaning, as soon as you swallow it, the taste dissapears from your mouth. I hope you have learned a thing or two about wine tasting today and enjoyed reading my blog.
There are a lot more pictures but I could not possibly share all of them in one blog. Cheers! Happy Sipping and wine tasting!