Tips for Beginners - Drink Wine Like a Pro (or at least pretend to)
Wine is made with grapes, but not typical table grapes you'll find at the grocery. Wine grapes are small, sweet, have thick skins and contain seeds.
There are so many people out there drinking wine like an expert, they appear to be like they really do know a lot about wine tasting and you may feel distanced from them. In fact, it isn't actually as complicated as some people make it out to be. Basically we evaluate wine using four senses:
sight, smell, taste and texture.
The first step is to look at the colour of your wine. A white background really helps to give you a sense of whether the red wine is translucent or deeply hued 'or' the white wine is almost water white or has a golden tint that is associated with ageing.
After looking at the colour, the next thing to do is swirling the glass. Swirling free hand can be a little dangerous if that's the first time you try. I recommend using a table top or a surface, and holding the stem of glass as if it was a pencil between your fingers, pretend that you are drawing small circles on the bar top. As you swirl, you've the coated the inside of the wine glass with a layer of wine, which increases its evaporation rate and amplifies its smell.
After the swirling, you can take a nice sniff, a little bit deeper than you might take as a breathe. So, what do you smell? Is it fruity, and if so, what fruit do you smell? Is it floral? Earthy? Can you smell any wood, anything like vanilla or any baking spices? Take a moment to think what you smell.
For the sense of your taste, take a sip of the wine and squish it around on the inside of the mouth before you're ready to swallow. Think about the taste, do you taste any flavours of fruit or floral or oakiness? By letting it stay in your month, it makes sure that you coat every surface area, hit every taste bud and get as much textural impact as you can. This really gives you a much stronger impression of the flavour and feel the wine in the mouth. You can almost pretend to be chewing a gum or even like your mouth-wash in the morning. The important thing is to hold it for few seconds and make sure it hits every surface area.
As you swallow the wine, think about how long it stay on your taste buds and ask the person who pour the wine for you, what are you supposed to taste. What the tendence are like? What are acid is like? Just ask anything that you are curious about!
For feeling the texture, I don't mean to touch it with fingers, but to feel it inside the mouth. Wine has different alcoholic strengths, feel the difference in terms of their textures. With higher alcohol wine, you can feel a fuller body; and lighter alcohol wine will feel lighter and shearing in the mouth.
Generally, you are going to see, to swirl, to sniff, to sip and to savour. Every time you do, you are gonna walk through how the wine looks, how it tastes, how it smells and how it feels. Then rate it on your sensory checklist of characteristics. Take pleasure in this and treat it as seriously as you want to. Most of all, enjoy it!
All photos credit to WineFolly 2016.