Tasting the Wine....yeah buddy!!
SEE!!! When the person behind the bar pours you some wine, take a good look at it. Tilt the glass away from you a bit and check out the color of the wine. Look from the rim of the glass to the middle of the glass. YEAH BUDDY...you're looking good now!! If you can, hold a white piece of paper behind the glass. The back of the tasting menu for example, or the back of your friends white shirt, will do just fine. This gives you a better background for seeing the wines color. What does the color look like to you? Are you seeing colors that range from maroon, dark purple, ruby or cherry red, to a brick or brownish color? If it's a white wine is it clear, pale yellowish, straw-like, light green, golden, or even kind of brownish? I bet you do!
In a red wine, the further it gets from the darker maroon color to a brick or brownish color could, and usually does, indicate the age of the wine. Younger wines tend to be darker in color, while the brick or brownish colors indicate older and more mature wine. Neither is good or bad, it just means you’ll have to discover which type of wine you like. Here's a wrench in the works. Not all young wines are dark in color. WHAT? But you just said...! I sure did, but different wines have different characteristics, which could include the color. Compare a young Cab with a young Pinot Noir and see the difference! Don't worry you'll get the hang of it. Remember...we all have a different palate! If you have a chance to do a vertical tasting, which is tasting the same varietal of wine from different vintage years, (a little knowledge) then you can get a pretty good idea of what could change in the wine over time.
SWIRL!!! Ah yes...the swirling of the wine! This always strikes terror into the newbie! To get a good impression of your wine's aroma, swirl your glass for a few seconds. I know...this is where you become the laughing stock of the tasting room as you create a tie-dyed Grateful Dead shirt out of the one you started with! Not to worry, just be careful. Put your glass down on the tasting bar and rotate the glass in little circles by the stem or base, counter- clockwise if you're right handed and clockwise if you're a lefty. You’ll get much better with time and it’ll be just like tying your shoes after a while. You know what? Try it at home with water! Swirling the glass helps vaporize some of the wine's alcohol and release more of its natural aromas in the bowl of the glass. BTW. the smell of the wine is actually referred to as "the nose". Example: "This wine has a very fruity nose". More Knowledge!
SNIFF!!! Now stick your nose down into the glass and take a deep sniff of the wine. What do you smell? Do you smell oak, berry, flowers, vanilla or citrus? A wine's aroma is a way to tell quality and the characteristics of the wine. You might want to repeat the process again. Did anything change? Any difference from the first time? Did you smell a wet newspaper? If so STOP and tell the person pouring that the wines showing signs of being corked. That basically means the cork has been tainted and the wine could be bad. Don't worry, you'll catch that one easily! BTW, you might want to plan your trip on the wine road carefully if you have, or feel a cold coming on. Like...don't go! You'll be doing yourself, your nose and the wine a great disservice if you do. HINT: Go for twice as long when you're well!!
SIP!!! That's right...sip. Remember you're wine tasting, not slamming shots at Hooters. OK, sip a little from the glass and let it fill your mouth. Let me backtrack a bit. You can actually get two or more tasting experiences depending on a couple things, that's at least what I've discovered. When you take a sip, let it roll over your tongue and swallow it, that's basically tasting and drinking. You'll get the flavors of the fruit, the texture, the alcohol and maybe some oak. This is what's called the "mouth feel". Is it a heavy mouth feel or is it light? It's like drinking milk (heavy) compared to drinking water (light). That's a simple explanation. What kind of fruits or other flavors do you notice? When you taste like I first noted above, but then swish it around for a few seconds in your mouth, you'll get a more astringent experience. While many "experts" out there may prefer this way when evaluating a wine, I believe that the first way gives you a more accurate way of "tasting" the wine. This is more or less how you'll be drinking it at home with friends, with some great food, or a pizza. WINO101 suggest that hopefully, if you like the wines you tasted, you'll buy a bottle or two to take home and enjoy.