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Your wine tasting experience can either break or make your opinions about the wine. Hence, if you are recreating a professional wine tasting at home, you must ABSOLUTELY take these tips into account before your next wine night.
Plan ahead for the kind of wines you’ll serve since that will set the mood for the tasting and allow you to prepare for the serving temperatures.
In general, sparkling wines must be served at 42F – 49F (6°C to 9°C). Whites and rosés at 48F – 52 F(9° to 11°C) and reds at 60F- 64F(16° to 18°C). Do not follow the wine label because for some red wines the suggestion is to drink them at room temperature but this varies depending on the season and place you are.
When you are about to open an older wine, it is necessary to have a decanter so that the aromas and notes of the drink are brought to life. This is primarily because the wines that have aged for 7, 15 or more years need oxygenation to breathe and are elevated to their true potential after being aerated.
If you are about to taste a bottle of wine, it is important to avoid eating heavy meals, drinking coffee or smoking at least two hours before opening it.
Even better if you can do the tasting in the morning since our senses are awake and at their best. But even if you are doing the tasting in the evening, just try to relax and have enough energy to enjoy it.
It is also extremely important to create the right ambiance. To do it like a professional, take notes of these key elements-
The order is usually related to the intensity of wine. Begin with the lightest and then move on to the heavy ones.
Young whites – Rosés – Aged Whites – Young reds – Aged Reds – Sparkling – Sweet – Fortified
Additionally, it is better to take a break between each wine, sip some water and then continue tasting.
This will prevent our taste buds from getting saturated or exhausted. Let’s imagine that you drink a strong wine with a heavy body first and right after that, you try a light white. You will probably not appreciate the characteristics of the latter because your threshold will be too high.
Firstly, you need to focus on the sight. You can observe the glass and describe what you see. Vocabulary is not a big deal. You just need to describe your first impression with complete honesty. Viewing the wine through the side of the glass held in light over a white surface shows you how clear it is or if there are hues that are perceived in the center and in the edge of the rim. Keywords: brightness, intensity, clearness, hues.
Secondly, you need to activate your olfactory senses because it’s time to experience the aromas. We bring the glass closer to the nose and try to describe the things that pop up in our minds. It could be something very simple such as fruits, flowers or food. These are the primary aromas. Then, it’s time to swirl the glass gradually so the rest of the aromas, the secondary, will appear, then take a deep inhale and describe some other aromas you might sense. It’s unlikely that everyone finds the same notes. It depends on the olfactory memory of each individual. Keywords: aromas of flowers, fruits and spices; fine, elegant, fresh, intense.
Finally, it’s time to test your palates. You should try to describe and taste the wine from the moment it gets in contact with the tip of your tongue to the moment you swallow it (or spit it). You can then focus on the aftertaste. In the case of white wines, the highlights will be the acidity and the freshness. If you are talking about great red wines, you will find tannins (depending on the intensity, the feeling will be astringent or sharp). Key words: unctuous, tannin, thick, light, long, balanced, complex, wide.
Let’s take into account that besides everything you can learn when you are tasting a wine for the first time, it is more of a matter of practice. The more frequently you taste wine, the more visual, aromatic and gustatory descriptors you will identify.
Winemaker graduated at Don Bosco school, wine communicator and editor of the blog www.thebigwinetheory.com
He used to work, from 2005 to 2013, in different wineries in Mendoza, participating in the technical area of elaboration, microbiology, fractionation and quality control. Some of them are La Rural, Familia Zuccardi, Escorihuela Gascón and Finca La Celia. In parallel, since 2010, he began his career as wine communicator. In 2012 he created his blog “The Big Wine Theory” and since then he has collaborated with several digital channels.
He currently works as Wine Communicator of Bodega Gimenez Riili and is responsible for the content management for social networks of Santa Julia Winery, Cassone Family Winery, Benegas Winery, Clos de Chacras Winery, Compuertas Negras Winery, Arpex Argentina and Wine Institute (where he also works as a teacher).