Friday, August 24, 2012

Beginner's Guide to Wine, Part 1: Wine Tasting

You like wine.  You've been drinking it for a while now.  Maybe it's time to enjoy wine at the next level, to really analyze what you're experiencing and savor the moment.  So how does one proceed?

Step One:  Take note of the color of your wine, an indicator of quality and age.  Sometimes people like to tilt their glasses as they examine the color as well as the legs of the wine.

Step Two:  Smell the wine.  Swirling the wine helps release aromas.  Extreme caution is recommended at this juncture, particularly in close-quarters wine tastings.  Somewhere out there, there is a woman who has no idea how close she came to disaster as my boyfriend overzealously sloshed his ruby red wine mere inches from the back of her snow white sweater.

Step Three:  You're allowed to drink it now.  I like to hold the wine in my mouth for a few moments before swallowing to really investigate what I'm tasting.  Experiment with opening you mouth slightly to allow oxygen in--you may find notice more flavors.  Avoid experimenting with this technique at dinner parties or amidst those clad in white sweaters.

Step Four:  Make a few notes about your experience.  I keep a little black wine journal, which is useful for trying to remember the name of a wine, or in figuring out who to pick up that night.  Common descriptors for wine tastes range from floral or fruity to petrol or cat's pee on a mulberry bush (no, I didn't just make that up).

Step Five, the Most Important Step:  Remember to exercise your wine palette often.

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