Jeff’s Corner 5-4-18

Howdy, Howdy!

I’ve been trying for days to write about our new 2016 Petite Sirah (which is delish, by the way), but sometimes the sentences just don’t happen.  We’ll try again next week, but in the meantime let’s revisit some guidelines I wrote years ago about a simple approach to tasting wine.  People ask me all the time about this, so here we go:

First, some general guidelines for tasting:

We want a small amount of wine (about 2oz) in a large glass (up to 16 oz.). It should have a big bowl that narrows towards the rim. Also, don’t rinse your glass unless going from red to white, and we should always rinse with a little of the next wine.  Wine and water don’t get along.

Next, it’s important to neutralize our sense of taste and smell. It’s not a good idea to brush, gargle or eat sweet or acidic foods an hour before tasting. Also, perfume and cologne create havoc in all kinds of ways.

Now, the fun part! Let’s look at the interaction of four sensual experiences when we taste wine: color, aroma, taste and finish.

First, Color:

We want to check out a wine’s color against a white background, with the glass tilted towards its side. Each grape has its own hue, so we can’t compare Pinot Noir with Cabernet Sauvignon. But, for the same varietal, the deepest, darkest color is a good indicator of the richest wine.

Next, Aroma:
It’s important to swirl the wine in our glass to release the aromatics responsible for its wonderful aroma. Don’t be shy about sticking your nose down in the glass for 2 or 3 big sniffs. What do you smell? Fruit, oak, alcohol, acid? Is the aroma simple, or complex? Are you eager to taste it?

Third, Taste:

When we take the wine into our mouth, breathe through our nose so both senses come into play. Chew it up like mouthwash, so it assaults our entire palate. Here, balance is the key. Is the fruit, acid, tannin (if it’s red) and sugar (if it’s sweet) in harmony? Do you go “WOW”, I want some more.

Finally, Finish:

A wine’s finish is how long it lingers on our palate after we swallow. The longer we taste it, the more “full-bodied” it is. The “legs” on the glass when we swirl are a glimpse at its finish. The thicker and slower they move, the more the wine will coat our palate, and the more full-bodied it is.

So, here we have a pretty simple approach to wine tasting. It can be a lot more complicated, but the bottom line is what works for you. My message, as always, is don’t make it too hard. It’s supposed to be fun!!!!