Tasting wine with all of the senses
Consider a glass of wine as a piece of ART. A wonderful creation that is dictated by the land, the weather and location of the vine, the handling, aging, and even bottling of the product you are drinking. It has so much more meaning when you consider that one harvest year will be completely different from the next depending on so many factors. Wine tasting itself becomes more interesting and fun when you concentrate on the flavors in your mouth whether one stands out or a few. What you taste, may be different from what another person might taste and who is to say who is right and who is wrong? Though I hope you would never taste such a taste in your glass, if I say my wine has the taste of stinky socks who is to say that it’s not true?
Case in point, on a recent weekend away to Monterey, my husband and I were at a 5 star hotel and asked for a nice glass of Pinot Noir. We received our glasses, we both took a sniff and agreed the nose on it (the smell) was pleasing. Next was the first sip. My first reaction was that I liked it, it was interesting enough. I always take my second taste and really dig into what flavors are popping. On this occasion, the taste in my glass was deceiving of the smell. The berries that I smelled were not present, and the entire wine fell flat on flavor. There was also a strong metal taste at the finish of the wine. My husband said it tasted like what a public bathroom smells like.
It reminded him of those discs they put into the urinal to freshen them. haha~ He laughed and called the wine “POTTY PINOT” Go figure!! He also said, “Make a note of this one so we don’t make the mistake of buying it again.”
When tasting wine, use all your senses to enjoy every nuance.
- First look at the glass preferably next to a light colored wall so you get a true sense of the color, the richness and depth. Can you see through it or is it slightly cloudy?
- Put your nose into the glass and smell the wine. Any strong aromas around you will alter the taste of your wine. A fire, strong food aromas, or even someones fragrance can interfere. What aromas are present in your wine? You might smell an earthy smell, fruit, grass, coffee, vanilla, chocolate etc.
- Feel it in your mouth as you TASTE it. When it touches the front of your tongue. The middle part of your tongue (Mid pallet) and how does it taste as you swallow it? Is it hot? Does it go down smoothly? Do you taste sweet, sour, salty, bitterness at all?
- Focus on the tastes and sensations as they change from the beginning to the end of each taste. Realize that the nose and the tongue work together in this part. You are actually tasting the smells and smelling the tastes simultaneously.
This is not rocket science and there is no need to be intimidated. When you approach wine tasting with an open mind, and an adventurous spirit, it can be an enjoyable and delightful experience.
- Taste Wine Like a Pro (howto.wired.com)
- How Water Can Actually Enhance Alcohol’s Flavor [Taste Test] (gizmodo.com)
- The Vines Weekly Wine Series | Why Blind Tastings? (vinesofmendoza.com)