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Proper Wine Tasting
If you want to join an elite wine connoisseur club or simply want to learn how to taste the difference between two different bottles of Merlot, here are some tips on the proper method to tasting wine. Wine tasting involves several different senses.
- Color and Clarity
The first step to tasting a new wine is to use your eyes. Poor wine into your wine class and open your eyes. Take a look at the wine and it's color. If you move or tilt the glass back and forth concentrating on the color from the middle of the glass to the rim. Observe the color and determine if it's dark red, maroon, more purple, rusty, brownish, etc. If it's a white wine you'll see variations of white, golden, light yellow, clear and more. Also determine how opaque the wine is. Can you see through the wine? Is it more translucent or opaque, cloudy, clear, etc.? Experts also look for particles in the wine or sediment. If you tilt and swirl the wine in the glass you might also see tinges of orange or darker aspects of a white wine - due to age.
The 2nd step involves yet again another aspect of your face but not your mouth. Swirling your wine in your glass again take a quick sniff and pull your head up for a first impression of the wine. What did you smell? Did you like it? Next you'll go in for a much longer and deeper smell of the wine. Place your nose farther into the glass to inhale the wine fumes. What did you smell this time? Many people look for scents of citrus, oak, berry, and more. A wine's smell will eventually help you determine the quality of a wine and if you'll like it before it even hits a single taste bud.
Finally it's taste time but slow down and take a moment to properly taste your wine. Experts suggest you take a small sip and allow it to linger and roll around in your mouth to help determine the different flavors. Experienced wine tasters will go further and introduce air into their mouths to help bring out additional flavors and aromas. You might not want to do this on your first try but simply tilt your head forward, purse your lips like you're going to whistle and breathe in through your mouth, exhale through your nose. Eventually you'll teach yourself to look for the wines balance of acid, alcohol and tannin. Ideally, one will not over power the other and you'll have a sense of balance. Too much acid can cause an unpleasant tartness and too little may mean bring a flat taste. Too much alcohol may come off as too sweet, and biting when swallowed. An overabundance of tannins can make your mouth pucker.
- Record the Name
If you plan on making wine tasting a hobby, record on paper or on a cell phone the name of the wine as well as your impressions. If you, several years later, come back to that same wine you may notice that age has improved the taste - comparing over time can be a lot of fun.
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