For many of us we are self-proclaimed wine aficionados, I know I have my moments. If you are asking my family and friends, they will tell you I am their go-to for wine knowledge. Although, I think I speak for many of us when I say, "I don’t know nearly as much as I sound like I do." Quickly after starting at Fidelitas a few years back I soon realized the most I knew about wine was how to drink it and that I only drink wines from Washington. I have since come along way and picked up great knowledge from fellow staff members, our customers, and a little lite reading along the way.
This morning I had a lovely couple who was new to wine tasting, Red Mountain, and Fidelitas Wines. I was delighted to share a few educational tips that helped them not only during their visit but hopefully on their future tasting adventures. My favorite way to taste is to smell, sip, and savor.
SMELL! First things, first…swirl and smell the wine. Swirling the wine helps to open up the aromatics within a wine. Then, don’t be shy get in there and smell your wine. Don’t think large scale while smelling a wine, start small. Try and pick out categories, red fruits, spices, smokiness, etc. These are some great characteristics to help build range and memory association. For me the hardest part is placing what I am smelling to something I am familiar with.
SIP! My favorite part, now after you have smelled the wine go ahead and give it a try. Allow the wine to hit your taste buds and think about whether you are tasting bitterness, sweetness, sour, acidity, etc. For each wine this is different based on where it is grown, oak treatments, winemaker and all of that other fun stuff that plays apart in wine tasting.
SAVOR! Now spend some time thinking about the wine, did you like the finish? Was it to fruit forward? Was it bold or soft? The number one thing when wine tasting is to decide if it was enjoyable or not. In my opinion, this is the hardest part. It is so easy to fall into old patterns and buy what we are comfortable with, but remember that you are wine tasting and exploring new things while building your palate.
This time of year is perfect for wine tasting, there are new releases and fun things happening at almost every winery, get out there and explore! Also, in case you haven’t picked up or explored a copy of Wine Folly, it’s the perfect tool for every taster.