Wine can be expensive but it doesn’t have to be because a great glass of wine doesn’t have to cost to be expensive! And price, should never determine one’s taste buds. Your taste buds determine what you like.
As much as I love wine, I would never recommend you go out and blindly buy a bunch of wines; no matter how low the cost just to vary your wine collection. And in part 2 we asked and answered how one goes about tasting new wines? By tasting them. But how does one taste? There is a method to the madness and while it may seem so, the 3 S’s all have a purpose and pretension is not one of those purposes.
We’ve all seen the television shows and ads; the person (usually a man) pours a minimal amount of liquid in the glass, swirls it around, holds it up to the light, sticks his prominent nose in the glass so far, he almost inhales liquid through his nostrils and sips. He then proceeds with an exaggerated chewing motion and swallows. He then gives us his prolific assessment of the most complex Syrah with its peppery layers and grassy finish! Voila, huh?
The good news is yes we should use that technique, the better news is that it is much simpler than that.
3 S’s: Swish, Smell & Sip
1) Swish: pour a minimal amount of liquid into the glass. Not good on measurements? I’d recommend a smidge more than a shot. The swirl or swish it around in the glass. Don’t be afraid to really swirl it. Why:
· You want to view the color: this allows you to imprint the color of the wine on your brain for description purposes later and/or leave you with a clue about wines, you like and dislike.
· Color adds to your database
· You want to open the aroma of the wine; prepare your nose to smell it. Swirling encourages the breathing of the wine i.e. mixes air with liquid to release the fragrance
2) Smell: An important step in the experience of the wine. Notice I use the word smell instead of sniff. To sniff implies to take a polite whiff. I want you to stick your nose right in the glass. Really inhale and think about what you smell: flowers, earth, wood, fruit.
· Aromas give you clues as to whether you like or may dislike that wine
· It adds to the experience
· Aromas are imprinted on your brain and adds to your database
· Gives you an idea of what you are about to taste
Hint: Some teachers will say you experience wine with your nose first. I disagree. You experience wine with your mind first. You have to open your mind for the experience. If you adamantly refuse to try something new or you are fixed on a taste in your mind good, bad or indifferent, the actual experience probably won’t happen and if it does, your mind probably won’t be changed.
3) Sip: The reason why you’re doing this in the first place. Let the liquid sit on your tongue. If you are tasting (a) wine for the very first time and/or you are a novice, literally chew the wine for about 10seconds. Why:
· You want the wine to hit all sides of your mouth so you can identify the different flavors
· Tasting determines if this wine fits with your taste buds, the mood and/or the atmosphere
· Plain and simple tasting determines if you like the wine
Finally the entire swish, smell & sip process takes about 30-45 seconds in total. After the process, take a moment to think about what you just experienced, then decide if this wine is for you or not. Again, don’t force it. If you like it, you like it. If you don’t, try the next. Remember you taste wine with your mind first, and you finish with your mind as well─knowing just a little more than you did previously…. Until Next Time...Cheers!
Next up... Pt. 4 Tastings, how to find them and hot spots in your local area!