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Wine tasting is a unique and enjoyable experience. Whether you’re hosting one at your home or scouting some of your area’s best winemakers and vineyards, a wine sampling can help you further enhance your tastes and preferences.
To help you get the most out of your wine tasting experience, we’re discussing six helpful tips and tricks.
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of executing your own wine tasting or participating in one is taking the time and effort to plan for the experience. If you’re hosting your own, make sure you decant certain wines – especially red varieties – and give them a fair amount of time to breathe before the event. This process both separates the sediment that may have accumulated in the bottle, while also allowing the wine to react with oxygen to bring out its full taste and body.
If you’re visiting various vineyards in one day or participating in a longer event such as a wine dinner, be sure to account for the amount of time you’ll spend at each location. You should also consider the distance between the different wineries and plan an itinerary that makes the most sense.
A standard tasting pour can vary from one to three ounces. That being said, if you pour more than this amount per glass, the alcohol you’re consuming could add up quite quickly. The idea of a wine tasting is simply that – to taste the various wines for flavor, body, tannins, and astringency. Make sure to drink responsibly, and to have a designated driver if you’ll be traveling to multiple vineyards.
While you are certainly allowed to enjoy wine in the way that you see fit, there are a few techniques that can help elevate your wine tasting experience. Ideally, your tasting should follow a specific, three-step procedure. First, swirl and sniff the wine. Next, take two sips, and roll the wine around your tongue. After this, you can either spit out or swallow the wine. This technique allows you to fully immerse yourself in the wine’s flavor profile. Sip too quickly, and you may miss out on a key element of its taste.
When tasting wines, be sure to start with lighter varieties and progress to heavier ones towards the end of the tasting. If you begin with a heavier wine, it can mask or cover the more delicate flavor compounds that exist in lighter bottles. Therefore, it makes sense to start with white wines and slowly move to red wines as the tasting progresses.
In between tastings, it’s important to “reset” your palate with a swirl of water or a few bites of neutral foods, like crackers or bread. This will not only allow you to taste the next wine without lingering compounds on your palate, but snacking will also help fill your stomach. If you plan on partaking in a few different wine tastings or opening a few bottles at home, having a full stomach can allow you to taste without a sense of impairment.
Perhaps most importantly, remember to enjoy the experience. While there are a variety of different techniques to follow, it’s best to do what feels right for you to ensure you have the best wine sampling possible. You may even find a new bottle to add to your collection!