Welcome to ELR Wine 101 Part II: Wine Tasting For Dummies!
So by now we know we all love to DRINK wine and are excited to play around pairing different wines with different meals. But how do you go into a professional (or not so professional) situation and actually taste wine? Many wine stores have FREE tastings and that is, in my opinion, the number one best way to experience wine and learn more about it. To learn, you must drink!
A professional tasting may seem daunting at first but its really a piece of cake. The big secret? Just ACT like you know what you are doing! If you go in there confident and sure of yourself, you will be just fine. You don’t have to know anything at all about wine to go to a tasting….that is where you learn! Honestly, the first wine tasting I have ever been to happened only last summer when I met Kath and her husband in Asheville!
Here are the three steps that I learned in culinary school on how to properly taste wine.
1. When the glass of wine is placed in front of you, rotate your glass on the table to swirl the wine gently. Pick up the glass and stick your nose in it. Yes, totally! You really want to get the full aroma of the wine so you can sound intellectual and say, “oh! This smells like a meadow of wildflowers in late Spring!” Just kidding. Well you could say that if you want but you could also just guess at different fruits you think you smell. Popular ones include apple, pear, tropical fruits, cherries and blackberries.
2. After you smell the wine, taste it. Notice I didn’t say GULP. Take a medium-sized sip and swoosh it around in your mouth (not violently like mouthwash, more in a gentle manner). Now comes the funny part: open your lips just a tiny bit and actually draw some air into your mouth. I liken this to pretend like you are sucking through a straw.
3. Swallow the wine or politely spit it out. If you go to a wine tasting there will always be a little bucket where you can spit your wine. Sounds sort of gross and it actually IS sort of gross but its very tacky to go to a wine tasting totally wasted, which is what you will become if you swallow every time.
Wine tastings are A LOT of fun! If you don’t know where to start, I recommend just doing a generic google search of wine tastings in your area. Like I said, most times they are free AND (score!) have free food. What are you waiting for?! Your homework tonight is to find one for this weekend to go to!