How to taste the wine

How to taste the wine

So, do you know the difference between "tasting" and "drinking"?

As I wrote before, wine tasting is done with a purpose: to discover new flavors and wines, wineries or places where wine is made, to tell stories about all this and to spend time with other wine lovers.

This means that during a tasting you drink a little of several types of wine. You don't drink quantitatively, but drink to enjoy the flavors, to understand them, to discuss them, to spend quality time with friends and to relax.

(And that also means NOT drinking because you are upset or you want to get drunk. To be clear from the beginning).

Let's continue to see together how you taste the wine. I chose for this exercise a Fetească Neagră (Black Maiden) 2017 from the Individo collection from Château Vartely Winery.

Let me start with a summary of what I am going to tell you:

  • how you open the wine
  • choosing the glass (glasses)
  • how and how much wine do you pour into the glass
  • how you hold the glass in your hand
  • how you look at the wine: color, clarity
  • how you aerate the wine
  • how to smell the wine
  • how to taste
  • what do you do with the wine left in the bottle.

How to open the wine: depending on the hood, the wine can be unwrapped either by opening it lightly or by using the small knife that accompanies the corkscrew. In the case of the wine in the picture, it opens easily, the hood having this type of opening.

After removing the cap, the cork is easily removed with a corkscrew.

How to choose a glass: depending on the wine you are going to taste, you can use either special tasting glasses that are suitable for all types of wine (the only "inconvenience" is that you can put a maximum of 25 ml of wine in them) or glasses suitable for each type of wine. I will come back with an article dedicated to glasses but until then you can get an idea about glasses from the image below.

In the case of red wine I will use a glass of red wine (wide bowl glass), but also a tasting glass to make it easier to realize the difference.

In the picture with the 3 glasses below we have this (from left to right): glass of red wine, glass of white wine, certified tasting glass.

How and how much wine you pour into the glass: first of all, when you pour the wine into the glass, be careful to pour it slowly so that the wine does not "jump" beyond the glass. The glass of wine is always filled to the most convex area to allow the wine to breathe. Moreover, if you pour the wine into the correct glass, you will have enough space to aerate the wine in circular motions without it slipping out of the glass. If you notice that you can't turn the glass enough without the wine spilling, it means that you poured too much wine in that glass.

How to hold the glass in your hand: although there are also wine glasses without a stem(leg), the most common and recommended ones are the glasses that have a stem. The reason is simple: in order not to heat the wine in the glass (it is served at different temperatures depending on the type of wine; example: sparkling wine and white wines at 6-8 degrees Celsius; red wine at most 16 degrees Celsius), you mush hold it by the stem either by the base and never by the bowl.

Never keep the glass of wine by the bowl - the wine will get warm and it will not be ideal for drinking.

There is only one situation in which the glass of wine can be held by the bowl: when the wine is too cold (for example a red wine that has 10 degrees Celsius) and you want to bring it to a slightly higher temperature in a short time.

How to look at the wine: when you look at the wine in the glass you look for clarity and color. A clear wine indicates that the wine is correctly made and shows no trace of fermentation (the opposite would be to find a cloudy wine in the glass), as for the color is a longer story: there is a color palette for each white wine, rose and red, the color being given by the type of grape and the degree of aging (ex. a yellow-green wine indicates a fresh white wine, while a dark yellow wine indicates an older white wine and usually , more complex).

The color of the wine is best seen looking at a white background, as in the image below.

How to aerate the wine: there are several ways. The simplest way is to aerate the wine in the glass - after pouring the wine into the glass (be careful not to exceed the limit mentioned above!) Hold the glass by the stem and rotate it a little so that the wine in the glass also rotates. The movement should be quite slow and the easiest is done from the wrist. You can do the same thing by holding the glass on the base and not on the stem, only in this case the movement of the wrist is less noticeable because you have to hold the glass firmly so as not to drop it. Another method of aerating the wine is to place the glass on the table, hold it on the base and rotate it slightly supporting the table base. Most of the time I noticed that those who are at the beginning of the road in wine prefer this last option.

The wine is also aerated when you pour it into the glass (it comes into contact with the air when you pour it). There is also the possibility to use an aerator that you put on the neck of the bottle before pouring the wine into the glass. At the same time, there is the possibility of aerating the wine in a decanter, and this is mainly recommended for red wines older than 3 years that need to "breathe" more to release their aromas.

How to smell the wine: One of the main components of a wine's analysis is the smell. In the specialized language, the smell is called "nose" so it is possible to find expressions such as "first nose" (the first time you smelled the wine - usually before aerating it in the glass) or "in the nose I smell aromas like..." . As the smell is as important as the taste to fully understand a wine, the step of smelling the wine before tasting it is essential.

To smell the wine you have to bring the glass close to your nose and smell it. The next step is to get even closer to the wine and smell with your nose in the glass. It is good to aerate the wine first and then smell it because that aeration releases the aromas of the wine. The glass in which you have the wine also matters: you will feel aromas of different intensity when you have a universal tasting glass and when you have a glass suitable for the type of wine analyzed at that moment.

How to taste the wine: yes, I know this is the most interesting part! But every step described so far is important for the experience you have by the end.

When you taste the wine you have to take a mouthful of wine so that you can move the wine a little through your mouth to realize the flavors (we all know that we feel different aromas on different parts of the tongue for example), then swallow it. Depending on each person, the amount of a mouthful of wine differs, but I can tell you for sure that in a universal tasting glass (from the small one you find in a few photos in this article) that contains at most 50ml of wine are enough "mouths" to understand that wine.

What to do with the wine left in the bottle: depending on how much wine you tasted and if you did it alone or with several friends, it is possible that in some cases there will still be wine in the bottle. What to do with it? You keep it for the next day, obviously, but if you put back the cock with which it was covered at the beginning, it won't be enough. The wine in the bottle has already come into contact with the air and in this case the air will only disperse the aromas - the next day it is possible that a good part of the aromas to dissapear. So I recommend using a temporary stopper but not of any kind, but with vacuum. There are several companies that produce temporary rubber stoppers and air pumps that get the air out of a bottle (I use the ones from Vacu vin). It looks like in the picture below and they are very easy to use: put the rubber stopper on the mouth of the bottle, then put the pump on top of the stopper and drag the air until it makes a small noise (it sounds like a “crr - crr”). At this point, the air from the bottle has been removed and the wine can be stored in the refrigerator. When you want to drink that wine it will be enough to press the proeminent area on the top of the stopper to one side, you will hear a "fss", the air will enter the bottle and you can now remove the stopper (if you do not do this and remove the stopper directly, the stopper will make a louder sound while the air comes out).

If you wonder how long the wine can be kept in the refrigerator with this type of stopper, I can tell you that at least a week is ok. I tried wines after 3 days and after 2 weeks, in both cases the bottles were very well closed and I found the same flavors in the glass as I remembered.


Carmina Nițescu & Winesday App
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