Learning how to un’wine’d
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Love wine, but not sure how to properly taste it? Follow these steps to learn how to sip like a pro.
Wine tasting is meant to be enjoyable and fun, not confusing and frustrating. John Farrish, a graduate assistant in the hotel management college said “Wine tasting involves all the senses and it is a way of putting objective terms with subjective impressions.”
“I love drinking wine. The little knowledge I do have of it is from serving it at my job on the Strip,” said Venessa Morfin, a biological science major at UNLV, “[but] I wish I knew how to describe what I’m tasting when I drink wine,” Morfin said.
Farrish, who teaches the New World Wine class at UNLV, said judging and describing wine can be done in a few steps.
1. Describe color of the wine.
This can be as simple as red or white, or more descriptive if you notice other colors. To judge a wine’s true color you need to have natural light. Holding it against a white backdrop helps.
2. There are a few rules of thumb to remember when looking at the colors of wine:
The first rule of thumb is that the intensity of the color often reflects the strength of the wine, with paler white wines being the lightest in flavor.
The second is to look at the clarity of the wine. If there is any peculiar matter in the wine it is either too old or needs to be decanted.
The third is to look at the legs on the inside of the glass. The legs of a wine are the streaks of wine that trickle down the glass after you swirl the wine around.
Typically, the longer and better the legs, the higher the wine’s alcohol content.
3. Next, swirl the wine around in the glass, a lot. Swirling the wine gets oxygen into the wine and also releases new aromas that you might not have picked up on first smell.
When trying to describe the aromas, go with your first instinct. Chances are you will be right.
Everyone may taste something different but most types have some characteristic tastes: varietals like sauvignon blancs tend to be fruity and melony, and cabernets are more oaky and smoky flavored.
4. Now you are ready to taste. There are three parts to tasting.
The first is the attack, how powerful the wine is and the sensations of the first five seconds. After the wine is in your mouth for a couple seconds, go ahead and slurp the wine in your mouth through the tongue. This also gets oxygen into the wine and can release new flavors.
The second is the middle palate, the taste should be evolving and the same or new sensations of the next 10 seconds.
The longer the wine is in your mouth, the warmer it will get. When wine changes temperature it also changes flavor, so keeping the wine in your mouth will awaken new flavors.
The last is the finish, the aftertaste after you swallow, how long the taste lingers and any new developing flavors.
5. The last thing to remember is to trust your instincts.
If you smell or taste a certain aroma or flavor, don’t second guess yourself. You are most likely right. Everyone’s palate is different.
“The best wine is the wine that you like,” Farrish said.
So get out there and find your favorite wine.