Wine is a wonderful addition to any meal. It’s flavorful, decadent and something many people enjoy (myself included). I, however, am not a professional when it comes to wine. I like it. I drink it. My husband and I have traveled to Napa and enjoyed the vineyards and I’m completely comfortable ordering a bottle at dinner and recognizing whether or not a glass in a restaurant comes from a bottle that’s been open more than a few days, but a professional I am not. However, I’ve always found the idea of learning to do a tasting like a professional appealing and it’s prompted me to research the process thoroughly.
As silly as it looks, the real professionals know that tasting wine involves allowing it to fill your taste buds. Literally. They actually swish it around their entire mouth, appearances be damned. If you find yourself at a wine tasting looking pretty and proper taking tiny sips of wine to taste the flavors, you’re doing it wrong. Treat it like your Listerine and swish like the cleanliness of your mouth depends on it.
I have a joke that I’d love to insert right here, but at the risk of offending the conservative I’ll just ask that you go ahead go there if you so choose – you know what I mean. To get to the point; as tempting as it is to sip and swallow it is not the appropriate way to taste wine. You have to spit. I know it sounds (1) gross and (2) like a waste, but that’s how it’s done. Rest assured that you can enjoy copious amounts (if you have a responsible ride home) with dinner after your tasting is over.
Pay Attention to Heritage
Just like any person, wine has a history and a heritage. If you are serious about learning how to taste like a pro, you have to know the history of the grape you are currently consuming. Ask questions, research where certain wines are cultivated and learn the terms. It’ll help you understand what you’re hearing on a tasting and eventually you’ll find yourself feeling pretty comfortable advising people where to find the best wines by region and what vintage is best.