I just finished the move Bottle Shock and it was soooo great! I would consider myself an aspiring wine-o, and honestly wouldn't have it any other way. I think it's the complexity that I love. What other beverage has layers of flavor that divulge themselves through the nose, different groups of taste buds, the way it interacts with oxygen, and the lingering aftertaste? The whole things is an entire, beautiful experience.
It took me awhile to appreciate wine, and even longer to appreciate the reds. I think my downfall was expecting the taste to be one-dimensional, like pop, beer, or juice. However, working at a winery taught me to approach wine with a whole 'nother attitude. As I learned to fully experience each glass of wine from swirl to swallow, it's as if an entire world opened to me! No wonder there are so many fans of wine that span back through the centuries. It is a truly beautiful drink! So, in honor of this wine-loving spirit, I'm going to write a little something about how to fully experience this "nectar of the gods."
At Brugdorf's, we use the five S's to guide our guests in their tasting: See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip, and Savor.
There are much more colors than red, pink, and white. While these three colors can be considered the "primaries" of wine, each has it's own multitude of tones (just like there's light blue, dark blue, topaz, indigo, cyan, etc.) And the colors can mean things about the wine, like prevalence of oak or sweetness, but not necessarily. We tell our guests at the winery that the single most important thing to do in wine tasting is to leave your expectations and prejudices at the door. EVERY wine is different! So look at the color, tip the glass slightly and hold it up to the light. Note the color variations within the liquid.
Gently swirl the wine in your glass. This allows oxygen to mingle with the wine and pulls the flavor out to prepare for the next step.
Stick your nose deep into the glass and take a big whiff. Your nose plays a pivotal role in tasting anything, so be sure it incorporate those Olfactory glands. This is where some people can sense a big handful of the flavors and prep their tongues for what's to come.
Take a small sip of the wine. Don't swallow it yet! Hold it in your mouth and let it roll all over your tongue. Slurp some oxygen into it to pull out more of the flavors and let it warm to your body temperature. See what flavors you can find - oak, cherry, pepper, grapefruit, clove, etc. The flavors are limitless and can range from prominent to subdued.
Mmmmmm, swallow the wine and just take a moment to let the entire taste fade. Some wines have an extremely strong aftertaste while others disappear from your palette like water. Think about how the wine interacted with you. Did it remind you of a place or memory? Does it make you want a certain food? Think about it, and enjoy it!
While I don't do this whole process with every sip of wine I have, I do go through it with the first few sips. And why not? What's to be lost in exploring the intricacies of wine for a few minutes? Well, except your worries ;)
I guarantee there are wineries near you, wherever you are. And each region will have different flavors, so go explore! Also, don't limit yourself to simply grape wines. People have made wine out of pretty much ANY fruit or berry. Even from dandelions! Try everything you get the chance to, you never know which will be your favorite.
Hope you all enjoyed this, and happy tasting!