I believe wine captivates the mind so much because it's such a sensual drink. It offers up luxurious colors of the rainbow from ruby to gold, and all manner of shades in between. The aromas knit together glorious remembrances from our youth with all the details of our accumulated experiences. And the taste, well -- it's like a trip down a magical river. Each moment offers something new, and as a bottle is emptied it leads us on a wonderful journey.
So, how does one get the most out of each glass of wine? Well, it’s really quite simple, so grab a glass and follow along with this Snooth Wine 101 video as we taste like a pro!
About the AuthorGregory Dal Piaz is a proponent and admirer of a broad range of wines and styles. During his decades of collecting and tasting he has discovered that a wine need not cost a fortune to drink well. Feel free to ask him questions at the Snooth Forums where he regularly engages with beginners and experts alike.
Two tricks of the tradeA Good Swirl
Swirling wine helps to release all its complex perfumes. If you have a good glass, swirling is easy, especially once you get the hang of it. Check out our short video for a tip to get you started.
UC Davis Aroma Wheel
The UC Davis aroma wheel is an indispensible tool to help you discover and identify what you smell and taste in a wine. These can be purchased directly from the school.
Well, I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, but let's go through the steps of wine appreciation. Take away as much or as little as you feel is necessary here. As you might guess, I am not always so diligent in my wine appreciation. In fact, as I have mentioned before, I can often be found drinking wine out of tumblers, since it seems like the only way for me to avoid being completely diligent! Give me water in a wine glass and you’ll find that I am inadvertently swirling and sniffing!
Ready. Set. Appreciate!You only need about 2 ounces of wine, hopefully in a 10 ounce or larger bowl, to get the most out of your wine. By pouring a modest amount you are able to discern colors more accurately and can really get the wine oxygenated quickly, allowing all the hidden aromas to appear.
1.) Take a LookThe first step in assessing a wine is to check out its color. Do this by placing the glass over a white surface and tipping the wine until you can see through the entire glass. Do not try and asses the color by holding it up to a light, as this will just allow any background color, including the color of the light bulb, to influence the wine’s color.
This is probably the least important step, and I rarely include comments about the color of a wine in my notes. Why? Well, primarily because it does little to convey anything meaningful about the wine. Some people like super-extracted dark wines, and for something like a Petite Sirah I would expect it. On the other hand, for a Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo, it fills me with concern, as these are naturally lightly-colored wines. I suppose one might be able to infer something about the style of wine by knowing the color, but the rest of my notes generally cover that ground, so adding a bit of information about a wine’s color doesn’t seem that important to me.
One thing that is important when checking out a wine’s color is to note its stage of development. As a wine ages, it loses pigment and what pigment remains generally takes on a brownish hue. If I see this change happening in a young wine, it’s worth mentioning as it can indicate issues with the wine, or bottle closure.