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Wine Tasting 101

Aug 17, 2007
What's that? Never been wine tasting before? Well, prepare yourself for a life-changing experience, that is for sure. And even if you have been before, you know that the whole idea of wine and wine tasting just gets better the more times you engage in it. Wine is truly one of mans greatest pursuits and pleasures. After all, it's been around for centuries and is enjoyed by cultures around the globe, in every corner of the world. And whether art or science, wine tasting and wine tasters can always use a few tried and true tips so the next tasting experience is the best ever. Learning a bit more about the whole thing can deepen your appreciation for both wines and winemakers. So when you go wine tasting, make sure you engage all of your senses: Look at the wine, smell the aromas, taste the grapes - start with the basics and expand from there. You'll be tasting like the pros in short order!

Here are some of the basics of Wine Tasting:

1. Pour a bit of wine into a suitable wine glass - not a cup or a plastic container. Glass is the best for wine. Take a good look at the wine. If it's a red, is the color maroon, purple, ruby, garnet, red or brownish? If it's a white, is it clear, straw-like, golden, light green, pale yellow or brown in appearance? Take notice of the color.

2. Now for the wine's opacity. Does it look clear, cloudy, transparent or opaque? Tilt your glass just a little and give the wine a little swirl. Be sure to notice the color and clarity after you swirl. Do you see any sediment or bits of cork? A big, thick red like Cabarnet or Petite Syrah will almost stain the glass because of the rich fruit and tannins. An older red wine will be more translucent than a younger red wine.

3. To get a good feel for the wine's complete aroma you'll need to gently swirl your glass again. What does this do? It enhances the wine's natural aromas and helps you pick up on the subtleties in the glass. Take a good long whiff of it. You want to really take it in!

4. Now is the time for the all important step. With your nose way down into the glass, inhale deeply through your nose. What so you smell now? Perhaps oak, berry, flowers, vanilla or grass? A wine's aroma is a perfect indicator of its quality and unique characteristics.

5. Finally, take the all important first taste. Start with just a small sip and then let it roll around your tongue. After gathering your initial impression of the wine, allow a little breath of air in through your lips. Let the wine mingle with the air. What does this do? It allows you to taste flavors more fully. Reds will often have berry, woody and bell pepper tastes. White wines will often have apple, floral or citrus flavors.

6. Then there's the Finish - This is how long the flavor lasts after it is swallowed. If it lasted several seconds, it was probably a big red. If not, it may have been a light white, but not necessarily. Wine is very complex.

So, that it - the wine tasting process, from start to finish!
About the Author
(c) 2006 California Dreamin, offers hot air balloon rides and biplane rides since 1977. Featuring sunrise flights in the Temecula valley wine country and sunset flights over the Del Mar coastal valley. To take a flight, contact http://www.californiadreamin.com/ or (800) 373-3359
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