Monday, March 08, 2010

Virtual Vino: the 5 S's of Tasting

I love wine. I love wine tasting. But not because I'm a lush (well, maybe just a little).

There's a social side of wine that I've truly grown to love over the last few years. Being at a vineyard, amongst the grapes, is truly one of my favorite places to be in this whole world. I've never seen anything more beautiful. Sure, the ocean is amazing in all of its glory and power, but if I won the lottery, I'd move to wine country in a heartbeat. Anywhoooooo...

When I'm tasting wine with friends, I truly enjoy talking about flavors and the unique differences we all experience. I love how we can all taste something and say "that would go great with steak/fish/a summer salad/chicken." I also love how we can have a taste of something and say "this would be so and so's favorite." It's just fun!

Last week, I was invited over to a friend's house for an event with a private sommelier. It was a blast. But it was also educational...and today, I'm going to share the things I learned from her, with YOU!

The Five S's of Wine Tasting

First, start by looking at the color of your wine. Is it almost clear? Greenish golden? Buttery in color? The tone of the wine will help determine what kind of wine you're about to drink.

Swirl your glass around and look at how long it takes for the liquid to run down the glass again. If it's thick and kind of drips down, it has a different chemical equation and taste than if it's thinner. This is also known as the "legs."

After you've swirled your glass, the oxygen has opened up the notes and "bouquet" of the wine, so take a deep sniff. Stick your nose right on into the glass and determine the flavors you smell. Berries? Mellon? Grass? Pepper? Nothing is wrong and your sniffer will give your taster a heads up next.

Take a small sip, and determine if the notes you smelled are the ones you taste. Make an initial assessment.

Now, take a larger sip and roll the wine around your tongue. Make sure all your taste buds interact with the wine. Sometimes, the flavor will be stronger on the tip of your tongue, sometimes on the back; sometimes the acidity will react with the underside of your tongue, too. This is truly where you will determine if you like the wine and want to have a full glass. (A taste is usually just one to two ounces; a full glass of wine is 4 ounces.)

I hope you've enjoyed this first installment of Virtual Vino! I know that some people have challenges with alcohol, and I hope this doesn't offend anyone. I'm not talking about abusing it here, but enjoying it with friends!!!

Special thanks to my wine club girls (and Amy's dad, who was our special guest star). What started as a small group from church, ended in a wine club. Yes, Jesus turned water into wine, and we've taken his example and learned to enjoy it and fellowship with each other!!!


LoveFeast Table said...

You are totally speakin' my language! Ya know, a total fun tip...I took a French Wine Certification class at a local community college. It was for four nights, sampling wine and the sommelier broke it down to help take some mystery out! It's a great way to learn a bit more and taste amazing wines!

jsbh said...

"Yes, Jesus turned water into wine, and we've taken his example and learned to enjoy it and fellowship with each other!!!" ... so clever :) thanks for the tips.

Scraps said...

Sounds like a blast!

I have a wine tasting party on my list of to-dos for this year and at a recent home show met a rep for a wine company that does private tastings. So cool! It's sort of like Tupperware meets booze, since they're doing the wine tasting for free in hopes of moving some cases, but I still plan to use them for the party (just gotta warn the girls, hopefully it won't be a hard sell).

I love the decorated wine glasses in those pics!

Newlywed Next Door said...

I wish my small group would become a wine group! We have some teetotalers in our group, so I think that's unlikely. Will you adopt me? :)

Angry Julie Monday said...

You are such a you and totally jealous that you are at a photography event in Viva Lost Wages!