Wine is a pleasure anyone can enjoy. Novices and professionals alike sip wine in Napa and Sonoma on wine tours and tastings designed for as many purposes. But there are a few technical tasting procedures that can enhance and deepen your enjoyment and understanding of any wine. From the moment you lay eyes on the wine and through the finish, these are a few of the key elements to tasting wine in a skilled and controlled manner.
The first necessity to start wine tasting is the wine glass itself. While there are a multitude of wine glasses available, one stands head and shoulders above the rest, Riedel Crystal. Eleven generations have produced the world’s finest wine glass in Austria since 1756. In general, the tulip shaped glass is ideal to allow the aromas to gather in the wide part near the bottom, while focusing the aroma towards your nose at the top. Now we look at is the color of the wine with a plain white background with the dramatic swirling of the wine in a glass. Obviously, we can determine if the wine is red or white, but swirling gives us a better look at the depth and texture of the colors. We can compare deeper more opaque wines to lighter, more transparent wines to determine it’s age and weight. Also, looking at the tears or legs, can help you determine how alcoholic.
After the color and swirling, we arrive at the tasting portion and can consider three more basic steps. Smelling, tasting and savoring, which could be the most enjoyable part of any Napa or Sonoma tour and tasting. We determine subtle differences between blueberries and blackcurrants, fresh sawdust or rich oaky vanilla aromas in the nose. On the palate, the nose is still working while the mouth is processing information about acids, tannins, sweetness and the balances between them. Acids can cause a pleasant pucker like a Meyer Lemon or Key Lime, a sensation found in Merry Edwards’ Sauvignon Blanc. Tannins coat your tongue and cheeks, leaving the chalky feel often associated with Napa Valley’s legendary Cabernet Sauvignons. Cardinale’s Cabernets exhibit this texture and subsequent aging potential. More rare but found in many wines, is sweetness, which is perceived as the rich texture in a dessert wine. Called liquid gold Far Niente’s Dolce is considered one of the finest examples of dessert wines in the world.
The conclusion of these analysis is quality, and most importantly, if you like it!
Flavor and aroma in wine can be very complex, but there is a useful tool called The Wine Aroma Wheel which can help you find definition in your description of wine. Your evaluation could lead you to like a wine that reminds you of a specific memory. Some Chardonnays smell like baked apple, which could remind you of Grandma’s famous apple pie, for example. Repeating this practice during wine tasting can lead you to knowing your own preferences for wine, which will enhance your love of wine in general.
Wine tours and tastings in Napa and Sonoma Counties can teach anyone to love wine. If you already know what you like and are looking for more, or you want to immerse your senses with new experiences, Beau Wine Tours offers private tours and tastings can take you from north to south in Sonoma and Napa. Book limitless options with us today!
Enjoy and in depth discussion of how to taste wine below.