“Every single time you taste a glass of wine, it’s an opportunity to learn something new and sharpen your skills,” says Chase Brackenbury, Wine Ambassador at Liquor Depot.
If you’re new to the wonders of wine, or simply looking for a refresher, follow along as Chase walks us through the delightful art of wine tasting.
WHAT COLOUR IS YOUR WINE?
Congratulations! You’ve picked a bottle of wine and you’ve poured some into glasses for you and your guests. Now what? “Simply look at the wine,” Chase recommends. “Search for any clues that can indicate a sense of quality, age, and style.” It’s useful to look at the wine’s colour and concentration because normally red wine loses colour with age and gains a garnet, tawny rim. On the other hand, white wine gains yellow and golden hues with age.
WHAT’S THE WINE TRYING TO SAY?
Ever pour your favourite wine, only to be greeted with a musty, wet cardboard aroma? “It’s important to know that any wine with a natural cork is susceptible to cork taint, referred to as corked wine,” explains Chase. When this happens, Chase recommends that you exchange the bottle. When there’s no suspicious scent to a wine, it’s time to enjoy its pleasant aromas. Smelling wine requires the nose and mouth to work together. Chase points out that it’s crucial to leave our mouths open when inhaling the wine’s aromas.
A SWIRL MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE!
“If you’re having trouble picking up any distinct aromas, swirl the glass to open up surface area and volatize the esters of the wine,” suggests Chase. He points out that all wine has some degree of fruit on the nose – white wines vary in scent from green apple and lemon, to ripe peach or pineapple. On the other hand, red wines can range from cranberry or cherry, to cassis and dark plums. He points out that non-fruit aromas can range from vanilla, smoke, and baking spice. Interesting aromas, such as leather, tobacco, sage, grass, ginger, or honey, may be a sign of a specific varietal or the age of the bottle. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon typically smells and tastes like cassis, blackberry, bell pepper, and cedar. While, New World Chardonnay aromas are often described as being lemony, with rich butter and vanilla notes.
SIPPING IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART
Sipping wine is no small feat because so much happens! Chase explains that with red wine, it’s very important to make sure it reaches every corner of the mouth, including the gums and cheeks. White wine should always be swirled around the entire tongue (less focus on the gums as there aren’t normally the tannins that red wine has). What you taste and feel when you sip is the following: Sugar has no specific flavour, it’s just a sweet sensation detected on the tip of the tongue. If you’re experiencing a sort of mouth-watering down the sides of your tongue, you’re noticing the wine’s acidity. Tannin from red wine will normally dry out your gums and cheeks. And that heat you feel in your throat, that’s the alcohol.
ONLY ONE WAY TO SAVOUR THE FLAVOUR…
A wine’s individual flavours are tasted through the olfactory system (nose and mouth), though not on the tongue. Chase stresses the importance of keep the mouth open as much as possible to allow airflow and enhance the perceived flavours of a wine.
Interested to learn more? Speak to our Wine Ambassador, or attend our wine tasting events.