How To Bring Out The Best In Your Wine
Ever thought there was something missing from your wine when you drink it but can’t just seem to put your finger on it? Sit back and relax as we help you open up your senses to the world of fine wine. This simple guide will help you broaden your horizon to wine preservation and preparation and how to bring out the best in your wine. It also seeks to provide you with a better perspective on the discovery of your palate for wine.
To further assist you on your wine exploration, you can click on an item on the table below.
- 1 Firing Up Your Senses on Wine Tasting
- 2 Discovering Ways on How to Taste Wines
- 3 The Concept of “Good Wine” for Wine Newbies
- 4 Determining Wine Flaws
- 5 Wine and It’s Varieties
- 6 The Wine Producing Regions of the World “Old World Vs New World”
- 7 Reading the Wine Labels
- 8 Making Your Wine Purchase
- 9 Wine Serving Essentials
- 10 Final Word
Firing Up Your Senses on Wine Tasting
Wine tasting, like your most loved hobbies or sports, is more than just a past time. It is a lifestyle, a passion and an art that in order for you to discover its wonders you must fully understand it’s every detail. Honing your skills in this particular type of endeavor may sound challenging. However, with your innate love for the intricacies of wine, I see no reason why you would not want to discover ways on how to effectively use your senses in wine tasting.
Like your favorite sports, learning how to taste wine takes more than just “talent”. It is therefore important that you strengthen your skills. The more you sharpen your skills in wine tasting, the deeper you appreciate your wine and those people behind it. You may find it quite daunting at first but I assure you, this is a good pay-off between “hard work” and pleasure.
Discovering Ways on How to Taste Wines
If you think that wine tasting solely rests on the ability of your taste buds to determine and isolate flavours then you may be a little off-track. Wine tasting requires interplay of both your ability to sniff it’s aroma and savor it’s fine taste.
You may find it surprising but your nose is essential to a more effective wine tasting experience. To prove this, try sipping a glass of wine with your nose covered and you’ll notice that it’s taste is more subtle than the usual.
You see, the absence of the sense of smell has a direct link on your ability to taste. Henceforth there is a need to fine tune your flavor sniffing skills for you to perfectly distinguish the differences between the varieties of wines.
There’s really no right or wrong in doing this. You have the freedom to choose exactly how it is done. You can develop your own procedure and find out what works best for you. However, there are certain guidelines that you need to apply to develop this skill with precision and accuracy.
Firstly, you need to be focused and meticulously systematic. Whenever you have a glass of wine try moving away from distractions and channel your attention to the wine you’re tasting. Use your senses and focus deeply on its appearance, aroma, taste and finish. Keep in mind that not all wines are analysed in exactly the way. As you deepen your love for wine you’ll discover different ways of evaluating them.
You can start by having your own approach and consistently following it whenever you are having a drink. You can have your rules altered or changed at any point as needed. Just make sure you take note of these changes to help you analyze exactly what works well each time.
For further information on Wine Tasting, be sure to read my post titled “How to Wine Taste Like a Pro” by clicking here.
The Concept of “Good Wine” for Wine Newbies
Most people are under the impression that any wine that tastes good is good. True, but only for those who are merely into enjoying their wine and not into intricately savoring its fine flavor and aroma. If your goal is just to have a good wine tasting experience then by all means finding something that you like might just be enough.
But there is more than just liking your wine. It’s just one of the many components you need to consider in wine tasting. It should never be the sole basis of your judgment as wine tasting requires deeper understanding and thorough evaluation.
Knowing how to taste your wine properly will help you distinguish their flavor and structure whenever you have them. It will help you increase your familiarity with wines that even with just a sip you can define it’s characteristics. You can even possibly tell from what wine producing region they came from. It can also help you quickly identify flaws in so-so and bad wines.
Determining Wine Flaws
As you know wines are delicate beverages. Just one mistake on storage or on its manufacture is more than enough to destroy its delectable taste. There are quite a handful of bad wines out there that you yourself may have gotten a taste. They are not necessarily those that are sold cheaply in the market. There are also some expensive wines that taste really bad you may want to get a refund or have them replaced.
There are different reasons why some wines don’t taste as good as the others. Such flaws are results of either bad wine making or poor storage. The question is how can you exactly find out whether the wine you’re having is good or bad? Whenever you dine, you can’t always expect your servers to know and to check on the wine you are about to have. You are the one who needs to approve it.
This is where your knowledge on wine tasting will come to play. If you know your wines as much as you know the scent of your favourite perfume, you can easily identify some faults in your wine that it is much easier for you to send it back and get a replacement.
Wine and It’s Varieties
Being a budding wine lover yourself, I assume you already know the differences between red and white wines. But I hope you are well aware that apart from red and white, there are a variety of wine types and its varietals. Let me help you explore the different wines from the different wine producing regions of the world with this simple and easy to follow guide.
The Wine Producing Regions of the World “Old World Vs New World”
As you know, wines are produced in almost all corners of the world. These countries can fall under two different categories namely “Old World” and “New World”.
The “Old World” is consists of countries with long histories of wine production. These regions are Europe and the Mediterranean. Among the world renowned wine producing countries within these regions are France, Italy and Germany. These regions produce their wines applying the concept of terroir. It considers the unique make up of their soil and climate in growing their grapes.
The “New World” on the other hand consists of nations with hotter climates and uses a different labeling method. You can find their wines labeled with grapes instead of the region for recognition purposes. Among the countries that belong to the “New World” are the U.S, Australia and Chile.
It will be of great help on your part if you familiarize yourself with the major wine producing g regions of the world and the types of grapes they are known for:
Most Popular Regions and Grapes
|France||Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Syrah, Viognet, Chardonnay|
|Italy||Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Moscato, Pinot Grigio|
|United States||Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel|
|Chile||Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc|
|Germany||Riesling, Gewurtztraminer, Sylvaner|
|Spain||Tempranillo, Albarino, Garnacha, Palomino|
|New Zealand||Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir|
|South Africa||Pinotage, Chenin Blanc|
Reading the Wine Labels
For wine beginners, reading a wine label can be quite confusing. Fortunately the New World wine producing countries have found a way to make it easier for wine beginners. You can find the grape listed on their wine labels so that wine drinkers would know exactly where it has been made.
The Old World on the other hand, has let its consumer’s familiarity on the regions decipher what they are having. A good example would be that Red Burgundy is in fact a Pinot Noir.
Here is a good example.
Old World Label
Château Moulin de Grenet 2009 Lussac Saint-Émilion
New World Label
Cakebread 2006 Merlot, Napa Valley
You may notice that the French wine lists “Saint-Émilion “. If the consumer is well aware of the regions and its varietals then they would know that wines from Saint-Émilion are mostly Merlot. On the other hand, the wine from Napa California has the region and the grape variety listed on its label.
The labels on New World wines are indeed much easier to understand, but if you further develop your familiarity with wine, you will get used to all the wine varietals, including those that are produced by the Old World.
The Old World countries are slowly contemplating the need to reach out to their consumers. It’s an important step they need to take in order to compete on the global market. That being the case, you still need to learn how to read wine labels. After all it is among the most useful skill every wine lover must possess.
What to Look for In Wine Labels
Here are some of the most important peripherals of a wine label. Their placements may vary but since you probably know exactly what to look for, they should be easy to spot:
- Alcohol Percentage
You can find these extras but are optional:
- Tasting Notes
- Quality Level : AOC, DOC etc.
Once you familiarize yourself with the basics of wine labels then you will be able to read more complex labels such as those of Germany’s Rieslings.
Making Your Wine Purchase
Today that we live in the digital age, sourcing wine has never been easier. You can go to your localwine shop and make your purchase or you can just sit right in front of your computer and have them delivered to your doorstep.
Although most wines can be bought online and can be shipped directly to the consumer, not all states approve of this method due to different interstate policies. Some states have stricter laws on wine being shipped to them. That being the case you will have no choice but to purchase your wine directly from a retail store.
Before you start collecting your wine, you need to develop your skills in wine tasting. As they always say “practice makes Perfect”, so take every opportunity to wine taste and determine what type of wine you like. When dining out or socializing with friends, family and colleagues, be permissive and open to trying out different varieties. Nothing will educate you better on wine varieties other than tasting them.
Wine Serving Essentials
Now that you are fully equipped with the basic know-hows of wine tasting, let me bring your knowledge to the next level of your journey by drinking it.
In order to get the most out your wines, they should be served in their optimum condition. Optimum condition simply means that they are served in their absolute best. Remember that to get the best taste out of your wines; always follow these three precepts, glassware, temperature and preservation.
As mentioned, wines are delicate beverages. It should be savored with all your senses working as a whole. Wine glasses are shaped as such for a particular purpose and so as to highlight it’s distinct characteristics. A wine glass directs wine to key areas of your nose and tongue where you can get its full flavor and aroma.
Although wine can be served in any glass, nothing beats the taste of those that are served in wine glasses specifically designed for each wine type. It would surely be a great thing to invest in specific wine glasses, so you can get the most out of your wine tasting experience.
It is known fact that different types of wine should be stored and served at different temperatures. There are some who mistakenly serve their wine either too cold or too warm. You see, most wines are very temperature specific. They need to be cooled to a certain temperature where their flavor and aroma are enhanced.
Here are some keys to properly serve your wines at their correct temperature:
|Wine Serving Temperatures|
|Champagne, Sparkling and Dessert Wine||40oF|
|Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio||45-48oF|
|Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz||64-66oF|
Although you may find this guide helpful, it would really only help you a lot if you have a thermometer on hand. If you don’t have one, then perhaps you should consider investing in one.
How to do Some Guesswork on Service Temperature
When a thermometer is unavailable, you can use some techniques or a little guesswork with regard to serving temperatures. White wines are generally chilled before they are served. They should be between a refrigerator temperature of 40°F and storage temperature of 55°F.
Your red wines on the other hand should be given a little time to warm up. They should be served at a temperature between storage and room temperature which can be as high as 70°F.
Now if your wines are within a temperature controlled unit of around 53-57°F, you can have your white wines sit inside a refrigerator for half an hour before serving and your reds taken out of storage 30 minutes prior to serving. These simple techniques will allow your reds to slightly warm up and your whites to chill perfectly inside your fridge.
Now if you don’t have a wine cooler or a wine refrigerator of your own and have been keeping your wine at room temperature or in a kitchen fridge, then you need to change this if you want to get the most out of your wine tasting experience.
So throw your reds in the fridge for 30 minutes prior to serving and take your whites out of your refrigerator for about half an hour. You also need to remember that dessert wines, sparkling wines and rosés are best served at a colder temperature than your white wines.
For further information on Wine Coolers you can read my post titles “How To Determine The Right Wine Refrigerator For Your Needs” by clicking here.
Once you have opened your wine bottle or had it uncorked, it comes into contact with air thus easily oxidizes and quickly spoils. It is always best to consume a bottle of wine once opened but if you are left with no choice but to save it for the following days then you can slow down oxidation by sucking out excess air inside the bottle. You can quickly vacuum the air inside. Remember air content is inversely proportional to oxidation. The less air there is inside your wine bottle, the slower the oxidation thus the longer the lifespan.
Regardless of whether you are a social wine drinker or a wine connoisseur, there is nothing worse than poor tasting wine. You can liken it to drinking warm flat beer or soda.
Wine makers go to extreme lengths to produce and bottle wine for you to store in a particular way in order to maintain it’s structure and taste.
Expensive wines can be ruined and your money wasted if they are not prepared and served according to the guidelines for the particular type of wine.
Like anything, if you are going to enjoy the most of your experience and value for money, it is advisable to treat wine with the respect it deserves. It will reward you over and over for the effort.