Sunday, November 28, 2004

Wine for dummies

This is a funny guide to wine tasting from the website for the movie Sideways....enjoy...

"Wine Tasting is an educated art that combines experience, knowledge and the cultured use of the three senses involved: sight, smell, and taste. Though it takes many years of practice to recognize certain wines and their area of origin solely by taste, once you know the basics of Wine Tasting, anyone can find it quite enjoyable.

As you begin your journey into the wonderful world of wine, it is recommended that you keep a journal of the various wines you taste. This way, you will not only remember what you have tasted, but you may also compare it to other wines, track wines that you purchase or would like to purchase, and have a resource when describing wines to others in a pseudo-educated and pretentious way. If you so choose, you may also save wine bottle labels to remind you of the wine bottle appearance if you are searching for it later, since you may have been in a drunken stupor while initially viewing the wine bottle.

Make sure that your materials and environment are ideally suited for tasting. Your tapered wine glasses should be dry, clean and not washed in detergent, which may distract from the wine's aroma and flavor. The ideal tasting environment is a light-filled neutral setting, free of distracting odors such as a call girl's perfume or scented candles. It would also be helpful to have a white backdrop to hold the wine up against to gain a neutral perspective of the wine's color. Your best buddy's dirt-free white t-shirt will do just fine. You should not eat before tasting, as the flavors of your food may affect the tasting experience. Always taste white wines first, then ros├ęs, then reds.

The Process: Sight, Aroma & Flavor
1) Spit out your gum into an appropriate trash receptacle.

2) Fill the glass to 1/3 full with your chosen wine.
No more, no less.

3) Hold the glass up at a 45 degree angle and examine the wine against the light and look for color and clarity. White wines start off on the light side with a straw or greenish hue, and as it ages, it becomes a dark golden or even brown color. Red wines are dark purple-red, and as they age, they can become a lighter red-brick to brown. The wine should be clear and bright, not cloudy or hazy.

4) Swirl the glass. Visually observe the body of the wine, and check for "Good legs," which may indicate a thicker body and a higher alcohol content or sweetness level. Swirling also releases the aroma of the wine or "bouquet."

5) Now stick your nose in your glass (don't be afraid to get in there) and smell the wine in a deep yet gentle whiff. The smell of a wine is called its "nose." Contemplate the condition (gentle, musty, earthy), intensity (weak or full) and character (fruit or flower) of the smell and make a note of it. Your nose is more sensitive than your mouth, and can pick-up on subtleties. Therefore, spend as much time as necessary determining the intricacies of what you smell.

6) The taste of the wine is known as its "palate," which you will determine next. Take a small mouthful and allow the wine to hit every part of your mouth, enveloping all of your taste buds. Don't be embarrassed to swish around a bit like you are using mouthwash. Check for Sweetness/Dryness, Acidity, Tannin, Weight or Body and Fruit.

7) Use your spittoon to discard the wine from your mouth, so that your mouth can contemplate the aftertaste. Or swallow if you're secretly seeking a nice buzz.

8) Take a moment and think about the experience of the taste, including your first impressions, the flavors while it was in your mouth, and the aftertaste. Make a note of these thoughts.

9) You are now on your way to becoming a wine connoisseur."