Updated: Aug 18, 2021
Tasting wine can be confusing, how do you know you’re getting the best out of your glass? Do you sip before you swirl? Swirl before you sniff? Who knows? Well... Pete our Winemaker does! We quiz him yet again (lucky Pete), and share some helpful tips he's discovered along the way so you guys can look like Wine Masters too – from the comfort of your couch or a wine tasting sesh with the crew.
In the same way an artist starts with a blank canvas, our palate for wine tasting is best unaltered. If you want to get super fussy this means no food, coffee, gum, tobacco, etc. at least an hour before tasting any wine (toothpaste and Chardonnay doesn't taste too flash together!). Otherwise, chewing on a piece of bread can help remove any lingering flavours.
“A good palate cleanser can also be a crisp, cold lager – just saying - within moderation, of course. Plain crackers are good if you need a break between wines. You don’t need to get too serious about food, just stay away from any heavy spice, acidic sweet or strong flavoured foods prior to tasting. It does help to have an appetite as you begin tasting so your taste buds are on alert. Remember though that wine is also meant to be fun and enjoyed with food. You will find well matched food can unleash new aromas and flavours in both the wine and the food.” - Pete.
More Than Meets the Eye
Have you ever wondered why people hold their wine up to the light and intensely inspect the colour? There’s a good reason for that! Wine colour can tell you a lot about the condition of the wine; most importantly how fresh it is. If you’re tasting a bottle you’ve had in your wine cellar, a quick colour assessment won’t hurt.
"It is said that people drink with their eyes. While colour may not necessarily have any direct indication as to how a wine will smell or taste, it often does, and colour is important. Just like you shouldn’t eat yellow snow, you don’t have to drink white or rose wines that look brown either. (Yes, natural and orange wines are an exception, Hipsters!)” - Pete.
Nice on The Nose
This is the part everyone ‘nose’ about, not much beats taking in the aromas of a beautiful wine after a long day! To release and intensify the aromas, swirl the wine gently in your glass and breathe in the goodness. Healthy wine should give off gentle but distinct aromas, think vanilla, flowers, spices, oak, etc. If your wine isn’t too happy, it may give off an unpleasant pungent or ‘musty wine’ smell. This can indicate cork taint or that your wine is past its best by drinking date. This is where you can have some fun and come up with some crazy hints you detect in the wine! We’ve heard it all; leather, green bell pepper, toast, sultana even cat pee?!
"Back labels can give you some interesting background on a wine but sometimes contain a lot of waffle. Don’t get too hung up on whether you can smell Tahitian Lime, Mexican or Kaffir Lime. Life is too short and there are too many wines to taste!” - Pete.
The part we’ve all been waiting for! Tasting wine is an extremely unique experience for everyone, perhaps why it never gets old (that or the