We’ve blogged about the five S’s and a structured approached to tasting – which helps you get the best out of your wine and (more importantly) makes you look good in front of your friends!
Here is a quick reminder:
- SEE – the way wine looks gives us big clues about how it will taste.
- SWIRL – swirling your wine in the glass unlocks all the lovely aromas.
- SNIFF – your nose is thousands of times more sensitive to aromas and flavours than your mouth.
- SLURP – once the wine is in your mouth, you need to get the flavours up to your nose by making a racket!
- SENSATIONS – describe the smell and taste, practice makes perfect…
By making sure your wine glass is only half full of a delicious Fairtrade wine allows you to do your SWIRLING without making a right old mess of the carpet!
Wine glass shapes, sizes and colours vary quite a lot, for the purposes of tasting wine look out for these basic design features:
- The ability to see what’s inside the glass
- The shape of the glass
So the first feature is that the glass need to be clear – it allows you to SEE the wine (cut crystal glasses are fine, but they were designed hundreds of years ago to reflect candlelight and a add a little sparkly bling to the dining table).
The second feature is about shape. Tulip shaped wine glasses are ideal, a large bottom half to hold the wine and a narrow top to concentrate the aromas after a good, not to vigorous SWIRL.
This is a top tip to make you look like you really know what you’re doing – always hold you wine glass by the stem – this is to make sure your body heat doesn’t interfere with the serving temperature of the wine.
The Science Bit…
The way we taste wine and food is governed by around two hundred thousand years of evolution. Without getting too much into the history, biology etc., basically our mouths are there to protect us from bad food and natural poisons, whilst our nose is where it’s at as far as taste and flavour sensations are concerned. Basically, to your mouth, everything that’s good to eat has a sweet taste, whereas a very large majority of naturally occurring poisons have a real bitter taste – so it’s quite simple really, sweet = good, overly bitter = bad. For your nose there are thousands of aromas and flavours that go to make up wine and food (and how the world smells for that matter), your nose knows and has a handle on all of them. This is the clever bit, your sense of smell is very closely linked to the memory part of your brain, hence why random aromas can take you clearly back to many years ago, more so than any other of your senses. This protects us from danger, whilst allowing us to savour the reward of delicious, nourishing food and wine.
So, to truly taste wine and appreciate the delicate subtleties’ you need to start remembering lots of different flavour references. What makes apples, strawberries, liquorice, vanilla etc. taste the way they do?
Start building up a varied flavour palate and your wine tasting will come on a treat! You could start with our Number One Fairtrade Red