The Art of Wine Tasting

It is a common misconception amongst non wine connoisseurs that wine tasting amounts to merely sipping, swishing, and swallowing wine; this could not be further from the truth for the avid connoisseur. There is a definite art to wine tasting that takes years of studied practice to master.

Wine tasting notes can be utilized to distinguish a variety of fine wines and picking them is reliably depends on developing a trained palate which can only be attained over many years of practice. Wine that is properly housed and aged can be, to the connoisseur, an exquisite experience.

Wine tasting is rooted in our sense of smell with over 75% of the impact on our taste inexorably linked to the food and drink we consume. This would account for the persistent notion that when we have a cold everything is tasteless and our appetite is non-existent. Most wine aficionados will tell you that the experience of a fine wine is more about the smell than the taste, and after that personal preference takes over and it becomes a tossup from that point on.

In Napa Valley wine, tasting is always at the forefront of any party or gathering. Home of some of the best United States offerings, wine growers realize that swishing and sipping serves a very useful purpose. Circulating the wine in the mouth gives the experience breath and depth – it creates a symphony of experience.

Taste buds are called into action; the olfactory senses are sent into overdrive and through a carefully implemented wine tasting design, wine connoisseurs not only identify the beverage, but can usually figure out the quality of the wine from the aromatic wafting of the beverage. This can be ascertained early on in the wine tasting process.

With even a basic understanding of the swishing technique, its purpose and the dispelling of long held myths, wine tasting will wind up looking less like something silly and more like a talent and skill that is part of the whole wine making process. Wine aficionados will be able to tell if the wine cellar designs and the features of a wine cellar have served their purpose or fallen short. All of this will be reflected in the end product.

Wine should ideally be served in a crystal clear glass so that the delicate color and hue are not distorted by the color of the glass. This allows the first step, observation, to be fully realized. With the sample, a wine connoisseur can take a leisurely approach to examining the wine. This is part of the process, taking a deliberately slow look to see if any imperfections in color and hue can be seen. For instance, White wines actually are not white. They range in color from a golden, pale brown to a shade of light green. Red wine is, by contrast, darker with a pink hue and can run the gamut between a dark pinkish color to a darker brown color.

After observation, the next step involves the olfactory senses or smell. This is a two-step process with a purpose. The first step is to take a quick sniff to get the general aroma of the wine. This is followed by a deep, extended inhalation that allows the wine taster to experience the full aroma at length.

Wine experts will usually let the aroma waft over them as they reflect on the total experience of the wine up to that point.

After letting it come fully into their consciousness, a wine taster will then take a sip, swish it around to activate all of the taste buds to ascertain the wine and savor it fully prior to swallowing. This method allows all senses to be engaged in the process of taking in the wine, figuring the quality of it. This allows wine growers to figure out if their grapes, distillation process, and procedures used to store it in a wine cellar or storage unit was sufficient to produce a fine quality wine.

Completing these steps of observation, smell and finally tasting the wine, is essential to discerning the quality of the wine from the wine connoisseur’s viewpoint. The three-step process is the most complete way to ascertain age, storage, and overall quality of the wine, if it is ready to be consumed and if the wine cellar storage was adequate to bring the wine to proper fruition. As it is with any skill acquired, practice makes perfect and in evaluating wine, this is no exception. In order to become adept at evaluating the uniqueness and flavor of the sample presented takes time and effort.

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