Wine Tasting - The Basics
Guest Blogger: Charlie Moavero, Assistant Beverage Manager
There are a lot of things which connect M Resort with wine - Hostile Grape, our wine bar with more than 160 wines-by-the-glass through our super-cool Enomatic dispensing systems; the Marnell family's vineyard in California which produces six different labels we serve here at M; the some 250,000 bottles we give away as gifts to iMagine Rewards members every year and of course the fabulous events we host like Rock 'N Roll Wine's Reggae Pool Party.
With so much here relating to wine in one way or another, we thought it might be helpful to pass along some wine tasting basics that may help you enjoy your wine a little more and possibly discover a new wine you love. Here are some great tips and wine tasting basics from our Assistant Beverage Manager here at M - Charlie Moavero:
- Start with a clear wine glass. The rim of the glass should end inwards to help funnel aromas to the nose and allow you to swirl without spilling.
- Now pour a little wine into your glass - an inch or less is best. If you are tasting several wines, begin with the lightest (sparkling wines, roses, then light whites followed by full-bodied whites) and progress to the heaviest (light reds to more full-bodied reds followed by dessert wines). This will help keep your taste buds more sensitive so you can better appreciate each wine in the series. A sip of water between wines can also help preserve your palate.
- Notice the color of the wine. It often helps to hold the glass up to light or hold it against a white background like a white napkin. The color can give you a clue as to the age of the wine. White wines generally gain color as they age. Red wines generally lose color. That is, young red wines are more red or burgundy while older wines tend to show a hint of tawny brown around the rim. Regardless of age, the colors of wine are just fun to see, ranging from pale yellow-green to ruby red to brick red-brown.
- Swirl the wine a couple of times by moving the glass in a circular motion. Holding the glass by its step, instead of the bowl, allows you to swirl more easily. Swirling is done to aerate the wine and release vapors, evaporating from the sides of the glass, allowing you to better smell the wine.
- Put your nose right over the rim of the wine glass and breathe in. Take note of the wines aromas and bouquet (the range of smells a particular wine possesses).
- Take a sip, letting the wine spread across the tongue from front to back and side to side before swallowing. Notice the flavors and acidity of the wine. How silky or rough does the wine feel?
- Swallow a small amount if you wish to note any lingering "finish," but if you're tasting a number of wines - in a winery tasting room, for example - your host will usually provide a large container for you to spit out the wine instead of swallowing. (Don't worry, this isn't rude!) Everyone in the wine trade is accustomed to the swirl-sniff-sip-slosh-spit routine. No one wants an intoxicated taster or worse, an intoxicated driver.
The bottom line is that a good wine should always give pleasure. It should smell good, taste even better and be smooth and satisfying by itself or with whatever food you're pairing it with.