To Look Like You Know
Doing at a Wine Tasting
450 appellations and more than 160,000 wineries, France
is the perfect country for wine tasting. Lionel Medoc, a sommelier
at Parisian wine tasting company Ô
Chateau, tells us how to properly sample French wines without
making fools of ourselves.
When your wine is poured, resist the urge to taste right away
and take a second to observe. Check for clarity; a good wine is
always quite clear. Note the brightness; the brighter the wine,
the more dry and acidic the taste. Now tilt your wine glass and
observe the color of the meniscus, or edge, of the liquid.
a bright meniscus signifies an older, better wine; with whites,
it's just the opposite.
Now lean over your glass and inhale deeply.
first impression? Does the wine seem balanced? Do you like the
smell? "Don't be afraid to express yourself when talking
about wine," says Lionel. Now swirl the wine a bit in your
glass (be careful of spills!) and inhale again. This time, try
to pick out the different aromas in the wine. Are there hints
of citrus? Coffee? Spice? Again, share your opinion and don't
fret if you smell wet leather while everyone else identifies hints
of vanilla; wine tasting is meant to be completely subjective.
You've been waiting long enough; now it's time for the main event. Take
a small sip and swish the wine around in your mouth. Is it light
or heavy? Dry or sweet? Note the aftertaste; generally speaking,
the longer the aftertaste the better the wine.
You can also
try a little connoisseur trick: take a sip of wine, stick your
tongue to the roof of your mouth and gently suck in air, making
a gargling sound. The process is less than elegant, but it releases
hidden flavors in the wine for a more complete experience. Now,
either swallow the wine or discreetly spit it out in the provided
canister, and wait for the next round.