Saturday, August 2, 2008

Chef Debbie on Tasting Wine

Do you know how to drink wine? Of course you do, but do you know how to really appreciate the wine in your glass? Pour your next glass with purpose and take a minute to do these things:

Admire the color of the wine in the glass, and the variation between the color at the rim and the color at the core. Note the vibrancy of the color...does your white fairly shine in the glass? Is your wine effervescent? Anticipate the feel of tiny bubbles bursting in your mouth.

Swirl your wine in the glass and admire the rivulets sliding down the sides. (These are also called "legs" and you can anticipate the way the wine will feel in your legs mean a light mouth-feel and lots of thick, clinging legs mean a full-bodied wine with a long finish.)

As your nose approaches the glass, how close must it get before you can detect the scent of the wine? Place your nose as far into the glass as you can and inhale deeply. If all you detect is alcohol, set your glass aside for a few minutes to allow the alcohol to dissipate and try again. What do you smell? Flowers? Berries? Chocolate? Herbs? Try to identify as many aromas as you can, and know that what ever you smell is what you smell. (Don't worry about what somebody thinks you should smell.)

Sip and swirl the wine in your mouth, "chew" and make sure the wine has reached all your tastebuds because different parts of your mouth will detect sweet, sour, salty, bitter, etc., and then swallow because the alcohol will hit the back of your tongue (and eventually your brain, of course). Try to identify the flavors that linger in your mouth. Are they the same as those aromas that you detected? Are there new components now? Dried fruit? Pencil box? Spice? Does your mouth feel dry inside (tannins)? Does the back of your throat burn (alcohol)? Is your mouth watering (acid)?

Make this routine a habit and soon you will discover that you will find more pleasure with each wine you try, and you will want to try new wines, make discoveries, and experiment with matching food with your wine. Enjoy!

Bon App├ętit!
Chef Debbie

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