With friends and families gathering this time of year, plus a multitude of holiday parties, what better time to open several bottles of wine and organize your own wine tasting. With this in mind, the GrapeRadio bunch got together to assess 10 wines in a slightly formalized setting. In this case, “formalized” meant a sit-down tasting of specific wines, as opposed to the normal party atmosphere of sipping wine while wandering among guests.
Our own Rusty Gaffney hosted the tasting, and we sat around a large dining room table where he had set out 10 Burgundy glasses for each taster (we were going to taste Pinot Noir, so Rusty supplied the appropriate stemware). Some food had been prepared for later (you can properly evaluate wines either with or without food, but should keep things consistent), as we wanted to check out the wines first without the compliment of food. Water bottles were available to freshen the palate and keep us hydrated, and we were ready to dive in.
There is no completely right or wrong way of assessing wine – people often take different approaches to determining what they like or do not like about a wine. Usually, a quick sniff, followed by a swirl and another longer sniff gives one a sense of the aromatics. Then comes a small taste, which is usually held in the mouth for several seconds before swallowing or expelling (yes, spitting out) the wine.
At this point, many people like to make a note of their impressions. The note(s) can be very brief or very verbose, depending upon what the taster wants to convey to him/herself or to others. Ordinarily, the wines are not discussed individually as tasted, but instead are discussed when all of the wines have been evaluated. As you might imagine, impressions of each wine can differ with each taster – it just depends on the taster’s preference.
Finally, food is served and the wines are evaluated once again, in a less formal setting with plenty of discussion along the way. And, there you have it – wine tasting made easy!
Sponsor: The California Wine Club: www.cawineclub.com
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