PMC Wine & Food teaches you how to taste wine like a professional
It’s one thing to drink wine, it’s another to actually taste it – and you don’t need to be a professional to achieve this feat. To fully enjoy a glass of wine, PMC Wine & Food suggests practice that, although it may not automatically lead to perfection, it will certainly lead to a better tasting.
True wine connoisseurs use various techniques to ensure that they taste it to the fullest. After all, drinking wine is not synonymous with tasting it. Thus, Beatriz Palhais, oenologist at PMC Wine & Food, brings you some clarifications if you want to taste a wine like a true professional.
First, you must consider two aspects that are crucial: the wine glass, which must be made of glass and colourless, with a high foot and a narrower mouth, preventing the aromas from dissipating so easily, and the temperature, which is normally recommended on the back label of the bottle. If this is not the case, the ideal is to serve red wines between 16 and 18 degrees and white wines between 9 and 12 degrees. Another important issue is that you can’t forget to hold the glass by the foot, which will avoid changing the temperature of the wine and allow for a better observation and tasting. With all these conditions met, it is time to start the test, which is divided into 3 phases.
Tilt the glass, preferably over something white, and observe the color of the wine, its clarity and intensity. With this observation you can get some information about the wine, such as its age: more violet tones indicate that it is in the presence of a younger wine, while more brownish tones indicate that it is a more aged wine.
Red wines, with age, lose intensity in their color, which translates into greater transparency at the edges. White wines, on the other hand, tend to darken. Over the years both types of wines evolve towards an amber and browner color. In the case of a sparkling wine, the size of the bubbles and the persistence of their “trail”, after the initial foam has disappeared, are two factors to consider.
When straightening the wineglass, you can see the “famous” tear. The more evident and denser it is, the higher the alcohol content of the wine.
At this stage, don’t be afraid to stick your nose into the glass. Start with the glass still and, only after you have absorbed all the initial aromas, shake the glass. This agitation will allow and accelerate, thanks to the oxygen, the release of new aromas. The best thing about wine is that it evolves and changes over time. The aromas of a wine at the beginning of a dinner or conversation will not be the same at the end of that same dinner or conversation.
The olfactory memory is crucial at this stage of the tasting and you may even recognize a specific aroma without being able to identify it. It is normal and it is with practice and regular wine tasting that this memory will be trained.
When tasting the wine, make sure that it meets all parts of the tongue, as it is in this contact that the “indications” you will need to assess the sweetness and acidity, the bitterness and saltiness of the wine appear.
After this first assessment, and after having spit out or swallowed the wine, you can assess its persistence and the aftertaste in the mouth.
The tasting of a wine is something very subjective, which varies depending on the taster, whether he is a professional or not. All the sensations that that glass of wine can give you will be influenced by your state of mind, your senses, the environment that surrounds you or even the food.
When tasting a wine during the meal, it is important to consider the pairing we are doing, as it can have a positive or negative influence on the tasting. It is important that there is a balance between food and wine so that one does not overlap the other, but that they enhance and complement each other.
Tasting a wine is knowing how to interpret the sensations and emotions it conveys, which is not always easy. Several people can recognize a wine aroma and all describe and identify it in different ways.
At the end of the tasting, the most relevant question is whether you got to know the wine, which sensations and emotions you liked the most and least.