✔Write First WineWiz of 2023
Happy New Year, Constant Readers!
It’s resolution season, and probably like you, I can’t resist the siren call of a new year to do things better or don’t do things or whatever applies.
One of the things that’s helping me make changes are checklists. It’s really helping me remember to do things every morning before I leave the house, and for things like taking all the vitamins that I buy and then forget to take. Plus you get that little dopamine zing! of being able to check something off!
So while I’m on a checklist kick, I thought I’d give you a checklist of your own, for how to do a wine tasting. Some of these I learned on a cruise in spring 2003. (20 years ago now!)
☑ Pour yourself a glass of wine. It should be a good-sized glass that gives you plenty of room to…
☑ Swirl the wine. This aerates the wine and opens up the aromas. You can also observe if there are any wine “legs”. Legs can indicate the wine is either high in alcohol or high in sugar, because the sugar makes the wine more viscous. It doesn’t mean anything in regard to quality.
☑ See the wine. What’s the dominant color? Reds can be bright cherry of a gamay or the almost-black of a tannat. Is the color changing to brick red? That could mean it’s an older wine. Whites can range from pale straw yellow like an Italian soave, an almost-green of a grüner veltliner, or the rich gold of a Napa chardonnay. Holding your glass up to a white piece of paper can help you notice the nuances of the color more easily.
☑ Sniff the wine. I prefer to take a few short sniffs in sequence rather than one big inhale, as I’ve read that your nose sort of “conks out" after a little while.
☑ Hooray! Now it’s finally time to taste! Take a good sip. If you’re going to be tasting a lot or if you’re driving, you can spit it out into an appropriate receptacle after a couple minutes. What are you tasting? Do the aromas you smelled match the flavors? How does it feel on the tongue? Very crisp or more soft?
☑ What’s the finish like? Do the flavors and texture disappear quickly, or does it linger for a while?
Let’s give this checklist a try with 2020 Phillipp Bassler Grosse Gewachs Dry Riesling from Pfalz, Germany!
☑ Gave my wine a good swirl, and there are some light quickly moving legs
☑ I’d call this color a light gold
☑ I get a sort of light honey aroma on the nose and maybe a little apple
☑ I get a little more apple and pear on the palate. It feels round, not sharp at all, and the finish is getting a bit long.
I hope this list helps you get more out of your tastings. Let me know in the comments if you find it useful!