Ever wonder what you’re supposed to do when you order a bottle of wine at a nice restaurant and you’re chosen as the one that has to sample it for the table? Nerve-wracking, right? Okay, maybe not so much but I went to Niagara Falls this past weekend and was taught to do the following:
- Tip glass to 45 degree angle to check the clarity (Any bugs? Hope not. Correct colour? Sure?)
- Swirl the wine to aerate it and get some oxygen into it (I didn’t believe it, but it actually does make a difference in the taste).
- Sip to taste the wine, but don’t judge it…yet. Take a second sip and roll it around in your mouth to analyze the flavour and determine if it’s to you’re liking.
That’s apparently the secret to those awkward, I’ll-pretend-I-know-what-I’m-doing situations. While that mystery was solved, I learned a few other interesting things while visiting some of the wineries. For one, the size and shape of the cup makes a difference.
I know they say size shouldn’t matter, but it does in this case. I truthfully thought it was a myth, but when we tested this experiment several times with several different wines, I became a believer. The wine in the smaller glass doesn’t allow it to aerate properly, so by pouring it into a bigger glass and swirling it around, it actually changes the flavour and enhances the wine. For instance, the merlot we tried became smoother and silkier. Strange, but true.
Then there’s that parched feeling you get in your mouth when you have a dry wine. It’s the result of the tannins (thanks to the grape skins or oak barrels that helped age the wine), which like to attach to proteins. In this case, your saliva. So when your tongue wants to stick to the roof of your mouth, you know it’s the tannins at work. This is why it’s good to pair dry wines with meat and cheeses.
Of course, no wine tasting is complete without some food. Here’s the sample platter that I got to go with my wine samples:
All I can say is it was a good day. 🙂