Tuesday, July 15, 2008
TASTING RED WINES
THE PROPER METHOD FOR TASTING RED WINE: TAKE THE ENTS TEST
Pour a small amount of wine into a wine glass. Hold the glass by the stem to avoid fingerprints on the bowl of the glass or to prevent warming of the wine. On a flat surface, vigorously swirl the wine around for a minute. This allows the alcohol to evaporate and the wine to breathe. Still holding the goblet by the stem, use your Eyes and look at the wine in the glass, preferably against a white background. If the edge of the wine is purple or ruby in color, the wine is a very young wine. An aged wine will have an orange tinted color around the edge. If you find sediment on the sides of the goblet, you will need to decant the wine (pour it into a carafe so the sediment will settle to the bottom), before it is drinkable. Otherwise, you might get a mouthful of sediment in your next sip of a really good tasting wine. Decanting wine also allows the wine to blossom and gives you a true taste of the flavor of the wine.
Next, use your Nose and sniff the wine, close your eyes and try to smell the red fruit used in the making of the vintage. Such fruits might be strawberries, plums and cherries. If you smell vanilla, toast or wood, it means that the wine was aged in oak barrels. Being able to distinguish the different aromas is a skill that takes time. A lot of times, the only thing we smell are grapes.
Now, take a small sip and swish it around your mouth. Get a good Taste of the blend and then SPIT it out. Remember, you are trying to sense if the body of the wine is full or light and if the flavor of the wine consists of red or purple fruit, not to get drunk. It might take several sips to discover the full flavor. If you like what you've discovered so far, swallow a small sip of the wine. The final test is did it leave a silky smooth taste in your mouth or did you taste harsh tannins that dried out your mouth. A silky smooth finish means the wine is ready to drink. Harsh tannins means either that the wine must be decanted, or the wine is not aged enough yet. Better wines will have a longer finish (refers to the flavor that lingers in your mouth after you drink some wine), than some not so good wines. This does not refer to the price of the wines, but how well the wine was made.
The last step is to Summarize your findings in your log book and decide if the wine is worthy of being purchased and put in Your Wine Basket.