4 Wine Drinking Tips That Utilize Your Five Senses
Wine is a beverage made to be savoured and enjoyed for its wide variety of flavours. Many people enjoy it, but few people truly appreciate all of the flavours that can be found in a good wine. The things that people generally do think are important to a wine – primarily age and price – play a surprisingly small role in the quality of the wine itself.
When it comes to drinking wine, what is really important is allowing the wine to touch all of your senses, and using all of your senses to gain the full appreciation of what the wine has to offer.
1. Examine your wine visually
The look of a wine can tell you many general details about it. The richness of the colour can indicate what kind of climate the wine is from, what grapes the wine is made from, or how old it is. As well, you can estimate the ABV (Alcohol by volume) of the alcohol based on its legs – how the wine reacts when swirled around the glass.
2. Let your nose explore the aromas
Before tasting it, let your nose do some of the work. Enjoy the experience of picking out the different flavours you will eventually taste. What do you smell? What can you infer about the wine’s making? Swish the wine around the glass to release the aromas.
Take a quick sniff, wait, and then smell the wine more deeply, putting your nose right into the glass. Try to decipher what you could pick out from your initial smell, and what else you were able to find the second time around.
3. Taste what your nose couldn’t smell
Let your taste buds tell you what flavour category the wine belongs to – whether the wine is sweet, sour, or bitter. Take a bit of the wine into your mouth and let it roll around. Pick out the flavour category you taste, and see if you can detect any of the flavours you smelled.
Try also to see if there are any additional flavours you can taste that you didn’t detect when you smelled the wine. Take your time, and breathe in to allow the flavours and aromas to fully develop in your mouth.
Wines can come in a variety of textures. Feel the weight of the wine. Some wines are thin and light, while others are thick and heavy. The heavier the wine, the more alcohol content it likely contains. You will be able to feel tannin, which adds bitterness to the wine. Tannin comes from things like grape seeds, grape skins, and oak, and your tongue detects it by developing a dry or sand-papery feeling.
4. Balance the flavours of your food with wine
Although wine can be enjoyed by itself, a wonderful way to enjoy the experience of wine is to pair it with a complementary dish. Often, wine bottle labels will list the ideal food pairs for that wine, and restaurants will often make suggestions as to which wines pair well with certain meals on their menu, however there are some very general rules that can help you make your decision.
For example, spicy foods pair well with wines that have a low alcohol value. As well, pair earth with earth. Wines with earthy flavours should be paired with dishes that contain ingredients like mushrooms, truffles, garlic, and rich game meats like bison. And finally, don’t finish off heavy. Pair a lighter wine with dessert – regardless of whether it is white or red, a light wine is a lovely way to finish off a meal.