As a professional wine educator, I love wine! Some people say that they do not know how to taste wine. Relax! Wine tasting is an acquired skill. Therefore, for tasting wine you will need to develop your skill. You will also need some utensils, besides the bottle of wine, such as:
- A glass for tasting (preferable one with a stem, nothing expensive)
- A cork screw
- A note pad & pen (to take notes)
- A white Xerox sheet
Each tool is related to the tasting experience and will be described later.
Initially, you need to know the bottle of wine, better said, how to read the label.
Regardless of the wine you want to taste, before hitting the wine store, go online and do a quick research through your local wine store website. Select a given wine, see price range and look at the wine rating. There are several national and international associations that rate wine. What you need to know is that, in general, those ratings are numbers preceded by a letter or couple of them – that indicates the association – and a numeric score that ranges from 0 to 100. Wines with a rating number above 90 are the best, above 80 are very good, above 70 good. Do not waste your money is the rating is below 70.
Next, click on the wine name and read the characteristics of that specific wine. If it is the one you are going to buy later, just print them out. Later you are going to check your tasting experience against these notes, and better, you are going to learn new flavors you never ever knew they existed or they were related to wine –e.g. peachy, green, tobacco, etc.
At the store, before buying the bottle read the label. With a little bit of practice you can find true jewels that are not even rated.
At the minimum the label should read the name of the winery, alcohol percentage, year of harvesting, varietal or region (we will talk about this later), and if it follows any specific regulation that specifies the quality of that wine –e.g DOCG, AOC,DOC, etc.
We have given together the first step to become a wine lover, so from now on, whenever you pass by a wine store, just enter and browse wine around, and read labels till you become a pro.
We will go quickly over the rest of the tools later in the next post. We will be then ready to examine summer time wines in our next encounters at the icedjamb.com.
“Wine is bottled poetry.” Robert Louis Stevenson