|The Art of Tasting|
You don’t need years of school or a ton of books to become a cultured wine taster. In fact, most of the best tasters I know haven’t even gone to a professional wine school. Wine school is great for those of us who work as wine professionals, but, you do not have to spend all the time and money to learn how to appreciate wine. There a just a few things you need to get you started and though they may seem easy, in this fast paced world, they can actually be quite difficult.
- Pay Attention. That’s right. You need to become conscience of paying attention or your lack of attention. It takes effort to focus, and this is a skill that takes time to hone. People who appreciate wine don’t just drink it, they taste it. That means that instead of just liking a wine, we pay attention to the wine. We analyze the color, we put our nose deep in the glass and smell. We pay attention to the wine’s fruitiness, flowers, minerality and other perfumes. We taste it. We pay attention to the wine’s acidity, flavors and finish.
- Take Time: Appreciating wine is time consuming. That is why a tasting of 5 wines can take two hours. Just like the old adage, “Take time to smell the roses,” so it is with wine. In fact when you pay attention and take time to observe you will appreciate the wine for all of its nuances or lack or them. This is where passion takes off. I have to teach my wine students to take time.
- Develop a scent vocabulary. Don’t waste your money on expensive scent kits. Take time to develop your own scent vocabulary. What this means is, once again, taking time. When you are cooking take the time to smell every single ingredient. Taste the foods as well. Did you know that about 80% of taste is actually smell? Smell grass, smell flowers on your walks, go to a gardening shop and smell the plants and flowers. Smell fruit before you eat it, and breathe while it is in your mouth. Your wine tasting experience will be more evocative because our sense of smell is the sense that is most linked to memory. By forging connections with smells and experiences you will have a more interesting wine tasting experience.
This is just a beginning. Other helpful tips: Taste wine! Taste wine with different people, go to wine tastings, join wine tours, taste wine when you travel. Make wine more than a drink. Make wine an experience. Learn what kind of wines you like and why. Keep a wine journal and share with others.
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