Blind them with Your BrillianceLet's kick this off on an informative note. We've all seen those sophisticates who hold their wine glass up to give it a swirl and a sniff, followed by a sip and a swish. Impressive to be sure, but what's it all about? Today we'll start with Wine Drinking 101. I know - you think you're ready for the advanced class, but stick around. Remember that practice makes perfect, and practicing is the best part!
Here are a few basics steps to take before indulging in that all important first sip. Why bother, you ask? Good question! Take a look, and then you can decide if it’s worth the wait.
Presentation of the Bottle
Bottles are presented for approval, presumably more so in restaurants than in your own home, to ensure that is, in fact, the bottle that you ordered. I also like to peek at the alcohol content, which indicates how dry and full-bodied the wine is (the higher the alcohol content the more full-bodied and drier). Also, apparently there are nefarious establishments that try to re-sell wine that has been opened, so if you are in a restaurant make sure the cork is sealed and coming out of the bottle for the first time, and that the name on the cork matches the bottle. Scandalous!
Sniffing the Cork
I’ve attended a few wine courses in my time and the consensus is that corks smell like cork, so skip the sniff. Instead, feel the cork to ensure that it’s still firm and “corky.” If it’s crumbling the cork is drying out and may have allowed air to seep into the bottle, possibly tainting the wine.
Swirling the Glass
This fancy move aerates the wine, bringing out its more complex flavors, so give this a go whenever you’re enjoying a bit of the grape. This is especially important for red wines. Another reason some people swirl their wine is to check the wine’s “legs” – the spindly tracks of wine that run down the inside of the glass after the swirl. The legs indicate how much alcohol is in the wine but since a) most people don’t know how to read the legs; and b) because the alcohol level is printed right on the bottle, you can skip this. Or, you can look discreetly at the alcohol content on the label and then check out the legs and authoritatively declare how much alcohol is in it!!
Sniffing the Wine
This is a much better test than sniffing the cork. Stick your nose right in the glass and give it a whiff! Certainly different wines have different “bouquets”: earthy, fruity, oaky, spicy, and so on, and you might find you have a preference, but they’re all good. (Personally, I think air fresheners should be wine-scented.) On the other hand, if it smells moldy or like a wet dog there’s a problem, so make that first sip a tiny one.
This gets you up to that all important first sip, which is a lesson unto itself so we’ll save it for another day. The long and short of what constitutes a “good” wine, however, is entirely up to the individual consumer. If you like it, it’s good! So pour yourself a glass, give it a swirl and toast yourself – you’ve passed your first lesson!
#PinotsPaletteTysons #WineandEntertaining #DontSkipTheSwirl #IsAnyoneElseThirsty?