I would like to add a few things that I learned in Bordeaux this past October. It is common practice to taste white wines before red wines, and to taste each group from the youngest and lightest to the heavier and more full-bodied. For the first time, in Bordeaux, I was given the reds to taste before the whites. And, guess what…tasting the whites after the reds cleansed my palate and acted like a sorbet between courses. I highly recommend, when at a wine tasting or tasting at a winery, to go in “reverse” order and try the whites at the end.
Even though I taste a lot of wine, I find it very difficult to distinguish what I am smelling or tasting, in terms of characteristics. Cherry cola? Cigar Box? Currants? Lychee? Earth? Violets? Straw? My Bordeaux expert guide, Dewey Markham Jr, and I were tasting at Domaine de Chevalier in Pessac-Leognan, following our tour. When I asked him what he was smelling and tasting, he looked at me with a straight face and said…”wine”. Actually, he distinguished a few, but his point was that a person can really only process and identify about four aromas/tastes at one time. So, never be intimidated by the flowery descriptions of wine critics. What is most important is that you enjoy what you are tasting. You can learn more about Dewey at dmjwineworks.com .
Now, for a different “spin” on wine tasting instructions by the young sommelier and owner of Paris wine bar O-Chateau, Olivier Magny, whom I know from my travels there. A few years back he did a series of videos about the world of wine. Here is the one on wine tasting:
Above all else, be responsible when wine tasting. If you are driving, make sure to use the spit bucket, especially if you are tasting several wines, so that you can really enjoy the flavors and aromas of each and be safe on the way home.
Until next time…..À votre santé!