Join us for our famous
Preparation is the key before we start tasting, for red wines you will need to decant the wine this is simply pouring the wine carefully into a jug making sure you stop before the sediment leaves the bottle, not all red wines have sediment, then rinse the bottle removing any stuck-on sediment and then pour the wine back into the bottle, I find a funnel helps. This allows air to come into contact with the wine helping it to breathe, releasing the flavours in the wine, White wines require much less preparation.
It is all down to personal taste which is why we try before you buy, sometimes our expectations cloud the issue, when I try a sparkling red Shiraz is it served at room or chilled, getting your brain round a fizzy red can be tricky, the main question should be “do I like it?” regardless of what it should taste like.
We look at the wine for indications of age and condition. For white wine the wine is often very pale almost colourless but with age these can turn to a deep golden colour as in the case of Sauternes and other desert wines, this occurs through in excess of 5-10 years ageing. Sometimes 1 bottle in the case may be darker than the others, this indicates a wine that is potentially off, air or dirt has affected the wine and on further inspection through smell and taste should confirm any misgivings. Again this wont happen overnight but may take 3-6 years or longer to show up
Red wines often display a brick red or orange tinge when older it does not mean the wine is better or worse just an indication of age.
Despite what you may have heard, wine legs or ‘tears’ are not an indication of quality of wine. They are simply the result of alcohol evaporating from the wine, if the wine has high alcohol levels you will see the legs or tears forming, lower alcohol wines will not display this. Sweeter wines will often have legs that are slower in movement
Swirl the wine in the glass to release the aroma, your nose is very sensitive and will detect many aromas starting with fruit aromas like berries and then wine making aromas such as yeast and finally conditioning smells like vanilla from the cask.
When tasting it is a good idea to take a mouthful and hold it in your mouth allowing it to swirl round like a mouthwash before swallowing, you may see some people drawing air over the wine this activates the nose as well intensifying the senses. Look for initial flavours like fruit then creamy textures sometimes back of the mouth.
You can get lingering flavours sometimes for several seconds after swallowing the wine, this will vary dramatically with each wine, some disappear instantly, and another drink is required to regain the flavour others last for many seconds, if you breathe in through your nose it may emphasize the flavours.