How I Learned To Taste Wine Like a Pro
Three weeks ago I mentioned that I attended a private tasting for the new BevMo! store opening in Riverside and that I learned quite a bit about wine tasting as well as what the store has to offer. Today I want to share some of those tasting tips.
It's no secret I like my wine. If you follow me on Instagram you've probably seen a couple hundred photos of my #winethirty shenanigans. But really, I have a minimal idea of what I'm drinking. We've gone to the L.A. wine festival for the last two years and while I've discovered a lot more brands and varieties, I never really understood why I liked what I liked and why certain wines tasted better with particular foods.
Enter Wilfred and his magnificent palate. The BevMo! team put together a delightful flight of wines for us to try along with an eclectic mix of snacks to pair with each libation. I was definitely unsure as to why there was popcorn on my plate alongside a dried apricot and some honey but as I was about to find out, there was a method to their madness.
To begin, there are four S's to consider when tasting your wine and without listing them out specifically,Wilfred led us through them all for each individual glass.
See: the color of the wine
- as it ages white wine gets darker in color and red wine gets lighter
- the color also provides a hint as to what type of grape was used
- color can also help you determine how light/heavy the wine will feel/taste. The lighter the color, the lighter it should feel in your mouth.
Smell: sniff three times and come up with three words to describe the wine
Sip: You should taste sweet, sour, salty, bitter
The sixth and final glass was a 2012 Saldo Zinfandel and it was light and kind of just what I needed at the end. I chose to pair it with the apricot dipped in honey and much to my delight that brought out the fruity flavors I imagine when thinking about a Zin.
The whole experience left me feeling more knowledgeable and like I could easily host a soiree of my own and share what I learned with my friends and family. I loved being able to experience a variety of wines from brands I wasn't quite familiar with and am excited to try more.
Some tips to think about for your next event:
When pairing wine and food you definitely want to think of the elements of the food that will affect the wine:
- is it salty?
- is it sweet?
- does it have acid?
- does it have fat?
- use the acid in the wine to either cut through the fatty types of foods or complement the food
If you're hosting an event with multiple bottles have someone test the bottles. The quality of the cork and the way the bottles were stored can affect taste and smell. If you do find your bottles are 'corked' you can return them to BevMo! and they'll replace them for you! How's that for awesome?
Also, have fun with your pairings! Don't be afraid to mix things up and try a variety of cheeses, fruits, savory meats and even chocolates with your wines. If you're stuck on what wines to serve, head into your local BevMo! and tell them your dilemma, they'll be more than happy to assist you in finding the perfect wines within your price point and taste!
Have you ever been to a wine tasting? Would you ever host one in your home?
** Disclaimer: I was compensated for my attendance at this event but the comments, photos and opinions expressed are my own.