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Step by step to taste wines like a pro

Francisca JaraFrancisca Jara

Francisca Jara

If you are an enthusiast, a collector or totally new to the world of wine, by following this step by step you will get the most out of that bottle. Are you ready?

There is an image that provokes many sensations in the world of wine: sommeliers swirl the wine, drink and spit, in a kind of orchestrated loop that, let’s say it, causes attraction or rejection. Is this how we should enjoy wine? Not necessarily. The best way will always be the one the person wants. But, giving credit to the experts, let’s say that the experience can be maximized if we follow the right steps.

A correct tasting invites us to perceive the wine through all the senses. To achieve this then, we will need: natural light (to be able to observe the wine), free of aromas in the environment (to be able to smell it) and a neutral palate (to be able to taste it). Therefore, brushing your teeth with toothpaste beforehand is not a good idea. If all this is in order, and you add an appropriate wine glass to the experience, you have everything to achieve a great experience.

1. Pour the wine into a glass and look at it

The first phase corresponds to appreciation through sight. First its clarity, whether it is clean (transparent) or not. It could be an unfiltered wine, have sediment, pieces of cork or bubbles… it is the first thing you should examine. Second, pay attention to the colour. You can tilt the cup at a 45-degree angle to determine its intensity. In a red wine, bright tones like ruby red indicate that it is a young wine. While garnet tones express of barrel aging. In whites, pale tones speak of young wines, and more golden or amber tones, of more mature wines.

2. Gently stir the wine and observe again

With this exercise we seek to reach another piece of information: deciphering the alcohol content of the wine. When you see the famous “legs” or “tears”, notice if they fall quickly or slowly. The slower it is, the more alcohol the wine has.

3. Bring the glass to your nose

Here begins the olfactory phase, in my opinion the most entertaining and fundamental. Did you know that many complex flavours require the intervention of taste and smell? To perceive the aromas, first bring the glass to your nose without moving it. With this movement you will be able to identify the primary fruit aromas, according to the grape variety. Then, if you gently swirl the wine in the glass, you will be able to perceive the secondary aromas (derived from oenological practices) and tertiary aromas (which come from the wine’s aging). In this step you will be able to know if a wine has malolactic fermentation or if is aged in wood, as Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay which is revealed through aromas of toasted hazelnuts.

4. Taste the wine

After getting familiar with the aromas, comes the most important and long-awaited part: tasting the wine. This is the taste phase, where the idea is to see if all the aromas that the wine promises continue on the palate. But also identify its freshness (acidity), sugar levels, body (tannins) and alcohol. How? Recognizing the acidity on the sides of the tongue, the sweetness at the tip, the tannins throughout the palate and the alcohol at the end (burning sensation). For this exercise, it is recommended to drink a small sip and, if possible, pretend with your mouth that you are going to whistle, but letting the air enter through your mouth towards the wine. Why? Because by oxygenating the wine, it will release more aromas, revealing its layers. Then, with your tongue, move the wine subtly around your entire palate so that the taste buds notice its flavour and texture. How do you feel it? Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay, for example, feels moderately concentrated with silky texture and layers of ripe fig, pear, and mineral flavours. In addition, it finishes with a long and vibrant character.

5. Spit it out (optional)

While this step is usually reserved for professionals, spitting the wine can be a good idea when wine tastings occur early in the morning, or if you are driving. Remember that alcohol consumption should always be responsible.

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