In the exclusive Vintage Room on board the Crystal Serenity, VISI was treated to a magnificent world tour of wine with head sommelier Bart Dufour. He gave us these six tips for anyone to sound like a wine connoisseur.
1. Aerate the glasses.
Some 90% of wine tasting is said to be in the smell and there’s nothing worse than the aroma of musty cupboard to put a cramp in your 2004 Moët et Chandon Cuvée Dom Pérignon style.
2. Look against a white background.
There are lots of things you can tell about wine from just looking – white wine, for instance, should be a light yellow, or golden if older or matured in oak, and anything darker means it’s off. Red wine reveals its age in the colour of its rim, which ranges from a young pink to an older red and decades-old orange.
3. Swirl and smell.
Before you taste, swirl the wine so that it almost reaches the rim of the glass. Not only does this aerate the wine, but it also coats and makes the glass smell of the wine. As we said, it is all in the nose, which is why wine just tastes sour when you have a cold.
4. Don’t know what you’re tasting?
Remember, you’re actually just tasting sweet, sour, salty or bitter, and all the notes are in the smell. If you’re struggling, try tricking your brain into not thinking it’s drinking wine. Otherwise, when in doubt you can’t go wrong with berries for red and citrus for white. Vanilla? Then the wine must have spent time in an oak barrel.
5. Acidity or alcohol, ooh nice legs!
After swirling the wine and letting it run down the insides of the glass, if long stripes – or legs – appear, it has a high-alcohol content – like pretty much all South African wine, since high-alcohol grapes come from warm climates. High alcohol is also indicated by a burning in the throat – the burning in the back of the mouth is high acidity, which gives wine its crispness.
6. Catch a tannin.
The bitter taste in the front of the mouth is the tannins, which come from the seeds and skins of the grape. Tannins are good if you’re planning on starting a cellar as it shows how long the wine can be aged for. However, if you want to drink it immediately, rather decant and aerate beforehand. Don’t aerate wines older than 12 to 15 years; they’re out of tannins!
Taken from: Visi
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