Five basic tips for understanding wine

Wine

06/05/2016

We don't have to be an expert to know whether we like a wine or not. After all, there are no rules on taste. It is interesting, however, to keep a few (simple) tips in mind when tasting a wine.

Our recommendations won't transform you into a sommelier—they're simply five tips that we consider useful in developing a more critical or informed approach to evaluating a bottle of wine (Jean Leon, of course!)

We've asked our enologist Xavier Rubirés, who has been with us since 2006, to share these recommendations with you. He is passionate about wine, something clearly conveyed by his enthusiasm. He knows what he's talking about, and it shows. Feel free to take notes (or memorize). Let's go!

 

The glass

One of the first decisions we have to make when preparing a wine tasting is the type of glass we'll serve it in. Countless types of wine glasses are available on the market, but in broad strokes, they fall into two general categories.

On the one hand, the glasses we use for white, rosé and young wines, which have a longer stem to better maintain the temperature of the wine. On the other hand, the glasses used for reds and certain oak-aged whites, which have a wider bowl to increase oxygenation.

 

The cork

Another interesting factor in wine tasting is to examine the cork after opening the bottle. If the entire surface of the cork is soaked in wine, it indicates that there is some sort of problem. In this case, you should return the bottle.

We should also be aware that corks come in a variety of sizes: the shortest variety, about 44 mm, is used for young wines. The size is considered adequate for preventing oxygen from entering the bottle. Reserva or Gran Reserva wines, however, have corks that measure between 49 and 54 mm, because they age in the bottle for a much longer period of time.

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Let's get started

A wine tasting begins by smelling the cork. It should always give off aromas characteristic of the wine we're about to taste. If the cork displays humid or old-wood aromas, it can point to some sort of problem in the wine.

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What do we see?

After serving the wine, we conduct a visual evaluation to assess the color. With young reds, we should see a purplish red with a bluish edge. Reserva wines should display a brick red color with a yellow rim.

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How does it smell?

We now move on to the olfactory stage. First, we have to smell the wine without moving the glass. If we don't pick up any aromas, we swirl the glass to increase the surface area of the wine exposed to air. This favors the release of aromatic compounds, making them easier to detect.

 

What does it taste like?

This stage requires us to use every taste receptor in our mouth. We will always perceive sweetness on the tip of our tongue, acidity on the sides, and bitterness in the back. This is why it is important to slurp the wine and roll it around your entire mouth. (Don't be embarrassed about making noises or funny faces.)

It's pretty simple, right? Now that you have some tips in hand, it's time to put them into practice. Should we start with a 3055?

 

 

 

Categorías: Wine