The correct way to smell, taste and look at wine.
Far from being a ritual reserved to a few initiates, wine tasting is quite simply the pleasure of opening our eyes, as well as using our nose and taste buds.
When ? An apéritif, a nice meal among friends, a TV dinner, feeling hungry after a walk... let wine tasting start.
To taste wine properly you must first chose its main accessory : the glass. The most suitable is the tulip-shaped glass, also called Bordeaux glass : wide at the base, slighty curved in at the top, it allows the wine to breathe and brings out the concentration of aromas.
It is most important to fill the glass no more than one third so that you can tilt it, and most of all, hold the glass by the stem. Three stages to taste : look, smell and taste.
Bring your glass at eye level towards a bright light and against a white background. Now bring it down and watch its tints on the walls of the glass.
The wine colour can be intense, meaning a powerful wine, or lighter; watch for its lustre. Looking through the wine you can judge its clarity.
Red Bordeaux wines vary in colour according to origin and age. The youngest are often intense, purplish or crimson. They then turn to a ruby, cherry or dark red hue. The oldest wines become brown, tawny or orange in colour.
Dry whites vary from colourless to straw colour. Sweet and very sweet wines are darker, pale gold to amber.
When you smell a wine you enter a world of scents, you think Nature, seasons, familiar or wilder scenes.
Discover these in two stages : first keep your glass still, then swirl the wine inside the glass to magnify the aromas and their intensity.
Try it, it is a lot easier than it seems !
Take a sip, roll it slowly inside your mouth, sucking a little air to increase your perception of the aromas.
During this lingering contact, the wine progressively reveals its nature : velvety, silky, or rougher feel of the tannins on your tongue, powerful or delicate flavour, and most of all how balanced and harmonious it is.
Final stage : swallow the wine and notice its aftertaste. The lingering taste or powerful finish of the flavours and aromas is just as important as the colour and the bouquet as an indication of a noble wine.