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Learning the ropes of wine tasting subtleties




Wine tasting is a tactful exercise, which requires patience and perseverance but it is a compulsory prerequisite to the appraisal of a wine. Since it demands a certain level of attention, it consequently eases the memorization of wines and of their flavours as well as it ripens olfactory and taste sensibility.

Further to the technical step, which requests a fair judgement of the intrinsic characteristics of a wine, a more pleasure-seeking stage follows, in which the wine takes its whole dimension in a social context. Do not hesitate to take advantage of concrete opportunities such as a meal between friends to uncover a wine.

We invite you to follow this fast initiatory course at the heart of wine tasting so as to talk more easily about wines you appreciate. But above all, here are some basic rules, which are key to success :  - Take your time : the aim is to appreciate, in the litteral meaning, a wine.
 - Personal and practical conditions :

The chosen place must be deprived of smells and must be lighted with a light, which does not alter colours, so, ideally daylight.

As a rule, the glass should fit to the kind of wine it contains. To enable the lattest to reveal its character in the best way, the top of the glass has to be tightened in comparison either with its base. In any case, the glass has to be clear so as not to change wine appearance; get a shank long enough between the stem and the body in order to avoid any thermal influence of the hand on the wine and to ease, as well, the rotation of the glass, which increases the contact between oxygen and wine and make it possible, in this way, to exhale its plain aromas.

INAO glasses (opposite) are a relevant worldwide reference since they give good results on all kinds of wines.

Here is a descriptif of the best suited glasses regarding the kind of wine :

For light white wines :
Choose a glass with a small volume and diameter, which will be used for Riesling, Sancerre…

For robust white wines :
Prefer a larger volume since these wines need to breathe. To use for barrel-raised Chardonnay and Sauvignon.

For hardly tannic red wines :
Opt for a wide-enough opened glass so as to directly reach all the sensible areas of the mouth. To use for Gamay, Pinotage…

For highly tannic red wines :
Choose a high wine glass in order to lead the bouquet, still concentrated, until the nose. And if the opening gap is not to narrow, flavours can directly be sensed on the tip of the tongue, which is sensible to fruity and sweetened notes. Bitterness is, thus, less obvious. To use with young Bordeaux wines.

For robust red wines :
A glass with a sizeable diameter will enable the wine to breathe. Alcohol will, thus, takes its whole scale ; body and complexity will express themselves better. To use for old Burgundy wines, Syraz wines…

For syrupy wines :
The balloon of the glass must be relatively reduced since these wines are to be drunk by taking small swallows.

Wine tasting will ideally take place before meals when all senses are alert. Best suitable hours will be between 10 and 12 am and between 4 and 6 pm. The person, who tastes the wine, must have not eaten, neither drunk coffee, nor smoken so as not to alter its perception of the wine in its mouth. It is, by the way, advised to avoid wearing perfume (particularly impeding), as well as hairspray or after-shave, which would risk to disturb the sense of smell.

Alcohol abuse is detrimental to one's health, drink with moderation

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