Few of us have enough spare time to put in the effort that it takes to become a true wine connoisseur. But that doesn’t mean you have to look clueless next time you hold a dinner party or order wine with friends. There are some simple ways you can add to your wine knowledge and look like an expert without having to read up on wines or go to fancy wine tastings.
Serve a Good Wine
Most of us associate really good wines with astronomical prices. But the truth is, if you’re smart about it, you can get high quality wines on the cheap. A good way to not only have nice wines to serve your friends, but also gain experience trying different kinds of wine, is to join a wine club. The Virgin Wine club is a good choice, because you’ll get a case of different fine wines to try and tasting notes to go along with them. You can also use a coupon to get an even better deal on wines.
Before your pour, keep these tips in mind: if you’re serving a white wine, you should take it out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before you plan to serve it. If you’re serving red, try putting it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before serving it to cool it off slightly.
Now it’s time to pour the wine. Where is the right level in the glass to pour wine? If you answered, ‘To the widest part of the glass,’ you’re right. You should pour wine until it gets to the point where the glass is its widest. And what kind of glass should you use? For white wines, you should use a more narrow glass, and for red wines you should use a wider glass to let the wine oxidize and breathe.
Swirl & Smell
After pouring the wine, hold the glass by the stem and swirl it gently in the glass. By swirling the wine, you can observe the viscosity of the wine in the streaks that form on the sides of the glass. The streaks are called “legs.” Then tilt the glass toward your nose and give it a sniff. Smelling the wine informs your palate adds another dimension to your wine drinking experience. If the wine smells too strongly of alcohol, you may want to let it breathe for a little longer.
Now take a small sip of the wine to taste it. Notice the way the wine feels in your mouth and try to notice different layers of flavor. If you’ve gotten a wine club case that includes tasting notes, refer to the notes and see what flavors and aromas you should look out for. The more you hone your tasting skills, the more complex flavors you’ll start to notice – and the more you’ll enjoy good wine.
Now comes the most important part: gather around the table with your friends, and enjoy!