1. Honor Thy Best Friend.
It’s always more fun to drink with a partner!
2. Do Thy Research.
Take 20-30 minutes to educate yourself on the vineyard, winery or tasting room you’ll be visiting. Having a basic understanding of their geographic location, the grape varietals planted, and history of the label will allow you to pick & choose wines to experiment with, and other you’d like to revisit. It’ll prepare you for a conversation with winemakers, and staff while showing a great deal of respect for their craft.
3. Thou Shalt Not Wear White.
For the stubborn hearted, read “Don’t Cry Over Spilt Wine.”
4. Thou Shalt Not Chug Before Swirling.
Allow the wine open up and ‘breath’. Swirling helps to aerate the wine allowing the aromas to come forward.
5. Thou Shall Memorize Varietal Characteristics.
90% of taste is smell, therefore, the most important aspect of wine tasting is to smell the juice. This will help you to identify certain characteristics of grape varieties. By memorizing these notes you will develop a personal preference for individual styles that will form the foundation of your wine knowledge. I suggest beginning with three major white grapes (Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay) and three major red grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir).
6. Savor Thy Juice.
Wine has three tastes: sweet (residual sugar), sour (acidity), and bitter (high alcohol or high tannin). By letting the wine linger before swallowing you will become more aware of the sensations of taste and where they occur on your tongue and in your mouth.
*Sweetness- tip of tongue
*Acidity- sides of tongue, cheek area, back of throat
*Bitterness- Back of tongue (ex. olives, coffee, arugula)
*Tannin (gritty,tactile sensation)- middle of tongue
7. Thou Shalt Honor Thy Spittoon
General rule of thumb: spit at tastings, swallow at dinner. It’s NORMAL to be offered a “spit cup so take advantage and choose to indulge in only those wines you truly enjoy.
8. Thou Shalt Not Cup The Bulge
Consider a bit of tasting etiquette, and hold your wine glass firmly by the stem. Not only is it classier, but you ‘ll have better leverage to swirl your wine, and will avoid disturbing the wines temperature.
9. Honor Thine Own Rules
Ask questions, be social and consider basic wine tasting guidelines and techniques, but don’t take yourself too seriously.
10. Remember to Call Thy D.D.