Archive for August, 2011
What makes a wine complex? Complexity, in terms of wine tasting and evaluation, is a word meant to describe the various aromas, flavors and character of a wine. When wine tasting, it is recommended to place the glass on the counter, holding the base firmly to the counter, and gently but vigorously swirl the glass in a circular motion to try to aerate the wine before holding it to your nose. Once you have swirled, quickly place the glass so that the bridge of your nose practically touches the rim of the glass and inhale. The aromas you get from that first inhale might seem overwhelming at first, which is why you swirl and inhale several times before taking your first sip. Most wines will give you fruity smells – white wines can hold a lot of citrus type smells for instance while oak aged reds might smell earthy (like fresh potting soil, or the inside of an old wooden trunk)- but wines aromas are certainly not limited to fruit or earth (check out this aroma/flavor chart to help you learn how to describe your wine). The variety of scents you detect from this process help in determining the complexity of the wine. If you smell a lot of different characteristics in the wine, you describe the wine as having a “complex nose” (nose means aroma or smell). Hopefully a complex nose is actually indicative of complex taste, too, so that every sip you might be able to pick out one of the many aromas you initially detected. This is the complexity of wine. If you drink a wine that smells a bit like citrus but does not have a lot of flavor, the wine is not complex. Complexity is usually linked to the quality of the wine, but as with all wine drinking – your individual preference is all that matters. Whether you like your wine complex or simple and easy going, all that matters is that you are responsibly enjoying your wine experience. Happy tasting! Sponsored by Su Vino Winery’s Almond Champagne.
Ever wonder why people tilt their wine glasses toward the light during a wine tasting? What are they looking for? Well, first they make sure no black fly has landed in their Chardonnay, but they are also looking for the clarity of the wine. Clarity is simply the amount of transparency and undissolved matter is in wine (how clear is the wine, can you see through it? Is there anything floating in it, like sediments or crystals?) and is one method used to determine the quality of the wine. Holding your glass at an angle and towards the light helps you to determine how clear the wine is, how well the wine was filtered and even the relative age of the wine. You want a wine that has noticeable color (yes, even white wines have color and if they don’t, it could be a sign of grapes harvested too soon which greatly alters the taste). You also want to look for a gradient of color in the wine as you tilt the glass (think of a color scale or a sunset, where the richest colors are at one end and it fades to a lighter shade at the other, that’s what your wine should do toward the lip of the glass). The color for whites should range from a straw-like yellow to an amber color (in general, if it is clear or brown in color, the wine is no good). The color of reds should range from a cherry color (usually indicates young wine) to a brick red (usually indicates an older or aged wine). Again, avoid brown as it probably means the wine has oxidized and is no good anymore. When tasting wine, whether at a winery, a restaurant or at home, evaluating the clarity before pouring a full glass can help in determining how the wine will taste (and if you haven’t bought the bottle might help in determining if you should or should not buy the bottle). Above all, remember to enjoy yourself responsibly, wine is an experience, not just a drink! Brought to you by Su Vino Winery.