Sipping the Wine:
Take a generous sip of wine. Lifting your chin, you must direct the liquid to the centre of your tongue. Close your mouth, and move your tongue like in a French kiss. The wine will finally gain the mouth cavity temperature, and will evaporate the third aroma, the third nose. To send those aromas to our throat for the after taste, we also need to purse our lips and sip-in some air. Avoiding swallowing the liquid or drooling.
Never judge a wine on its first sipping. You must try the wine at least three times. The first try is the attack. It’s like life—the first time is not always the best, you need to practice a little to get it. The second sip is the most elegant, and the third one should be perfect.
If you are at a cocktail party, or if you are a host, do this only once with each bottle, because you cannot spend the whole night doing this–it’s comes off as snobbish. But, you must be assured that the wine you are trying is in good shape, because everyone will enjoy or hate the wine you choose. That is the commitment you must take when you are the wine host.
You will feel the flavours, and the wine’s sugar content; it’s sweetness, or, the opposite of sweetness, its dryness. The wine can be sweet or dry. You will feel the acidity on the sides of your tongue, which is a very important thing, because a wine without acidity is a soulless wine, a flat wine. Acidity transmits the sensation of freshness. And bitterness–bitterness must also be there very slightly, because if not, it’s also an issue. Of course the wine has a lot of minerals, but you should not feel any salty flavours, or the wine is gone.
You will also feel tactile sensations: the temperature of the liquid, the alcohol charging the tip of your tongue, and the tannin charging reds in your gums. All those are tactile sensations. In the end: the only thing that matters is whether you like it or not. Wine is about pleasure, but we need to know all these concepts to understand what is inside the glass. There is a lot of thought to achieve these characteristics. The winemaker has checked the quality of the fruit and maintained that quality from nurturing its soil to stewarding it through the tanks and into the bottle. If we know how to taste the wine properly, we can receive its optimum expression, and better appreciate what is in the glass and how to begin pairing it, which is interesting and fun.
Remember, even with a technically perfect wine: if you don’t like it–trust your own taste. Cheers!
Adam Waxman is an award winning travel journalist focusing on food, wine and well being. As well as an actor in film, television and formerly, the Stratford Festival, he is the Associate Publisher and Executive Editor of DINE and Destinations magazine.