The Mountain Times

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A Toast: Keeping it Simple

Wine is such a pleasurable experience, why would anyone find it intimidating? This article is to show that although there are no rules when it comes to how to taste and drink wine, there are ways in which you can maximize the pleasure of your experience.

White wines should generally be served chilled, slightly warmer than refrigerator temperature and red wines at or slightly below room temperature.

It is best to enjoy wine in a wine glass and one that is made from crystal, it really does make a difference. Although you might prefer to drink wine from any container rather than not drink it at all, you will find that a wine glass really does enhance the aromas of the wine.

It is recommend that you pour about 3 to 5 ounces of wine into your glass, leaving your glass only about one third to one half full. This will give you the room to gently swirl the wine in the glass by holding the glass upright (please!) and moving it in a small circular motion parallel to the floor (best is to keep it on a flat surface such as the table). The stirring releases the aromas into the open space in the glass. Then you lift the glass to your nose and inhale deeply. Most of the flavors from wine are experienced in the aroma and not the taste, so it is the most important step.

Open your mind to your senses, and delight on the memories and associations that the wine brings to you. Does it remind you of apricots, fresh cherries, blackberry pie that your mother used to make? Or dirty socks? Do you smell strawberry fields forever-or remember what it smelled like in a silo or cow barn? Wine grapes contain many flavorful and aromatic compounds that are the same compounds found in other fruits, foods, or related matter. During fermentation, yeast creates many additional complex aromatic compounds that are the same as found in other fruits and foods. Oak barrel aging also adds flavor and aroma. The combination of all of these aromas is complex and dynamic and can make for a really rich experience.

After savoring the aromatic qualities of the wine in your glass, you are finally ready to take a sip. Take a nice sized sip and swish it around your mouth, delight in the sensations. You may even want to sip a little air into your mouth at this time. Once you swallow the wine, think of how pleasing the wine is. Most important, do you like it? Be honest, not everybody likes beets or brussel sprouts, so feel free to say what you think. From that basic question, you can get more profound in your analysis. Is the wine tart or sweet? Does it have a nice texture or is it bitter? After all, scientists say we can only taste sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and "umami," a savory character. That is why most of wine's "flavors" are in the aromas.

Do not think too hard while drinking wine! Sit back, relax, and enjoy your wine, your company, your environment, your life. Occasionally, re-try the stir, the smell, sip again and notice how wine really does change with time-just as life itself.

Tagged: wine, tasting