Taste Till Your Tongue’s Content!!

Wine tasting can be much like a class (a seated, seminar-like event), or less formal with tasters just milling and mingling about with winery tasting room attendants pouring samples, or one that is just a gathering of friends.  At many tastings there is usually a group or panel of judges.  In some competitions the judges may not be allowed to talk about the wine in question.  Some believe secluding the judges is a disadvantage to the tasting as one judge may learn from another at a tasting just as any person would learn from the more experienced.  Tastings groups, events, and parties are very important for the wine industry; not only because of wine purchased, but in palate education.  As a single person it is not cost efficient or even possible to taste the amount of wines you could at a group tasting.  Even if cost is not a factor; ask yourself how much wine would I want to open and drink alone, while maintaining an ability to taste accurately, or how much can I learn tasting wine alone?

When you are in a group you have a chance to discover other people who share the same likes and dislikes for wine.  Hearing opinions from people that you personally know and respect (either themselves or just their palate) will help develop your palate education.

Any room or open area (even outside) can be used as a venue for a tasting, as long as you follow a few basic guidelines.

  1. The area should be well lighted, free of smells; be it from wood, flowers, perfume, or even many foods.

    Wine Tasters await the next pour at a Forgeron tasting event

    Wine Tasters await the next pour at a Forgeron tasting event

  2. Many serious tasters also prefer a quiet room – indeed, talking about the wine before all people have had a chance to taste it is considered a faux pas.  The power of suggestion can take hold in any taster’s mind, and you should formulate your own opinion at first.
  3. Places to sit and desks to write are a good idea if you want people to be taking notes or scoring wines.
  4. Also, with numerous wines open, a few buckets or extra cups for spitting are always a good idea.

Spitting is not at all looked down upon and is actually a necessity for serious wine tasters.  If you are drinking all of your samples, eventually the alcohol will confuse your palate.  You don’t have to swallow wine to fully taste it either.  Many people swish the wine around their mouth for 7 to 10 seconds for a full taste.  Some sip air through their lips and the wine sample; to fully experience the wine.  Not to mention what drinking your samples after a night of tasting will do to your ability to drive.   If you have a horrible aversion to spitting, try to eat a meal before hand, your body absorbs less alcohol on a full stomach.  Or if you are out for a good time be sure to organize a car pool or take a taxi.

We hope this gets you started tasting on a regular basis or at least eases some of the uppity or constricted views on wine tasting.  Tastings are really something that everyone should be doing.  If you don’t like wine, you might find a few exceptions, or you may learn why you don’t like certain wines.  Tasting is all about learning your own preferences, it just takes practice.  However, if you are looking for more tasting tips, please check back in a few weeks.  We will be discussing more fully the types of wine tastings, how to taste wine, etiquette, even wine clubs and many other tasting facets.  If you have any questions or topics please let us know.


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