From time to time, I like to observe other people’s method of wine tasting.
Most practice the age old ritual of see, smell, taste, spit, or, the more American way: see, smell, taste and swallow. I started writing this post and then saw that The Wine Tasting Guy has a good post on the Ritual. I think this method works for many wines that are consumed young. Depending on the situation and the wine at hand, though, I may change the order. I don’t mean spit first. Then what order, you ask? A very old bottle or a delicate varietal may not give you very long to smell the aromas, so I do that right away. For the most part, the color is not going to change very quickly during the tasting, especially for old bottles, so no need to waste precious time and inspect the wine immediately. But, the bouquet of an old Pinot Noir can be fleeting and change from one moment to the next. One of the biggest pleasures I derive from wine smelling is observing the changing aromas throughout the course of the bottle. Changing taste and body, or mouth feel, comes next and color last. Try tracking these changes once and you will see what I mean.
One last smelling exercise. Kathryn makes fun of me when I do it, but then I caught her doing it herself once (she tells me it was only to make me laugh).
A Vacuvin is (picture at right) a pump device used to create a vacuum in a partially field bottle of wine in order to eliminate oxygen contact.
When we end up with a partial bottle, I pump it until I feel the vacuum pressure build up, indicating all the air is out. At that point I quickly lift it to my nose and then push on the pump handle to release the trapped wine aroma straight into my nose. An Aroma Bomb! The small pleasures of life.