Wine Articles --> Swirling & Sniffing
Swirling & Sniffing
Learn to "wine speak" with your nose
Face it, good wine is an expensive beverage. Many people would consider even a $10 bottle of wine at dinner, extravagant. Rum and coke is certainly cheaper, and you don't have to develop a taste for it. So, are you getting the most out of your wine experiences? "An enticing California Chardonnay with a complex profile of rich fig, pear, hazelnut and citrus" - do wine reviewers just make all that stuff up? Don't you wonder if they really smell all those aromas in wine? Well, they actually do, and so can you! Try these simple steps with your Chardonnay or Cabernet, and soon you, too, will be using "wine speak."
The Glass - Perfection is a Riedel Chardonnay or Cabernet glass. Pretty good is any decent wine glass with a bowl at least 3-1/2" tall and no more than 2-1/2" wide at the lip. Also, be sure to check your glass for odors from detergent residue. Cascade does not typically enhance wine. thread
Temperature - Refrigerator temperature, 40 to 42 degrees, is way, way too cold for Chardonnay. Chardonnay served at that temperature might as well be Boone's Farm, as it will taste about the same. Chardonnay shows its best characteristics at 52 to 58 degrees. Let it warm up a little, and you will be rewarded with all those complex vanilla, creamy pear, ripe apple and nutmeg scents and flavors that good California Chardonnay is famous for. It's the opposite for Cabernet and most reds. Room temperature of 72 degrees is way too warm. The wine will show best at 62 to 65 degrees, so if you don't own a wine refrigerator, a few minutes in the refrigerator should do the trick.
Pour - Remember the idea is to enjoy the aroma of the wine, and you can't do that with a full glass. Don't pour the glass more than half-full.
Tasting - Before you take your first taste, swirl the wine gently just after it is first poured (watch what you wear when you try this the first time). Now, tilt the glass slightly and just stick your nose in it. Now, try to identify the various scents. Tasting should reinforce your identifications.
Finally - Remember, it's only wine, relax and drink it!
Place a room temperature red wine in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before you serve it, and remove white wine from the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving. To be exact, try serving:
• Chardonnay at 52° - 55°F
• Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris or Riesling at 45° - 50°F
• Cabernet, Merlot, Shiraz or Vintage Port at 62° - 65°F
• Pinot Noir or Beaujolais at 58° - 62°F
• Champagne at 42° - 45°F
• Tawny Port and Dessert Wines at 57° - 62°F
• For comparison, a refrigerator’s temperature is about 38° to 42°F.
March 8, 2017