I was blessed to be sent to Napa Valley California on a trip for work. The visitor’s center where I work is part of a group called the Guest Relations Association, or GRA for short. This trip was all about taking public tours and evaluating what was well done and what could be improved, in order to make our own facility better.
We visited about 10 different venues, each with their own charm and interest encompassing everything from Giants Stadium (a great tour) to the Jelly Belly Factory as well as several breweries and wineries. We also had the pleasure of taking Wine Tasting 101 at Copia, the American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts. Here are some useful wine tasting notes I learned in this useful class.
Swirl – This adds oxygen and rounds out the flavors. Try a careful taste both doing this and not, it makes a huge difference. This is also where you see the legs which are streams of wine down the sides of the glass. These are largely sugars and alcohol. Good legs really isn’t that meaningful.
Sniff – Interestingly enough, you smell based on your own life experiences. Tastes can be as bizarre as leather, cut grass, mold, dirt and as wonderful as sun warmed raspeberries or juniper berries.
Sip – Take a good sized taste, roll it around in your mouth and really taste it. Sipping on wine might sound romantic but won’t help you figure out if you like a bottle/
Savor – Really think about it, feel it. Take time to make it worth while.
Spit/Swallow – Pretty much what it implies.
Now for the V’s. Take notes on
Vintage – the year can make all the difference
Varietal – the grape – what you liked about it
Vinyard – the producer
Then you can remember what you liked the next time. I have been pleasantly surprised at the enjoyment I have gotten from each glass after taking this class. It becomes more academic than just swill, and that’s another S. Cheers!