From the Wine Cave

By Kimberly Fisher

As winter months arrive, and their chill fiIt’s the beginning of a new year and if you are like most of us, we set out to change or do something by making a resolution. It may be to work harder at your job or to look and feel better. Often times the belief is to have the latest and greatest to get us to a place we aspire to be.

This year, how about bringing yourself back to the basics? As the wine world continues to revolutionize with the coolest gadgets or the hottest new varietal, one can’t really understand or appreciate a bottle of wine without mastering the basics.

How to taste wine. It sounds so easy, but have you ever set out to really “experience” tasting? One’s approach may be to either chug down or take a sip or two. With how busy our lives are, we tend to rush through activities, jobs and even eating and drinking. The art of tasting doesn’t take that much longer, but like anything in life, when we slow down, we are amazed at what we may find. When you truly understand how to taste, you’ll see more clearly why a wine may taste as it does.

Here are the 8 S’s of Tasting Wine

SEE (Sight) – When you go to the grocery store, what grabs your eye when picking out fruits and vegetables? If it’s the color, the same goes for wine. No matter what kind of wine you are having, it should always be clear. Look inside your glass and admire its color.

SWIRL – In an easy rotation holding your glass at the stem, gently move the wine around in your glass. This will release the aromas of the wine.

SNIFF (Smell) – If you are cooking a meal, what is the appeal while preparing? It’s the smells that fill the kitchen. The same holds true for wine. Put your nose into the glass and savor the aromas. 70% of what you smell typically is what you’ll taste on your palate.

SIP (Just a little one) – Like testing your sauce while it’s cooking on the stove, you need to sample your wine to taste what it has to offer.

SLURP – Slurping aerates the wine. By getting air into your mouth and mixing it with the wine, you are able to invoke all your senses. It may seem weird at first, but the more you practice, the more you will experience.

SWISH – Move the wine around on your palate so it hits every aspect of your tongue. Your tongue is like a roadmap that can detect sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami (savory). Swishing will allow you to hit all of these aspects and determine the nuances of your wine.

SWALLOW – Gently allow the wine to slowly flow down into your stomach. Do you notice any aftertastes or aromas? This is also often times referred to as the ‘finish.’ The longer the flavor lingers, the higher the quality of wine.

SAVOR – Relax, and enjoy what you just tasted. Ask yourself: Did it taste the same as it smelled? How are the aromas the same or different? Does the wine remind you of anything? Most importantly, did you enjoy it or not?

All of this might sound like a work-out, but the whole experience of the 8 S’s can take less than one minute. This new year, slow down, take a breath, and enjoy life’s little treasures. Whether you are enjoying wine or food or both together, you will be able to learn a new skill. Become enthralled in the art of tasting wine and you will be amazed at what you will experience along the way.

Kimberly Fisher is Director of Fine Wine sales for Badger Liquor – Wine & Spirits

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