Last night I attended my first formal ‘Intro to Wine’ class at the SF Wine Center in San Francisco. Let me just say that it was a great class. Finally, the class I’ve been waiting for where I really learn how to taste wine. Taught by Mary Burnham, freelance food and wine writer at Food & Wine and the author of the 2011 & 2012 Food & Wine Magazine Guide to Wine, the class was fun and educational, all packaged in one 1.5 hr class. I highly recommend this class and cannot wait to take some others at the SF Wine Center!
Here is the Cliff’s notes version of how to taste wine:
1. Start with color or hue: how light or dark is the wine color? Intensity? Rim variation?
2. Swirl the wine and take a deep whiff: what do you smell? How complex and intense are these smells?
3. Take a sip and observe how the wine feels around the mouth: sweet/dry? what is the weight of the wine? (heavy or light) Is it acidic? Are there tannins?
4. Notice the length of the wine’s finish.
5. Other factors to describe the wine: balance, consistency, vintage, climate where the grapes were grown and harvested, old or new world, etc.
I leave you with a fun quote:
“I cook with wine; sometimes I even add it to the food.” — W. C. Fields