If you’re a wine consumer, connoisseur, wine appreciator or are just beginning to tantalize and train your palate, this section is for you. Wine is a growing and fascinating part of our culture and it’s been a mainstay of industry in North Carolina for over a century. The "Five S's to Wine Tasting" will get you started for tasting North Carolina’s world renowned wines. Above all, enjoy!
Five S's to Wine Tasting
Pour about an ounce of wine in a clear, stemmed glass; hold the glass by the stem. Raise your glass in front of a white background and tip it slightly away from you. Check for clarity and brilliance. If the wine is dull and cloudy, something is wrong. Next, note the color and intensity of its hue. These two factors change as wine ages and are often clues to its condition and quality. As white wines age, shades of light straw with hues of yellow change to tones of full straw and gold. As red wines mature, their purple or violet tones first become ruby, then brownish-orange.
Grasp the glass firmly by the stem with one hand. Gently swirl the glass so the wine laps up the sides of the glass. Observe how the wine trickles back down. The clear tear-like streams on the side of the glass are called "legs". The thickness of the legs will give you a clue as to how full-bodied the wine is. For the next step, swirl the wine again to get the most concentrated smell of the wine.
Now raise the glass to your nose and sniff deeply. Your nose will tell you about 75 percent of what you want to know about a wine. An experienced taster can detect and distinguish hundreds of smells - and so can you. The majority of these smells are everyday scents. All it takes is practice.
Take a good sip. The taste of the wine in your mouth should confirm what your nose already told you.
As you swish the wine through your mouth, your taste buds will note the presence of fruit, acidity, and alcohol. If tannins are present, your cheeks will feel an astringent puckering sensation, as is often the case with red wine. (This is the same way your cheeks feel when you drink a strong cup of tea.) The tip of your tongue will detect the wine's degree of sweetness, something your nose cannot do. Check for a balance of all the tastes you sense. Now swallow and savor the taste. The longer the taste stays in your mouth after swallowing, the higher the quality of the wine.