Think When You Drink

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A co-worker who is into nice wines recently told me that she used to pour her mother nicer wines when she visited. The problem was her mother would down her glasses of wine like water. She tried to have her mother slow down and enjoy the wine, but to no avail. So, she now serves her mother inexpensive wines and pours herself the good stuff. Her mother doesn't seem to notice.

When people ask me about wine, I tell them that there is so much more to wine than simply drinking. One of the simple ways to get more enjoyment out of a glass of wine is to follow the Five S's. When you are served a glass of wine, take a close look at the wine and its color (See the wine). Then give your glass a gentle swirl to help release the wine's aromas. Then smell the wine and pay attention to what you smell. And, yes, use your imagination. Your brain stores lots of information on smells and the wine's aroma surely will spark memories of other smells.  Then sip, don't guzzle, your wine. Let it stay briefly in your mouth. Then, swallow and enjoy the immediate flavors and those that linger.

The five S's, See...Swirl...Smell...Sip...Swallow will help to better enjoy the wine that you are served. And, it makes you "think when you drink." I assure you, it will make your next glass of wine a better one! Cheers!

Ever Wonder Why People Look So Closely at Their Glass of Wine?

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You see it a lot. As soon as the wine is poured in the glass, the first thing someone will do is raise the glass and look at the wine. But why do this you may ask?

In a past blog we examined the "Five S's of Wine Tasting" that include See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Swallow.  So, let's focus on "See." You'll find that a lot can be learned from just looking at the wine in the glass.

One thing that can quickly be detected by looking at your wine are flaws.  One flaw is oxidation. It can be noted by dis-colorization of the wine and is easily spotted if you know what you're look for. Wines take on brown hues with age. Whites can become golden to almost orange. Reds will show these brown hues around the edges of the glass. Usually, a white wine that is showing brown hues is too old. But, with a red wine, it may simply be a visual demonstration that the wine has become a bit oxidized with age. This is not necessarily a flaw but it could be a warning sign before you continue through the Five S's.

Another thing you might see in your glass is sediment. If you see small particles in the wine or sticking to the side of the glass, it indicates that the wine is either unfiltered or has developed some sediment in the bottle during the aging process.  Sediment itself is not a flaw but it's typically an unpleasant sensation in your mouth when you get a bunch of it. This can easily be fixed at home by filtering the bottle before drinking or, if you've ordered the wine at a restaurant, you can request another bottle or to have the bottle filtered.

You can also learn a bit about the wine's body by looking at it. But, we'll save that for next time. Until then, cheers!

How to Reset Your Sense of Smell When Wine Tasting

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While our tongue is only able to detect five basic tastes, our nose is capable of detecting millions of different aromas.

When wine tasting, one of the Five S’s is smell.  You stick your nose into the wine glass and take a sniff. You can get a very quick idea of what the wine will taste like and you may even detect some of the fruit aromas. But very quickly, after just about two sniffs, your nose tends to switch off and become insensitive to further sniffs of the same aromas.

One way wineries and wine tasting rooms will address this issue is to re-set your olfactory system by having you smell coffee beans.  This shifts the receptors in your nose and brain to something completely different. That way, when you sniff your next wine, your sense of smell is reset and once again heightened.

But you may not always have coffee beans with you when you are tasting wines. The one thing that you always have with you is your arm. And it can come in very handy when wanting to reset your nose. Just take a quick sniff of your arm (preferrably while not wearing any scented lotions, sunscreen or other scented products). This quickly resets your nose and allows you to get back to smelling the intricate wine aromas.

So, here's to smelling your arm!  And, to being better prepared to experience all the wonderful aromas that wines have to offer  Cheers!