I recently had the privilege of visiting one of the best vineyards in Italy during a short trip to Sicily. Tasting all kinds of wine and strolling through the beauty of the vineyards was definitely a highlight of the trip, but I also came back with a deeper understanding of the wine industry. Donnafugata was founded more than 50 years ago and is still run by the same family who continue to be passionate about what they do. From rosés to stronger reds, the line has an extensive and impressive portfolio of wines available all around the world. Wine tasting is an assessment of a wine’s quality. It’s not just about taste but also covers aroma, color, the way it feels in one’s mouth and how long the flavour persists in the mouth after tasting. Wine tasting is also a way to determine the maturity of the wine and whether it is suitable for aging or best for immediate consumption. Its purpose is to discover the key facets of the wine in order to appreciate it better in every sense of the word. Here are four easy steps to wine tasting, if you are still wondering how to properly do it.
After filling the glass about one-third full (never more than half of the glass!), make sure to hold the glass by its stem to fully appreciate it color and texture and prevent the heat of your hands from altering the wine’s temperature. The true colour, or hue, of the wine is best appreciated by tilting the glass and looking at the wine through the rim, to see the variation from the deepest part of the liquid to its edges. Analyze its clarity, its intensity and its color to prepare yourself before tasting it.
Next comes the swirling, which seems to be a part that makes a lot of people uncomfortable. The easiest way to swirl is to leave the base of the glass on a table, hold the stem between your thumb and your finger, and gently rotate the wrist slowly. Move the glass until the wine almost hits the rim, then stop. As the liquid goes back into the bottom of the glass, a transparent film will appear on the inside of the glass known as the wine’s “legs”. The more ‘’legs’’ a wine has, the more alcohol it has.
This is usually one of my favorite part of wine tasting, the part where my imagination starts exploring the aromas of the wine and anticipating what it will taste like. What notes do you detect, are there any fruity or sweet notes you can smell? The sense of smell is the most revealing aspect of our examination, and it can also connect to emotion or memory, so stop and appreciate this step!
Then, it’s finally time to taste. If you want to do it properly, you should keep the liquid in your mouth for at least 10 seconds. You should also try to inhale slowly to intensify the aromas and fully taste the wine. Does it taste like the aromas you smelled previously? How does it feel in the mouth?
Stay tuned for our next article about my trip to Italy with the Donnafugata team. Happy tasting everyone!