We know, we know. All that slurping and spitting is not for you, and rightly so - you love Glug because it's fun and unpretentious. But if you’re going to get the best experience from each bottle you buy, we do need to cover some wine tasting basics.
We’re definitely not going to ask you to spit anything out! That only becomes important when you taste multiple wines in one sitting. If we swallowed everything, we tasted here at Glug, you'd find us snoozing under the sales desk by midday.
There is a process in tasting and taking a moment to consciously consider your wine can really take your experience to the next level. So, let’s do this in the simplest and least pompous sounding way possible – which is not easy.
Step 1 - Look at your wine
It’s important to look at your wine. You’ll see wine geeks holding their glass at a 45-degree angle against a white piece of paper or cloth*. Why do they do this? Firstly, to check the clarity and cleanliness. Secondly, to assess the colour.
In general, you want the wine to be clean and clear. I say ‘in general’ as unfiltered wines are extremely popular these days - we have a few great examples in store - but if the wine in your hand is not unfiltered, yet the juice in your glass appears hazy, chances are there is something wrong.
Step 2 - Swirl ’n’ sniff
Yes, you’re right - it can sometimes look pretentious, but honestly, it’s important. You’ll miss a lot of the wine experience by not swirling at least a small amount of wine in the glass before gently sniffing. Why gently? Because inhaling too quickly can overwhelm the senses and you’ll just get heady with the alcohol fumes. By swirling the wine, you activate the compounds which produce those gorgeous aromas. You’re basically letting the wine breathe again after being cooped up in a bottle for so long, so please; swirl, sniff, repeat.
At first you might think “I just smell grapes” but be patient. Start to collect a little smell memory bank. Practice conscious smelling (we know but stick with us...). What can you smell? It could be spices, wet stone (yes, seriously), flowers, herbs, bread... By taking a conscious sniff with every glass, we promise you’ll be picking up these aromas in no time.
Step 3 - Let’s taste!
Finally, we get to the best part. As we know, your tongue has many receptors that detect salty, sour, sweet and bitter flavours, so it’s important to make sure the wine hits your whole palate. To achieve this, you do the old wine pro thing of sucking a small amount of wine into your mouth as if using a straw, before circulating it around your mouth. It might feel strange and sound very ‘slurpy’, but boy, you’ll really taste the wine now!
Notice things and ask yourself questions; is the taste the same as the smell; is it balanced; are the sweet, salty, sour and bitter notes in harmony? It’s not a bad thing if they’re not. It is just a personal preference. A little tip. Can you detect vanilla? This is often a sign of oak. Is it ripe or jammy? This is a sign of a warmer climate. Does it have some grip or tannin? This may be a sign of the grape variety.
The more you smell and taste consciously the more experienced your nose and palate will become.
We’re not asking you to do this with every wine. Please ignore all the above if you just want crack open a bottle with your friends. There is a time and a place, however, we promise your wine adventure will become more interesting if you follow the above steps.
Above all enjoy!
See you soon, Dee