Avoiding the wrath of grapes

Sip, savor and enjoy all wine has to offer!

Photo by Kate Westervelt
Sip, savor and enjoy all wine has to offer!

For some, wine tasting can seem like a high society form of entertainment. The swirling of the glass, the smelling of the aromas, the puckering of the lips, it all seems so ritzy. It’s enough to make any college student grab a cold beer instead.

“You need to know what you are talking about when it comes to wine tasting,” said senior Shannon Davis. “It can definitely be intimidating.”

Wine may also turn some students off due to its mature appeal.

“I feel wine is for older generations,” said alumna Tina Brown. “I’ll probably be more into it when I’m older.”

Don’t be fooled. Some college students will host wine tasting parties this holiday season instead of the normal kegger, according to senior Scott Byrer.

“This season my roommates and I are having a more formal get together. We will serve wine and cocktails instead of the typical beer,” said Byrer. “It will be fun to try something different.”

Wine tasting is an adventure that will tickle all five senses.

“I know that you are supposed to include all of your senses. Even hearing the clink of the glass gets your sense of sound buzzing,” said Davis.

Gaining some wine tasting expertise will help you develop a new appreciation for both the wine and the winemaker according.

“Wine takes a lot of preparation and time to make,” said junior Gladys Mburu. “I always appreciate the winemakers’ talent.”

According to the Saint Clair Vineyard, wine tasting experts, located in Deming, NM, begin the tasting experience with sight. No matter what your wine of choice is, begin by assessing the color. Both color and clarity play major roles in distinguishing the quality of the wine. Tilt the glass to either side and notice the color that forms from the glasses rim to its middle. For red wines, shades may vary from the richest ruby to the darkest purple and even shades of brown. If it is a white or rose wine the color can fluctuate between, pale yellows, ambers, browns and even light greens. There is no right or wrong color; it is simply a process to take note of your personal preference.

Once you have assessed the color, take a look at its clarity, or as a true wino would say, its “opacity.” Look to see if it’s cloudy, dull, or opaque. Even check to see if there are any pieces of cork floating around. These pieces are known as “floaters,” according to Wine.com, and can make it a little rough on the way down. With red wines, the more translucent it is, the older it may be.

After looking comes smelling. It may look silly at first but there is great reason to this technique. According to Tasting-Wine.com there are two ways to smell your wine. The first is to take a quick whiff and then take a second, deeper whiff. Or choose to just take one deep whiff for the whole grandiose affect. Really concentrate on the aroma. Common aroma scents include fruity, earthy, vanilla, spices, wood, herbs or flowers.

Finally, it’s time to take a sip. According to Wines.com, it’s only a sip. Do not gulp the wine like a beer. Apparently it’s not an acceptable technique. Be sure to fill your mouth only halfway and allow the wine to slide back and forth across your tongue. Take note of the taste. Is it acidic or sweet? Also notice the wines feel. Is it rough or sleek? Notice whether the wine is light, medium or full-bodied. The simplest way to decide this is to compare it to milk. Are you drinking fat free, two percent or whole? By the time you actually taste the wine, you’ve earned it, so enjoy it.

Following these three simple steps is sure to help you get through those awkward holiday dinner parties. So sit back, sip lightly and remember to savor the aroma.

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