How to Fully Experience Wine

“See me / Feel me / Touch me / Heal me.”

Those lyrics from The Who’s iconic “Tommy” rock opera could make one think about… yes… wine appreciation.

For many people, the only sense used when drinking wine is taste. Which makes perfect sense, since flavor tends to be what we enjoy most about eating or drinking.

But to fully appreciate wine—particularly wines of exceptional quality—one must also embrace three of the four other senses.

First, we see the wine. Next, we smell it. Thirdly, we “feel” it. And, finally, we taste it.

Follow these tips and, over time, you’ll embrace wine not merely as a beverage, but as a sensual experience.

  • See the wine.

    Its color provides clues about its complexity, its age and even its future. Deeply hued wines tend to be bolder in flavor than lightly colored wines. Those with some brown coloring around the “edges” in a glass may be near their peak of maturity, meaning it’s probably time to drink up.

  • Smell the wine.

    Pour the wine into a glass—no more than half-full. Swirl the wine, helping release its full spectrum of aromas. Think about what you’re smelling. Is it fruit? What kind? Is it flowers? What type? Is it spice? Baking or cooking? The smell of the wine is directly linked to the wine’s flavor.

  • “Feel” the wine.

    Hold the wine in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing it. Does it feel “heavy” or “light”… or perhaps somewhere in-between? Does it seem a bit flat and dull, or is it assertive and bright?

  • Taste the wine.

    By using your other senses, when the time finally comes to taste the wine, you’ll be much more aware of the flavors. Instead of referring to a specific wine as “sweet” or “sour,” you’ll be able to describe its color and level of richness, as well as specific aromas and flavors.

And when you can do that, you’ll no longer merely taste wine; you’ll experience it.

Kind of like the difference between listening to your favorite music group through ear buds, and seeing the group perform live.

Posted in In the Cellar
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