It’s a growing trend in some of the finer restaurants, not to mention restaurants that simply are owned by wine lovers: flights.
Wine flights usually consist of anywhere from four to six wines, typically offered in 1 to 2-ounce pours. Flights may be all white, all red, a mix of white and red, or “themed” — South American whites… big, bold reds… sparkling wine other than Champagne… and so on. Themed flights are limited only by the imagination of the person putting them together.
Which leads us to today’s FAQ…
QUESTION: More and more restaurants seem to be offering flights of wines — which is cool, because my husband and I like to try new things. How do we know what order to taste the wines in?
ANSWER: That’s a great question, because not every restaurant has a sommelier to guide you through the process.
At a minimum, you should be provided with a “tasting sheet” to guide you through the wines. Often, these pre-printed sheets will include circles, on which the wine glasses will be placed.
Sometimes the circles will be accompanied by numbers. Those numbers could be keyed to selections on the restaurant’s wine list. Some sheets may even include the full names of the wines being served.
If there is no sommelier and if there is no tasting sheet, you’re on your own. The basic process is to taste the lighter white wines first, then the richer white wines, then the lighter red wines, and finally the robust red wines.
If there also is a sparkling wine in the flight, taste it first. If there also is a dessert wine, such as Port, taste it last.
We suggest tasting all of the white wines before moving on to the reds. Once your palate has been exposed to the tannins that big red wines possess, it’s difficult to go back to lighter-styled wines and be able to taste all of their more delicate flavors.
Flights of wine are not only fun to drink, but also excellent educational tools. They can help you identify characteristics in wine that you like and don’t like, and steer you toward the varietals and blends that you’ll love.