Why ‘Swirling’ Your Wine Is So Important

Couple checking wine in a vineyardBecause I’m so into music and love seeing and hearing under-the-radar singers and groups perform in intimate settings, I have grown accustomed to enjoying the “patter” between songs almost as much as the songs themselves.

Remember, these are not big rock stars with a team of roadies. Rather than having someone hand them a different guitar with a different tuning in between songs, these folks have to handle the tuning themselves on stage.

For a while, it seemed as if there had been a meeting of some of these performers, because so many of them — during a pause in the action — were making the same comment, “We tune because we care.”

Now, I find a way to equate pretty much everything in my life with wine, so when I’d hear those five words, I’d also think about some of the emails we’ve received over the years that this blog has been in existence. Many folks have written in asking whether “splashing around wine in a glass” — something they’d typically seen for the first time during their first visit to a winery tasting room — was necessary, and what it accomplished, if anything.

The action described is known as swirling, and it’s one reason wine glasses are not filled to the brim in restaurants. Imagine trying to swirl with a full glass; the result would be similar to a toddler’s first encounter with a “topless” drink cup.

Swirling a wine helps release its aroma. It’s particularly helpful with younger red wines, which can be a bit “closed in” for several minutes after the bottle is opened.

The process introduces air to the wine more quickly, and air helps the wine release its aromas and flavors.

Experienced tasters know that a wine’s aroma spectrum is directly related to its flavor spectrum. Thus, smelling a wine will provide clues about how it is going to taste.

So, while swirling certainly isn’t necessary, it’s one of those actions that can enhance the wine “experience.

Or, to put it another way, we swirl because we care.

 

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Posted in Wine FAQ

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