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How To Open & Taste Wine
 
Before you can begin to taste the wonders of the wine you have purchased, you need to open the bottle. The bottlings generally break down into two categories, Still Wine and Sparkling Wine. First I will discuss how to open the bottle, then we can get to enjoying the wine.

Opening a Bottle of Still Wine:

1. Cut around the top of the bottle to remove enough of the metal/tin/plastic foil so that there will be no metal/material touching the wine when poured.
2. Hold your wine opener straight and twist the corkscrew through the cork, clockwise, taking care not to go all the way through the cork.
3. Pull the cork out gently, attaching the bottle opener lever to the edge of the bottle to help in the process.

Opening a Bottle of Sparkling Wine:

1. Chill the bottle, for about three hours in the refrigerator or half an hour in a bucket of ice water.
2. Wrap a towel or cloth around the bottle, to guard against the unlikely event of breakage.
3. Remove the foil wrap.
4. Place one hand firmly on the neck of the bottle, with your thumb maintaining pressure on the metal capsule against the cork.
5. Twist the wire ring six half-turns counter clockwise.
6. Remove the wire cage and shift your thumb so as to now maintain pressure on the cork (in case the bottle pressure tries to pop the cork prematurely)
7. Tilt the bottle at a 45° angle, facing away from you and all others present.
8. Hold the cork firmly, and slowly twist the bottle. (Yes, this is the correct technique; turn the bottle, not the cork.)
9. As you feel the cork begin to loosen and rise, hold it with back pressure from your hand. Allow the cork to slowly ease out of the bottle. If done correctly, you will hear a gentle "sigh" rather than a "pop".
10. Pour a small amount in each glass.
11. As the initial mousse subsides, pour more Champagne into each glass.

How to Taste The Wine

1. Use a white background to detect color of the wine.
2. Create a swirling motion in the glass. This will aerate the wine to allow aromas to escape as well as to create "legs".
3. As you taste the wine, draw air into your mouth through the wine in order to magnify the intensity of the flavors. After you taste the wine, exhale through your nose because this is where you detect most tastes. The tongue reveals relatively little flavor. The tongue detects sweetness on the tip, bitterness at the back and top, acidity or sourness on the sides, and saltiness at the front sides.
4. An often-heard term is “finish”. This term refers to a measure of the tastes or flavors that linger in the mouth after the wine is tasted. Generally, the longer the finish, the better the wine.
Assessing The Wine

1. Sight or "Eye":

This is your first introduction to the wine. What we want to determine here is clarity and viscosity of the wine. It is our first hint of what the wine will taste like.
a. Color - A red wine may be described as ruby, purple or garnet if young and brick or orange if old. A white wine may be described as pale-straw to golden tones.
b. Clarity- Anywhere from Cloudy to Brilliant are common terms.
c. "Legs" appear on the inside of the glass after swirling.
d. Bubbles: smaller the bead, and the more plentiful the bead are two indicators of quality.

2. Smell or "Nose":

You smell to first determine if there are flaws in the wine or if it has gone over the top (turned toward vinegar). Next you want to smell to assess the aroma and get the first hint of that wonderful taste to come or maybe to not come, but at least you will be ready.
a. Are there any flaws in the wine? Corked? Oxidized?
b. Aromas (Not to be confused with bouquet) Aroma should really be confined to the fresh and fruity smells of the grapes; bouquet is the smell of the wine.

3. Taste or "Palate":

Well, you are finally at the hightlight of the process, tasting. As you taste the wine try to identify the taste you find. Certain wines will display traits unique to the grape variety. Such as, Sauvignon Blanc which will usually possess a grassy taste. We have listed below some common taste traits for wine.
a. Fruit - cassis, citrus, apricot, cherry...
b. Flowers - honeysuckle, violets...
c. Earth - mineral, chalk, mushroomy...
d. Nutty - hazelnut, almond...
e. Herbs - grassiness, tobacco, rosemary...
f. Spice - clove, vanilla, cinnamon, pepper...
g. Vegetable - bell pepper, leafy...
h. Wood - smoke, toast, pine...
i. Others - butter, chocolate, bread dough, cheesy...


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