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Everything you always wanted to know about wine but never dared to ask

Are you one of those people who never know what to say to the waiter at the restaurant who asks for your approval before serving the wine to your family? Here is an article that is made for you! We offer you some tips to learn how to taste a wine and whether it is good to taste. Of course it will take a little practice before you can impress the audience, but it's not the most difficult part of the job! 😉

The simulation of the situation

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You want to know if a wine is good for tasting: this means that you have to differentiate between bad wine and wine you don't like. We must therefore be objective. Of course, this does not exclude that you may not like what others consider to be a good wine. Also, you must mobilize all your senses, with of course a predilection for taste. Indeed, to be ready to enjoy a wine, you must not have consumed any food with a strong taste before tasting. Once you are ready to taste, you can start following my following steps: the tasting begins with the visual, then it becomes olfactory and finally gustatory.

The first approach to tasting: The visual

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Château Grand Français

A quality wine will regularly have an intense and brilliant colour. The colour of the wine is also an indicator for its age: for a red wine, the more the hue pulls towards the orange-red "brick", the older the vintage will be; if it is clear and draws on a purple colour, it is younger. Attention the color varies mainly also thanks to the grape varieties used. Anthocyanins (the pigments that give colour) are found in the skin of the grape. As far as white wine is concerned, the older it gets, the more it tends towards a golden yellow colour. It is up to you to decide if the wine should have spent more time in the cellar.

The importance of the nose

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Wine is also tasted through its smell, you can start to judge it only by the fragrances it gives off.

Lean over your glass and inhale: you get your first impression "the first nose". You can already, if the wine is open enough, distinguish certain aromas (floral, mineral, vegetable...); if you can't detect any aroma, the wine can be said to be "closed", then you must let it air. If then, after stirring your glass so that the aromas are released (the "second nose"), you can smell again and try to identify the aromas that come out of it. These can be spicy, floral, fruity... You must concentrate on the variety of these aromas contained in the wine. The aromas can be confirmed during the tasting: the complexity of a wine is part of its qualities and balance. It must combine flavours, nuances of aromas.

The secret of wine balance

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Then comes the moment when you taste the wine. To be considered good, a wine must be balanced. During the first (alcoholic) fermentation in the vinification, the sugars contained in the grapes are transformed into alcohol. It is therefore necessary to carefully control this stage in the production process in order not to have a wine that is too alcoholic or sweet at the end. The winegrowers therefore work on the balance between sugar, fruit and acidity to keep the product fresh.

For white wines it is different, there are different styles of white wines recognizable according to the quantity of sugars contained: Dry, semi-dry, sweet, mellow, sweet. In any case, we are always looking for a balance between sugar and acidity, neither of which should take precedence over the other in order to maintain harmony in the mouth.

A little extra tip!

A wine is also characterized by its length in the mouth, which is counted as "caudalies": one caudalie = one second. Indeed, when you swallow or spit out the wine, the aromas can remain in the mouth; this is called length. It is based solely on its aromas, volume and intensity. The average for quality wines is between 3 and 9 Caudalies. For the record, a very good wine can go up to 20 caudalies.

Marie Lecrosnier-Wittkowsky (for Les Grappes)

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