Wine tours are an increasingly popular choice among discerning holiday makers but the world of wine can be somewhat daunting and, no matter how much you read up before you go, wine tours can often be a little intimidating at first. There is much more to wine than just drinking it and the idea of these trips is to teach you not only about the grapes, the soil and the process of making the wine, but also to offer an insight into the chemistry of what is involved and what exactly you are tasting in your glass. |
If you want to at least look like you know what you’re doing when visiting a winery, take note of these tips and you will immediately feel more confident - and hopefully get a deeper appreciation.
Firstly take your glass and note the colour of the wine, which actually says more than you think about its taste. Hold your glass out in front of you and tilt it. The deeper the colour, the more concentrated a wine is, while a paler colour indicates a more acidic, younger wine.
Examine every glass of wine like this before you try it and you will soon realise the relationship between colour and taste. The more wine tours you do, the easier it gets.
Get Your Nose Involved
Our sense of smell is so important when tasting wine, because taste and smell work hand in hand. By smelling a wine and identifying the different aromas, you can learn how to taste with more confidence. The best way to release the aromas in your drink is to gently swirl the liquid around in the glass. Oxygen then penetrates the wine and emphasises the flavours. Smelling is best done with closed eyes. Try to identify what you can smell, whether it’s berries, leather, melon or wood. Take note of what you smell and you’ll soon learn to relate the smell to the taste of the wine.
Train The Taste Buds
Tasting is very straightforward. Just take a small sip and swirl the wine around your mouth so that all of your taste buds have the opportunity to react with it. Have your eyes closed again and, while you taste, ask yourself about the flavour. Is it sweet or woody? Can you taste fruit or flowers? Once you are satisfied that you have tasted sufficiently, swallow the wine and be conscious of the taste lingering in your mouth. Take notes all the way along and you will begin to build a picture of different wines and which ones you like.
Ask, Ask, Ask
On wine tours, you are not expected to be an expert, so ask as many questions as you need to. Asking questions brings cohesion in a group and also encourages others to ask questions that might also interest you.
Sip and Enjoy
At the end of the day, wine tasting is about the tasting - so you must enjoy it! Obviously you will sample lots of different wines, so be aware of how much you actually drink. Sip slowly and appreciate each one fully, and you will come away feeling much more like you know what the world of wine is all about.
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury barge holidays. Offering holidays to France and other great destinations, itineraries include wine tours and other cultural and themed activities. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.
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