Red? White? Dry? Sweet? Sparkling? Fruit? Have you ever been to a wine tasting and faced with all of these choices and not know where to start? Well before you head out to your next wine tasting, let me provide some guidance.
Depending on which wine magazine you read, which web site you look up, and which winery you visit, you may hear a variety of “proper” ways to taste wine. I don’t recall ever seeing the “official” order of tasting wine so here is my “preferred” way of tasting wine:
White (start with the driest wine you like and work towards the sweeter white wine)
Red (again start with the driest working your way to the sweetest)
Blush (if you are offered multiple blush wines be sure to ask which of the wines is drier)
Fruit (start with a white fruit wine such as Peach before trying a red wine such as Cherry)
Sparkling/Champagne (many people prefer to start with a Sparkling wine but I love to enjoy sparkling wine at the end of a tasting)
If you are not a fan of one of the wine categories, feel free to skip that portion of the wine tasting. However, I highly encourage you to at least sample a few to see how your taste buds change throughout the tasting.
Now you may be asking why do you taste in this order? The main reason is so you don’t overwhelm your tastebuds with the sweetness and eventually “tainting” the drier wines. Have you ever walked into your favorite restaurant and ordered dessert first, then tried the baked potato and finally the steak? While it may be a lot of fun to eat that way, by the time you get to the steak, it just doesn’t taste the same. Your taste buds have gone into sensory overload.
If you are not sure how dry or sweet the wine is, don’t hesitate to ask, it’s an important question to know the answer. Also, please note that if you are tasting wines at an Ohio winery or wine retailer, it is state law that you pay for the samples so call ahead and find out what the sampling fee is.
Now that you know how to sample wines, be sure to check out some of the wineries in the area and local wine festivals to put your new knowledge to work!
Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on events or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com or call 330.527.4118.