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Erica Hungerford Comm 3040 Assignment 10 FoodCulture Magazine How to taste wine like the experts Impress your friends with a new skill at your next dinner party! Here are five easy steps to guide you through the line tasting process, taken from the expert knowledge of Cornell Professor Stephen Mutkoski. 1. Check the cork! If you were just served wine by the bottle at a restaurant or popped open the bottle yourself, make sure to feel and look at the cork. If the cork, or “bung” as some call it, is dry and crumbly, too wet, or has a bad or musty smell, that could be a sign of a soiled or poorly stored wine. If the cork feels like it’s in good condition then that’s a good sign!

2. Take a look at the wine itself. Appearance and color are your first clues to how the wine will taste! Tilt the wine glass until it is half an inch from spilling over the brim over a white background, like a tablecloth, to get the full effect of the color. White wines can range in color from clear, almost like water, to straw and even to gold. Red wines, on the other hand, can be light purple, ruby red, or a dark brick color.

3. Bring the glass to your nose and take a whiff If it is a red wine, make sure you swirl it around in your glass for a few seconds first to release the fragrance. Inhale fully and try to pick up on the subtle distinct smells that


the wine gives off. There are two words used to describe the smell of wine: Aroma and Bouquet. Aroma is the fragrance associated with the grape variety. This takes a lot of practice since there are so many different ways to describe a wine, but these are some typical words used with popular wines: green apple, vegetal or herbal, flowery, red fruit, and cherries. The Bouquet describes the fragrances that develop during the wine making process. For example, adding wood influence, like storing the wine in an oak barrel or adding oak chips, tends to give wines a vanilla, toasty, spicy, or buttery scent.

4. Take a sip! Wine experts have a particular way of sipping in which they take a medium-sip, hold it in their mouth, purse their lips, draw in air, swish it around, and then chew before actually swallowing. This is a long process and you can try it out if you’d like or you can just try holding it in your mouth and swishing it around a bit to pick up on the flavor. The easiest way to describe wine is to talk about its balance of sugar and acidity and its flavor. Flavor depends on the varietal of the wine and taste usually follows what the wine smells like. Try to find at least two flavors to describe the wine you are tasting. While a Pinot Noir usually tastes like pepper and cherries, a Burgundy tastes like plum and oak. The balance depends on whether the wine tastes sweeter or more tart or crisp. The most basic words you can use to describe a white wine are refreshing, crisp, or sweet!


5. Now ask yourself, did you like this wine? If you said yes, then pour yourself a full glass!

Not all of us are wine experts, but all of us do know what we like and don’t like when it comes to food and even to wine. And while we may not always know the science and art behind producing an excellent wine, simply understanding our own tastes and preferences makes us proficient enough in wine tasting to make knowledgeable wine decisions! So next time you are at a restaurant or sharing a bottle with friends, give these 5 easy steps a shot and see how much it improves your wine drinking experience!

How To Taste Wine Like an Expert  

How-to article written for the class Writing and Editing fro the Media

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