Swirl, Sip and Savor with Class
By: Jessica Briese
June 16, 2016
That pop of the cork…the sound of relaxation pouring into the glass…the seductive aromas that flirt with your nose like a new couple in love, dancing under the moonlight…
Well, there may be some wine connoisseurs that feel this magical experience every time they open a bottle of their favorite vintage; but there are also a lot of wine drinkers that the only difference they know between what’s in their wine glass, is whether it’s white or red.
I would like to think I have a little more knowledge on wines than just knowing what color liquid I’m drinking, but honestly, after my latest adventure of wine tasting in Placer County, I’d say I’m no better than that one person at dinner asking for a glass of the house red.
But one of the most beautiful things about this industry and the art of winemaking is that they want to educate you about the very product that they pour (pun intended) their heart and soul into. They encourage the novice to come and explore their palette with the result of their endeavors. It’s one of the biggest reasons why tasting rooms and the wines sampled in them, feel a bit more magical.
Now, if you’ve ever gone wine tasting, or maybe your first time will be this weekend…there is a certain etiquette that you should be aware of. I know this may be hard to follow as you approach your fifth glass of tasting those “reds.” But out of respect for the wine server or sommelier that’s sharing their knowledge and time with you, as well as the others trying to enjoy your same experience, there are Do’s and Don’ts of wine tasting that should be heeded.
DON’T HOLD YOUR GLASS BY THE BOWL
First let’s talk a little about the construction of the glass. The top part that holds the heavenly liquid is known as the “bowl.” The long skinny column of glass between the bowl and the base, is of course the stem. It’s also important to note that there are actually different types of glasses to be used according to the varietal you happen to be drinking.
So, this may sound trivial (and trust you me, I was an offender) but my wonderful wine server, Natsha at Casque Wines in Loomis, shared this tip with me. Don’t hold the glass by the bowl. Not because you’re not classy enough, but because if you don’t hold the glass by the stem, the heat from the hand holding the bowl of the wine glass will change the temperature of the wine, thus changing the taste.
BE OPEN MINDED
The reason majority of people go wine tasting is to experience different wines and to expand their palette, as well as to enjoy time with friends, family or that special someone. Why would you go wine tasting and not explore different flavors that you may have otherwise not experienced? Just because you THINK you may not like certain wines, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least TRY. Live a little.
HAVE SOME CLASS WITH YOUR GLASS
You are not at a dive bar, nor at a club at 2 am…enough said.
Hearing stories from a friend who use to work at a winery, he gave me the perfect example of what NOT to do…don’t make a winery your last stop on a pub crawl! There was a large group that came in to taste wine, making it clear to everyone that they were already 2 sheets to the wind, being loud and obnoxious. Well one of these classy ladies decided to use a little spot outside in the vineyard for her personal bathroom. Who does that?! Seriously.
DO HAVE FUN
Not the type of fun that you don’t remember the next day, but enjoy yourself. Listen and learn from your server. Relax and enjoy the tastes, smells, history and atmosphere of a winery. Be friendly, courteous and respectful to everyone involved – you will have more fun by doing so.
DON’T BE A WINE SNOB
You may be the expert at wine when it comes to throwing a dinner party in your backyard, but there’s no need to compete with the knowledge of the wine servers when you are wine tasting. This is their job, and they are passionate about what they do. They don’t sit at your desk while you’re working and tell you how to fill out TPS reports. Absorb their knowledge, and then assess your own opinion after tasting them. It’s ok not to like every wine you taste, but don’t be a snob about it.
DO BUY THE BOTTLE
After spending a couple of hours (or more) tasting wine and enjoying all the different wines they have to offer usually for a small cost, why not purchase that one (or more) bottles that you really enjoyed! You’re helping a local business, the local economy, and more importantly, supporting that grower and their employees, so they can continue to pour their passion, into your glass.
My experiences wine tasting has always been fun, relaxing and educational. I learn so much about wine every time I go, and I always discover a new wine I would have never normally tried. I’m so proud to live in a place that accounts for nearly 90% of American wine production and grateful for living in Northern California that is home to over 600 wineries with tasting rooms. We have so much to offer in this beautiful region, and we get to enjoy it all at our fingertips.
Thank you to Natasha, our wonderful wine server at Casque Wines, and my wine tasting buddy Kiersten!