Wine lovers know that choosing and tasting a wine is not such a simple exercise. It's not enough to choose a bottle at random and uncork it whenever you want. Wine tasting is an art, and begins with the choice of the bottle of wine. Discover the 10 things to avoid with wine , from purchasing to tasting.
Choosing wine according to wrong criteria
In general, when we want to buy wine without having any particular knowledge of oenology, we refer to preconceived ideas which can guide us towards bad choices.
- The most expensive wine is not necessarily the best: it is not enough to buy the most expensive bottles of wine to ensure quality wine. And conversely, the cheapest bottle on the shelf is not necessarily a mediocre wine. Better to trust a wine lover or wine awards to find the best value for money ;
- The large French vineyards are not the only ones to offer good wines: of course, a famous vineyard is a safe bet when you are afraid of making a mistake, but the small French vineyards also offer excellent wines;
- Old wines are not always the best: all wines are different, and while some have good aging potential , like red wines, others are best drunk young, like rosé wines.
Tasting wines without any tasting logic
If you plan to taste several wines during a meal, the fatal mistake would be not respecting the order of serving . Indeed, wines must be tasted according to a certain logic, to ensure a good balance of taste throughout the meal.
Therefore, it is recommended to start with light and fresh wines , with a low sugar content. This will preserve your taste buds for the rest of the menu, and not saturate them from the aperitif. The complexity and structure of the wine will intensify as the dishes progress.
In the same way, we avoid serving a good exceptional bottle as a starter , and keep it to accompany the main course, or to finish in apotheosis with dessert.
Generally speaking, we start with acidic and light wines, moving towards sweeter and stronger wines.
Not serving wine at the correct temperature
If you so often hear that the temperature of the wine is important, it is because it has a direct influence on the aromas of the wine. Too cold, the flavors will be erased. Too hot, the wine will seem more alcoholic, more tasteless and less structured.
It is then a matter of finding the ideal temperature for each wine , depending on its color:
- 15 to 18°C for red wines;
- 10 to 14°C for white wines and rosé wines.
Subtlety goes further, and the ideal temperature even depends on the wines. All you have to do is refer to the label on the bottle of wine, which always mentions the ideal serving temperature.
Do not aerate the wine
For a wine to fully release its aromas and soften, it must be decanted. In other words, you must give it time in contact with air to oxygenate . To do this, the wine must be placed in a carafe some time before serving, without ever exceeding 2 hours.
But there is, again, a little subtlety, and not all wines need to be decanted. In fact, this is mainly aimed at young wines, which have a complex and rich structure, or at tannic red wines.
Forget about food and wine pairing
There is no better way to enhance a wine than to serve it with the right dish. In the same way, tasting a wine with an unsuitable dish can spoil the tasting. The food and wine pairing is therefore very important, and is one of the secrets of wine.
We then avoid sweet and light wines with very strong tasting dishes, at the risk of seeing the wine disappear under the strong aromas. Conversely, we do not serve a wine of character with a mild dish. The idea is to find the perfect balance between flavors and intensity of sensations, so that each enhances the other, without ever taking over.
Storing wine in poor conditions
Wine is a very fragile living product, which is sensitive to light, humidity, temperature variations and vibrations. You must then be able to store your bottles of wine in the best conditions , and for this, nothing beats the wine cellar.
Next, it is important to understand that not all wines are suitable for aging, as is the case, for example, with the majority of rosé wines. On the other hand, others need time to develop the full complexity of their aromas. We must therefore pay attention to the age of the wines and their aging potential , to always serve them at maturity .
Not respecting the ceremonial serving of wine
Wine tasting is an art, and it starts with service. To fully enjoy the quality of the wines, you must be able to serve them in a suitable wine glass , and at the right temperature.
It is therefore imperative to choose a stemmed glass , ideally colorless to appreciate the color of the wine, with a neck slightly tightened towards the top, to perfectly capture the aromas and scents of the wine.
Finally, the glass must be a third full, in order to be able to rotate it to ventilate it, and provide it with sufficient contact with the air.
Not knowing how to hold your wine glass
If a wine glass has a stem, it is for a specific reason: this allows the taster to hold the container without coming into contact with the part that contains the wine. The goal is then to allow the possibility of observing the color of the wine, but above all this avoids heating the wine by contact with the hands.
It is therefore advisable to hold the wine glass by the stem , possibly by the base, without ever cupping your hands around the glass.
Tasting way too quickly
The art of wine tasting is a ritual that goes through different phases. From visual analysis to olfactory examination , and even taste analysis , the wine lover must take his time to detect all the subtleties of the vintage tasted.
Take the time to observe, smell and taste, forgetting, of course, the chewing gum or brushing your teeth just before tasting.
Not having fun
The ritual of wine tasting seems particularly formal, but it should not make you forget your main objective: to please yourself ! No need to be a connoisseur and follow the instructions to the letter to enjoy yourself and have a good time. Moreover, the perception of wine remains very personal, and everyone is free to feel their emotions and sensations without intellectualizing everything.
There are many little tips that allow you to fully savor all the subtlety of a good bottle of wine. To get started and learn the right gestures, go to the Domaine de Berne for an introduction to wine tasting .