Etiquette 102: How to Sip Wine….

Swirl, Sniff and then Sip. Wait! There’s the right way to sip wine.

Image ref: UsualWines

Navigating the vast world of wine drinking can be daunting for new wine drinkers. Wine experts and Oenophiles are notorious for overwhelming beginners with technical terms and intimidating rules. 

Still, it doesn’t hurt to have a few handy tips and techniques to enhance your wine tasting experience. With that in mind, consider this your guide on how to drink wine like a pro.

Let’s first take a look at the different types of wine and the glasses to use for each.

Wine flavours can be dry or sweet. Dry wine has no residual sugars; so, it doesn’t leave any sweetness on the palate. These wines are often served as aperitifs or during dinner. On the other hand, sweet wines are typically served after meals as dessert wines.

  • Red wine:
Image ref: Medical News Today

Wine like Cabernet Sauvignon is made from black-skinned grapes. The skin and juice make contact during processing, which results in rich red colour. 

Glasses for red wine tend to have a larger bowl, which lets the wine easily come into contact with oxygen. This allows the wine to breathe and enhances its overall flavour. Red wine drinkers who prefer bold and robust blends often prefer a tall glass (bowl) that allows oxygen to access the wine’s tannins (the dryness, bitterness, and astringency of a wine), and thereby reduce the wine’s bitter taste. The shape of the glass pushes the wine to the back of your mouth, allowing you to take full advantage of the flavours.

  • White wines:
Ímage ref: Pediaa

Wine like Chardonnay is usually colourless since the grape skins don’t make contact with the grape juice.

Glasses for white wine have a U-shaped bowl, which serves to keep the wine cooler for a longer period. Compared to red wines, these wines need less oxygen to release their aromatics. 

Sauvignon Blanc is best served in a smaller glass (with a slightly tapered mouth) as it encourages the wine to the middle of your mouth. By contrast, Chardonnay is best served in a wide white wine glass that allows plenty of oxygen inside to amplify the aromas. 

The Chardonnay wine glass is generally recognized as the largest and widest glass associated with white wine, and the shape of the glass — with its narrow rim — lets the wine flow toward the middle of the tongue, allowing drinkers to appreciate the balance of fruit and acidity. Chardonnay should be served six degrees warmer than most white wines, which is another reason why the glass is so broad compared to a typical white wine glass that needs to keep the wine much cooler.

  • Sparkling wine:
Image ref: BBC Good Food

A wine such as Brut or Champagne is often made using a two-step fermentation process and is considerably more labour-intensive than other winemaking techniques.

Sparkling wine and Champagne is traditionally served in a fluted wine glass with a short-to-medium stem and a tall, narrow bowl. This shape is considered ideal for all things bubbly because it maintains effervescence and preserves taste. Unique beads at the base of the glass group the bubbles together and encourage them to travel up to the surface.

  • Rosé wine:
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This kind of wine is made by blending white and red grapes, or only red grapes.

Since rosé should be served cold, the perfect glass shape for this type of wine depends on the blend. A glass with a long stem and a flared lip is ideal for serving young rosé wines, whereas a squat bowl-shaped glass or stemless wine glass will accentuate the aroma of a mature rosé.

  • Orange wines:
Image ref: Eataly

Yes! They are orange wines and they are made from white wine grapes using the same skin-contact process as red wines. 

Now to the wine-sipping process:

Image ref: Stags Leap Winery

It might sound simplistic, but knowing how to drink wine includes understanding how to properly hold a wine glass. The modern trend of stemless glasses is the easiest to hold – you can just grab them like you would a normal water tumbler. 

On the other hand, wine glasses with stems require that you hold them from the base with your thumb, middle finger, and index finger. The rest of your fingers should rest lightly on the base.

If you’re drinking wine from glasses with stems, make sure you use them — they keep your warm hands away from the wine. Conversely, if your wine has been served too cold, you can warm the glass with your hands. Here are a few other handy tips to keep in mind when drinking wine.

Take a look at the bottle, have fun swirling and never fill the glass to the brim. Never!

Finally, the art of tasting wine involves filling your mouth about halfway and then subtly swishing it around instead of gulping it down in an instant. Different areas of the tongue have different functions; for example, the tip of the tongue detects sweetness, the inner sides recognize sour tastes, the outer sides favour saltiness, and the back of the tongue tells you that you’ve eaten something horridly bitter.

In order to fully taste the wine, it is a good idea to roll a sip around your mouth and evaluate the taste. Mineral and earthy tastes also help pinpoint the identity of the wine.

Now you know what to do when you go to a wine tasting event.

Do you have any question or comment? Do share with us in the comment section.

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