Wine 101: Tasting White Wine
Ange and Laura Ruffalo talk about tasting white wine; what you should look for, and some methods for getting the most out of your taste.
Angela Aiello: So Laura and I are going to teach you at home how to taste the white wine. Now, Laura we’ve got our white wine here, a Chilean white wine and our ISO glass which is you know our traditional tasting glass. Now what is the first step to trying wine?
Laura Ruffolo: Well, the first step is actually looking at your wine. What you want to do is tilt your glass at a 45 degree angle like this in front of you and ideally you want to use a white surface to look just on the background. Just to look at your wines so you can actually detect the different colors here.
So what are white wine, what you’re looking for and let’s say that you actually don’t know what you’re tasting. If it’s a blind tasting you can actually get a lot of clues as to what it is. So what you want to look for is the hue of your wine.
So for instance, this might have some greenish tinges to the yellow here and which in fact it does which might indicate that it’s from a cool climate. And in fact, it is so it’s from a cooler climate and you do have some of these green tinges here.
What you also want to be looking for is the clarity. Is it clear? You don’t want any dull, hazy notes on here because that can indicate a fault.
Angela Aiello: Well, some wines are filtered and some wines are unfiltered in both red and white categories.
Laura Ruffolo: Exactly.
Angela Aiello: There can be unfiltered chardonnays which might be a little dusty because there’s a hundred of a yeast cell within the white wine.
Laura Ruffolo: And speaking of chardonnays and the different grape varietals, these we have a Sauvignon blanc here which is going to be lighter in color than say an oak chardonnay. The oak will always impart more of a golden hue to the wine. Also, you want to look at you know how the wine is aging because with white wines they actually get a little more of darker and deeper as the wine ages.
So, the amber color is a good indication of age and step number two, the most important step actually in tasting wine is nosing or smelling the wine and we call it nosing.
So what you do is you put your nose into the glass and you take a big sniff.
Angela Aiello: Right into it. Now, a lot of people are afraid to put their nose right in. Just put your nose right in and go for the gold.
Laura Ruffolo: And so that’s your initial nosing and you’re just detecting the different kinds of aromas here and you’re also detecting any faults if there are any at all. You don’t want to be putting something at your mouth that you know smells like vinegar.
Angela Aiello: Right, that’s usually a good sign because you could smell vinegar right off the bath or you can smell, you know nice lemons zest and some citrus notes in there as well.
Laura Ruffolo: Right and then once you’ve given it the initial nosing, you want to swirl your glass around irate your wine just like that and that’s why we don’t give very generous pours because you have your wine all over the place if you do that.
Angela Aiello: Well a lot of people will say, “Oh, fill it with my glass” but really if you’re enjoying wine you shouldn’t fill up your glass because it gives you enough room to swirl and really enjoy. Swirling your wine, you could do this for hours.
Laura Ruffolo: And you’re releasing all the aromas here and then for another nosing.
Angela Aiello: And the smell should be a lot more prevalent during the second time, right?
Laura Ruffolo: So, with this one here, we’re getting these grassy, herbaceous tones and a lot of lemon and citrus tones as well and that’s very typical for Sauvignon blanc.
Angela Aiello: A little bit of asparagus, a traditional match with that Sauvignon blanc.
Laura Ruffolo: That’s right.
Angela Aiello: And the fourth step is your sipping.
Laura Ruffolo: That’s right. You’re going to taste your wine. There’s a technique to this and what you want to do is get a good mouth full into your mouth and swirl it around all inside your mouth, get it all over your taste buds and if you can do this, this takes a little bit of practice but sucking some air as you’ve got the wine in your mouth and what that does is further irate the wine so it gets it all into your olfactory senses and get those molecules moving. So you can actually smell it better when it’s in your mouth. Let’s give that a shot.
Angela Aiello: Very yummy.
Laura Ruffolo: Now the last step.
Angela Aiello: And you can actually make that noise. I know I can say, “Oh, you should be making noise” and should be making noise.
Laura Ruffolo: And it gets no part in wine tasting.
Angela Aiello: And that’s fun to do, why not?
Laura Ruffolo: Exactly. Yeah, so the final step now is your conclusions on the wine. What we’re looking for is the acidity, the levels of acidity, the sweetness or the dryness, how sweet is it? We’re looking for how long the finish last, the persistence of the finish is indicative of the quality. So, the longer the finish the better the quality of the wine and you just want us to see that everything is in balance along with the alcohol and again the acids and all these things here. So you want to make sure that everything is well-balanced.
And then finally, do you like this wine or not?
Angela Aiello: It’s so pleasant to your mouth, you know. If you want to take a second sip, if you want to finish the bottle or if you don’t like it which can happen, sometimes you order wine or you buy wine and you don’t like it or you love it.
Laura Ruffolo: Which is the better?
Angela Aiello: Exactly and a lot of people, I always say never judge and I said this in my video as well. Never judge a wine by your first scent. You want to actually take two or three sips to really enjoy the wine because what can happen within your mouth is that you can have leftover taste from your beef tenderloin or from anything, your mint or your gum, anything like that. You want to get rid of it in a sort of mouth washing fill and then really enjoy your second and third sip of the wine.
Laura Ruffolo: Even from the previous wine if you’re doing a wine tasting the previous wine that you’ve tasted will affect the taste of the next wine. So, it is important to take another sip.
Angela Aiello: So always judge on your second and third sips of your wine and not necessarily your first. Cheers, thanks Laura.
Laura Ruffolo: Cheers.
Wine 101: Tasting White Wine
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