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Wine Tasting - The Sense of Sight

Wine tasting basics begin with knowing how to use your senses to understand, interpret, and enjoy the wine. The ability to recognize what you see, and furthermore describe it in clear terms, is a very important wine tasting skill.

Although some may say the appearance of the wine is the least important aspect with regard to the senses, it is still worth noting. When examining appearance, we are looking for clarity and color. We want the wine to be free of any sediment, leaving it clear and brilliant. Red wines tend to lose their color as they mature, while white wines tend to grow darker with age. A good quality wine generally will be intense in color. The "legs" seen running down the sides of a glass after being swirled, are an indication of flavor density. It is best to use a plain white background, and tilt the glass slightly as you observe clarity and color.


Wine Tasting - The Sense of Touch

Touch is an important category of taste sensation. This is where we try to feel the wine on the palate. Here we seek to find impressions of such things as texture, body, temperature, and astringency. The aftertaste, finish, and length of a wine are all things we feel on our palate. We are looking for how the wine feels in weight (light, medium, full) and texture (silky, coarse, velvety). Try to observe how long the sensations last in your mouth. Most will tell you the longer it lasts, the better the wine!

Decadence Cake – Earl Grey Infused
Recipe courtesy of Brix Restaurant, Yountville, CA
6 servings

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate (cocoa block)
4 1/2 ounces Bittersweet chocolate, Felchlin
Maracaibo 65%

3 fluid ounces strong Earl Grey Tea
1/4 cup sugar
4 1/2 ounces unsalted butter

3 eggs
1/4 ounce sugar

1. Chop and combine chocolates in a large bowl. Bring tea and sugar to a boil and pour over chocolate, stir until melted, stir in butter. Return to a double boiler if necessary
2. Combine eggs, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl and whip to soft ribbons
3. Fold eggs into chocolate mixture
4. Pour into 6 buttered and sugared ramekins or loaf pans
***Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight
5. Bake at 325*F in a waterbath until set. It will look like a crème brulee. Approximately 30-40 minutes
6. Chill 4 hours or overnight
7. To Unmold: place ramekin in hot water and invert onto a tray lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper.
8. Return to fridge until ready to serve

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