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!
Cabernet Sauvignon (pronounced CA-burr-nay SO-vin-yawn):
The "king" of the world’s red wine grapes, cabernet sauvignon originated in the Bordeaux region of France, but also produces superlative wines around the globe, including California, Washington State, South America, Eastern Europe, and Australia. In California, the finest renditions generally come from the Napa Valley.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a late-ripening variety, with small, deeply colored, thick-skinned berries that yield dark, intensely flavored, tannic, long-lived wines that often require years of aging to soften and become drinkable. Like chardonnay, the grape can be grown in a multitude of different growing regions and conditions (although it prefers warmer climates) and yet reliably impart characteristic varietal aromas and flavors, which most often are compared to black currant, cherry, bell pepper and green olive.
Cabernet Sauvignon profits from blending with other complementary grape types, such as the softer, fruitier merlot and the highly perfumed cabernet franc (with which it is customarily blended in Bordeaux), and also from extended wood aging, most notably in French oak barrels. Often hard and monochromatic when young, cabernet sauvignon, with extended bottle aging, can develop fine, complex aromas and flavors.
Cabernet is an excellent accompaniment to red meats, especially steak and roast beef.
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