Wine Tasting - The Sense of Smell
There are a few very important things to note when we "nose" a wine. It is suggested to first smell the wine before swirling, noticing the delicate aromas. Next, swirl the wine and smell again after it is at rest. Depending on the bouquet, you may then notice a profound difference in the odors emerging. Aroma is a smell that originates from the actual grape, with very clear cut characteristics. Aroma is most prevalent in young wines. The bouquet of a wine refers to smells generated as a result of aging; smells found particularly in mature wines that were aged in a bottle. The bouquet generally has much softer and complex characteristics than aromas. Identifying what you smell is usually the most challenging part in wine tasting. Although there are many smell categories used to describe characteristics of wine, none have been exclusively agreed upon.
Wine Tasting - The Sense of Taste
After observing your wine using the sense of sight and smell, it is then time to use your palate to identify tastes. This is far more detailed than simply tasting as we would any other beverage. We must remember to note the characteristics of the wine on all sensory areas of the tongue. Sweetness is detected on the very tip of the tongue, while bitter tastes are sensed in the extreme rear. Saltiness is sensed on the front, upper sides of the tongue, and the acidity-sour taste is sensed mainly on the sides. Some suggest focusing your attention on one sensation at a time in order to be more efficient in your taste. Try taking a sip of wine and swallowing immediately. Then try another sip, this time letting the wine work well around the palate into these sensory areas before swallowing. You will recognize a noticeable difference in the intensity of flavors!
Chardonnay (pronounced SHAR-doe-nay):
Chardonnay is the world's most popular white wine grape, with over 300,000 acres planted, 100,000 in California alone. It’s homeland is the Burgundy region of France, where it produces sublime, complex table wines (in Champagne and elsewhere it provides the base for many of the world’s best sparkling wines), but it also flourishes in California, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina and South Africa.
Chardonnay is a good-yielding variety that buds early in the season and also ripens relatively early, with its thin skin making it susceptible to rot from early rains. The best chardonnays come from cool climates like Burgundy or California’s Carneros District, but the variety also adapts well to warmer regions like Australia. Chardonnay ripens easily and produces medium-to-full-bodied wines with rich apple, citrus, and tropical fruit aromas and flavors. Although it can be vinified as a crisp, fruity quaffing wine, the best, most complex chardonnays, as in Burgundy, are fermented in small oak barrels and put through a secondary, malolactic fermentation, which imparts toasty, buttery characteristics to both the wine’s aroma and flavor.
Chardonnay is not an especially versatile food wine and is best paired with simply prepared seafood and poultry dishes.
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