pouring wine for man and woman

Do you want to enjoy wine like an expert? Here are some easy tips on how to taste and pair wine!

To taste and pair wine is a skill that requires practice and training, but with these simple tips you will be able to wow you friends with your wine knowledge!

Wine Tasting Step 1: Look

The first step involves observing the wine’s appearance. Note its color, intensity, and clarity. Swirl the wine gently in the glass to observe its legs or tears, which can indicate the alcohol content and body of the wine.

Wine Tasting Step 2: Smell

Next, bring the glass to your nose and inhale gently. Take note of the wine’s aromatic profile, which can range from fruity and floral to spicy or oaky. The intensity of the aromas is also important to note. There are three key categories of scents: primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary aromas are the scents you get from the grape, this is where possible floral or fruity aromas come from. Secondary aromas are influenced by the winemaker, vanilla and cedar are two common ones to note. Tertiary aromas include scents in relation to how the wine was aged, like leather or tobacco scents, for example.

Wine Tasting Step 3: Taste and Think

Savoring the wine involves a three-step process: the attack (first taste), the evolution (flavor development), and the finish (lingering impression). Pay attention to the wine’s sweetness, acidity, tannins (for red wines), body, and overall balance. Look for flavor characteristics such as fruitiness, earthiness, herbal notes, or toasty nuances.

Wine Pairing Tips

While wine is delightful on its own, pairing it with complementary flavors can elevate both the wine and the food. A food and wine pairing chart can be very helpful when deciding what type of wine pairs well with a meal or snack. Additionally, here are some principles to consider:

  1. Balance:

Aim for a harmonious balance between the flavors of the wine and the dish. Light-bodied wines tend to pair well with delicate flavors, while full-bodied wines can handle richer and bolder dishes.

  1. Match Intensities:

Pair the intensity of the wine with the intensity of the dish. Lighter wines, like Pinot Grigio (which you can purchase here or at Hillside Winery in Sevierville, Tennessee), pair well with lighter fare such as seafood or salads. Meanwhile, robust reds like Cabernet Sauvignon can stand up to heartier dishes like grilled steaks or stews.

  1. Complement or Contrast:

You can either complement the flavors of the wine with similar flavors in the dish (e.g., pairing a fruity red wine with a berry-based dessert) or create contrast to enhance the overall experience (e.g., pairing a crisp white wine with spicy Asian cuisine).

  1. Consider Regional Pairings:

Exploring regional pairings can be a fantastic way to appreciate the wine and food traditions of a specific area. For example, pairing an Italian Chianti with a classic tomato-based pasta dish or a French Bordeaux with a flavorful cheese platter.

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