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While one of the most enjoyable aspects of visiting wine country is visiting the various wine estates and sampling their wares, it can also be one of the most intimidating experiences for the un-intiated. Being armed with knowledge coming in can be the best way to overcome any feelings of…whatever…
Tasting means tasting: Tasting rooms are licensed by the respective state ABC’s (Alcohol Beverage Control Boards) to offer free tastes of wine. By law, a taste should not be more than 2 oz. In general a tasting room is not licensed to sell or serve glasses of wine like a restaurant or wine bar. That said, getting to know your host can result in getting a bit more than a “taste”.
It’s okay to spit: Many wineries will provide a spit bucket. If you are going to taste a lot of wine, spitting is the best way to appreciate all wineries , especially those that are several hours away from your current destination. (Alcohol tends to dull the senses when consumed….but you know that….) Of course, if you are the DD, spitting is not only recommended but required.
When a tasting fee is not a tasting fee: Some wineries charge for tasting to recoup costs and to keep out the “let’s go party for free crowd” but you can still find some wine tasting rooms that don’t charge. Most wineries will offer a menu of available wines to taste that day and perhaps a reserve menu for an additional fee. And most, but not all wineries will refund the “tasting fee” with the purchase of a bottle. If you are unsure, ask upfront.
It’s okay to hang out and shop for candles: If you don’t want to taste wine, that’s okay. In fact, if you want to bring children into the tasting room, that’s okay too…Some rooms are more kid friendly than others and will offer an apple juice and crackers/cookies to the young fry….
Your host is there to teach, for the most part: Most people who work in tasting rooms are very very knowledgeable about wine, want to socialize but aren’t particularly adept at “sales”. Therefore, you can have a wonderful educational experience and walk out the door. Don’t feel that you have to buy anything. Wine tasting is about discovery; what you like is what you should buy.
There are three primary ways to evaluate a glass of wine. Why you are evaluating that wine may fall into one of two categories: I am looking for wine I like to drink or I am blind tasting this wine to determine what it is and where it was made. As most you probably fall into the former, (finding wine to drink) I present the following steps for your evaluation pleasure. If you interested in the latter, (“blind tasting bingo”) I would suggest you contact a professional association, such as the Court of Sommeliers for their evaluation technique.
So here is the best way to evaluate a wine:
Tip Tags: wine tasting
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