Here’s how to taste wine and drink like you know your shit. Wine tasting can be done by anyone but of course, having a massive conk helps but it’s not mandatory. Fuck the snobs! Anyone can drink Jesus juice. All wine is a bit of trial and error when trying to find a favourite, so don’t let the fancy names fool you.
The main rule for tasting is to swirl, sniff and sip. You swirl the wine around in your glass, already giving the illusion that you know your shit. Note the legs* on the glass and take a huge whiff (this is where a huge shnozel will come in handy). Take in all the smells, and detect all the potential flavours like different woods, nuts, fruit or anything that comes to your mind! When you’ve decided on the smell, take a swig and fight the urge to drink it. Hold it in your mouth to make sure your whole palate* touches the good stuff. From there you can get a good evaluation of the wine. But don’t spit! We encourage swallowing at The Carouser.
Don’t just taste it though, feel it. Decide on the weight and the longer the taste lingers the better the quality. If more saliva builds up in your mouth, then it’s more acidic than sweet. Some flavours can tell you a lot about the barrel’s Oak Maturation* like vanilla, woods and toasty flavours.
I recommend practising at wine tasting events and trying different wines from cellars that you usually wouldn’t go for. A good shop is P Franco in Clapton that hand-pick their wines and are on hand to help. They do wine tasting thursdays which hasn’t a snob in sight.
Popular in the summer and much more refreshing than red. The saying is that white wine is mainly enjoyed with white meat, but you can do whatever the fuck you like. But eating really is cheating. White wines often give tastes of biscuit, toast, caramel, walnut, smoke and toffee.
The ever popular Chardonnay is fresher and full of cucumber, celery or green apple tastes that make for a nice savoury wine. Whereas Sauvignon Blanc is often described as tasting like cat’s piss. It’s a bit sharper with aromas of fresh-cut grass. My personal favourite is Vigonier which is peachy and sweet. Add frozen grapes to keep the wine chilled without watering it down.
Nothing looks more ghoulish than a glass of crimson red wine in the grasp of a pale human. I started drinking red wine when I was 17 and it did awful stuff to my mouth on a night out. Now, rather than waltzing around with dark blood-like stains on my lips, I drink it with a decent meal, usually steak (or writing wine features). Red wine looses colour with age and the opaque-ness implements thicker skinned grapes. Also, the drier the taste, the thicker the grape. Red Wines usually taste like leather, coffee, meats, tea leaf or tobacco.
Pinot Noir usually tastes of pickle and berries whereas Shiraz has strong hints of black olives, pepper and plum. My personal favourite is the classic Merlot which often is flavoured like blackberry, cherry or fruit cake. One thing that I suggest trying that the Spanish call Calimocho, is mixing with coke. Not the white stuff, although that could be good too.
Less in percentage and in my opinion, less fun. Rosé is usually fruitier and for people who don’t like the latter. It does have a big stereotype of being a beverage for women, and I honestly can’t think of one man who drinks it (please say hello if you do!). For me, the less transparent the better. If it’s bright pink, it’s more fruity while paler wines are a lot drier.
Tannins: The dryness in the mouth is called tannins. So if the wine is of a high tannins, then a harder cheese is recommended with it. For example Chardonnay is less tannic so would be best to go with soft cheese like brie.
Legs: The tears (or legs) down the edge of the glass indicate how much alcohol is in it. The more legs, the higher the alcohol.
Palate: The roof of the mouth
Oak Maturation: The ageing of the barrel that the wine is made in.