Wine tasting tips for any wine lover

We’re coming up on prime wine tasting season, but before you venture out to taste the latest releases at that upcoming trendy wine event, we want to equip you to not only look like a wine tasting pro, but be able to remember whether your last sip was of a Cab, Syrah or Merlot.

Our hats are off to Aaron, who recently replied to a different post that it would be good for us to give some wine tasting advice. Your timing couldn’t have been more perfect Aaron.

Tonight Monica’s Waterfront Bakery and Cafe is hosting a wine tasting from 4 to 6:30 p.m.; Sunday the Washington State Wine Commission is holding Taste Washington!, its largest wine tasting event of the year to celebrate March as Washington wine month; and next Thursday, March 31, five Bremerton restaurateurs are hosting the first-ever Manette Wine Walk from 6 to 9 p.m.

If you’re planning to attend any of those events, or others, read on for tips about how to keep your senses, how to look like a pro and how not to look like a drunk fool by the end of the night. And remember, everyone’s palates have their limit, so expect to hit the wall. (But, we hope our tips help you taste a few more wines before that wall comes slamming at you).

How to taste like a pro, and other tips:

Aarons’ tips:

  • Never take more than three tastes of a wine (consider this rule: sip-sip-taste[the food pairing]-sip).
  • A “taste” should be less than a milliliter. There should be leftovers from a 1oz. pour.
  • Dump it if you don’t like it, otherwise you’re just wasting your limited tastes.

Our tips:

  • Swirl, sniff, taste, spit: Don’t be afraid to spit, even if you like the wine. (And don’t be a slob when you spit).
  • Eat: Have a “stick to your ribs” type breakfast before the event, and take advantage of food samplings during the event.
  • Drink water: Start the day before the event and bring a bottle to drink as you move between wineries.
  • Know before you go: For large tasting events create a list of “must visit” wineries — keep in mind some will run out before others, so do your research and visit the most sought after wineries first.
  • Red before white?: Generally the rule is lighter to heavier, old to new, white to red.
  • Bring your own glass, if you wish.
  • Bring a pen (or two) to record names, notes and wines you like. Formal tastings supply a list with winery information.
  • Ask questions: Winemakers love to talk about their wines. Where did the grapes come from? Was oak used, and if so what type? How did they get into winemaking? What’s their favorite of the wines they’re pouring?
  • Record your impressions: This could be a star system, a numerical rating, or something as easy as “I like it” or “I love it!”
  • Avoid strong or spicy foods: They may endanger your palate.
  • Collect your thoughts: When you’re done, sit down with a Perrier (or your water of choice) and write your “after action report” while all the details are fresh in your mind.

And last but not least: Have Fun!