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  • Writer's pictureSteve Mangold

Appreciating Fine Wines

Updated: Sep 13, 2017

Two of the essential talents we’re born with is the ability to smell and taste, followed by swallowing. So you’d think that tasting a Clos de la Tech pinot noir is a no-brainer. It will just come naturally.

Well, there’s much more to tasting wine, especially a fine pinot noir. You want to get all the aroma and tastes that terroir, climate and winemaking skill combine to produce . Educating your palate will pay dividends in wine pleasure for years.

Tim McGarr, noted wine judge and educator, gives a master class in appreciating fine wines in the following video. He says that using a glass designed to capture all the aromas of the wine is essential. Use a large glass with a balloon bottom which narrows at the top, aiming the complex smell of the wine at your nose.

If you decant it and let it sit for an hour or two, that will aerate it and bring a fuller aroma and taste. If you don’t decant, first swirl the wine in the balloon. Look at the legs, the streaks that drip down the side of the glass. Then take a deep inhalation and notice the aromas. In CDLT pinots, you’ll get red fruit tones, like strawberry, cherry or raspberry.

As you continue to smell, you’ll get some spice notes and perhaps chocolate or leather. Then take a small sip of the wine. The first thing you’ll notice is a bit of acidity that makes your mouth water. And then you’ll taste the tannins that make your mouth a bit dry. The tannins enable the wine to age gracefully and mature to its fullest taste potential.

After you swallow, you’ll feel a persistence of flavor, like a wonderful taste echo of the fruit and tannins. You also will taste the alcohol, and in a finely balanced wine like the CDLT pinots, you won’t get that alcohol burn. Then sit back and enjoy the complex aromas and tastes of a fantastic fine wine.

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