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Tasting wine – with all senses

Each wine tastes differently. A harmonious interplay of the flavours and a certain amount of complexity are what really make for a true premium wine. There are two ways of dealing with wine: either you drink and enjoy, or you taste and analyse. Both ways have their advantages and are vital for a deep understanding, but you should consciously choose one kind when treating yourself to a wine. Depending on the mood or occasion you should decide for yourself how you approach this delicacy. At home, in front of the fireplace, maybe with a good book, you are inclined to properly taste it to sense its whole spectrum. During a big festivity this would be inappropriate as here, it is most suitable to just enjoy. Generally, the procedure is the same when indulging in a wine; the intensity with which it is done is the crucial point.

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A Wine’s Colour

When it comes to a wine’s colour, unfortunately matters are not as easy as they used to be. Through chemical tricks, it can be influenced easily without improving the actual quality. This is why it is always difficult to make a certain statement about whether it is a true high quality wine and at which stage it is just based on the colour of the wine. Some wine critics have started rating the colour last. But as it is still the first what one notices with a wine, there are some general rules mentioned here.

Red Wine Shimmers when Young and is Matt when Mature

With red wines, it is the case that the younger the wine, the more shimmery it should be. Gloss and reflexions should define it, maybe even a slight purple tint especially at the rims. With increasing age, the colour becomes matter yet the wine’s quality is still the same; with some red wine, it has just now reached its peak. As soon as a brown shade becomes apparent, the connoisseur knows that it is about time to open the rest of the bottles in the wine cellar. The red wine can still be of a very high quality yet it is certain that it has reached its best taste and one will not be able to store it for much longer. Whether and how dark a red wine should be is mainly a question of the used grape variety and style. A tannin dominated and spicy red wine will always have a dark, almost black colour. With the style ‘light and fruity’, a lighter colour is absolutely welcome. This is no loss in quality but rather shows that the winemakers wanted to achieve a certain taste.

White Wine – Green or Golden

With a white wine, the gloss displays the age, too; the more it shimmers the younger it is. A cloudy colouring means that the gourmet should drink this wine pretty soon, similar to the brownish red wines. Green shades of a white wine indicate grape varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc and imply a tangy or crisp wine. Yellow or even gold indicate a rich and very full-bodied specimen. The actual colouring of white wine gives away a lot about style and the taste that can be expected.

Smelling a Wine

It is best to breathe in a wine slowly and with one deep inhalation through the nose. Here, the gentleman or lady is welcome to put the nose into the glass. Before that, you should swirl the wine glass slightly in order for the wine to have more contact with oxygen; this is how it can reveal its full spectrum of scents. If just a few or only one aroma appears, it is highly likely for the taste to be dominated by one note, too. Grand wines capture with a rich bouquet that lets many different aromas shine through. Complexity is indeed a sign for a premium wine.

Savour a Wine

A generous sip is ideal for a premium wine from South Africa. Do not be modest; the best wine tasters always take a large sip to be able to truly notice each nuance. Often, they breathe in air, too – no sign of unseemliness, but rather for good wine knowledge as a wine fully reveals its potential with oxygen contact only. During a dinner for two or in a formal group you can do without it, the wine will still be delicious. It would be wrong from us to state which flavours a wine should have; there are just too many different grape varieties and development methods. Generally, you can say that a high complexity stands for an absolute high class wine. If you notice aromas of tobacco, wood or vanilla, you can also assume that the winemaker used oak barrels for the development.

The Finish Rounds off the Wine

The longer the finish, the better. Especially when during the finish new nuances of flavours come along, you can assume to have enjoyed a true delicacy. Generally, there are no guidelines about how a wine has to taste. Only one thing is for sure: a high quality wine always captures with its complexity and various layers. This is why gourmets will normally be able to detect more than one flavour.