The 4th “S” of Wine Tasting: Sip

The next “S” is one of my favorites; sip. The first sip of wine is usually not a good one to form an opinion on. Whatever you had before, be it coffee or gum, will affect how you taste it. Your second and even third sip will really tell you what the wine has to offer.
Now the tongue has taste buds (of course what a revelation!) but they are located in different parts of your tongue, or palate as the technical term goes. The taste buds that detect acidity are located on the sides of your tongue while sweetness is located in the front and bitterness in the back. There are a group of taste buds that detect saltiness as well but if your wine is salty then you probably shouldn’t be drinking it. The only parts we use for tasting wine are the ones that detect sweetness, acidity, and bitterness. Your taste buds are in clusters around your tongue so you have to really roll the wine around your mouth to get the full impression of it.
There are a couple of techniques that I’ve found really help. One is to actually chew the wine. As weird as it sounds it not only gets the wine all over and around your tongue but it opens up the passage at the back of your throat letting the smells go from your mouth to the receptors in your nose. Also, a more popular one is to do the “reverse whistle.” Just act like you are about to whistle but instead of blowing out and spitting wine all over the person in front of you, breath in and let the air roll over and through the wine in your mouth. You might actually cough the first time you do this but don’t worry; it’ll really intensify the traits in the wine.
Wine is tricky sometimes though. Sometimes the taste might greatly resemble how it smelled and other times you might be totally shocked to find that what you smelled and expected to taste are not there. That’s why wine is an experience, you never know what you’re going to get unless you really delve into it.

Ryan Evans

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