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Summer is for soaking up the warm sun, with exquisite views of vineyard-filled mountain ranges and the best part – having a crisp glass of the most delicious South African wine in hand. They say that wine is bottled poetry, and when sitting in the Cape Winelands with a glass intert-wine-d between your fingers, you’ll be sure to agree. Tasting wine is no longer just for the professionals, after all, taste buds, a brain and this guide are all you really need. So, less wine-ing and more smiling this summer with this wine tasting guide:
You can’t truly experience wine in a room flooded with distracting smells and fragrances. In order to get a true sense of a particular wine it is important that there are no other factors influencing the taste. Therefore, your wine tasting setting needs to ensure that your opinion is not altered and that a fair tasting is had. A tasting venue should be:
This step involves using your eyes to check the appearance of the wine. A glass is normally filled with about 60ml of wine when tasting, allowing you to tilt the glass away from you. Whilst tilted, look at the wine against a pale/white background and decide upon the appearance of the wine with the following categories:
It’s now time to look like a true professional by swirling and sniffing the wine. Hold the base of the glass and rotate it in circular motions (releasing the aromas) before breathing in its fragrance. With time and practice, smelling wine can indicate the types of grapes and from which area they are from, so, start practicing already! After smelling the wine, make a judgment on the:
Image credit: Lira Wine Experience
Now for the best part, actually sipping on the delicious wine. The trick when beginning to taste wine is to start by tasting single grape types so as to get familiar with their individual traits. Take small sips, covering the tongue, spit the wine out (or, if you’re like me, you’ll ignore that step) and take a breathe in. Judge the wine on the following categories:
Image credit: Steningevik
Image credit: Spier
It’s now time to give your wine an overall review. Combine your remarks and evaluations in steps 1 to 4, drawing conclusions on the appearance, smell and taste to evaluate whether the wine is one of:
A score out of 20 is generally given to wines, with points from each step making up the grand total. A maximum of three points is assigned to the appearance, seven to the quality on the nose and ten points for the taste quality. Wines can receive the following scores based on the ratings:
Delaire Graff Wine Estate
There’s no better place than the Cape Winelands in South Africa to taste crisp and delicious wines this Summer!
Jemma's love for nature and culture grew while growing up on her family's dairy farm in the Natal Midlands. Since then she has been a ski lift operator in the Sierra Nevada, an Au Pair in London, an English teacher in Vietnam and is now writing about her favourite continent - Africa.
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“Superb blog! I have seen lots of article online but I think this blog is by far the best one. You have mentioned almost every aspect of do’s and don’ts of wines tasting I really like the particular section (Get clearance on the appearance) I have jotted down every point you have mentioned of wine tasting. I also like the section of asking question via which you can learn a lot of things about wine, By the way I also find out an article for wine tasting https://tango.tours/guide-wine-tasting-tour/ Thanks a lot for sharing such a valuable resource about wine tasting.
I have a question though can you suggest me some nice location in Argentina for tasting wines?”
Thank you for your kind words Marcelo. The Tango Tours’ article is great! Thank you for sharing that. Unfortunately I am not familiar with wine farms in Argentina, however I am aware that Mendoza is the ‘Wine Capital’ and so I am sure there’ll be some fantastic wineries to try in that region.
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