Oct 4, 2015

Wine tasting and how we learned couth

Tasting with Tossers 
Ahhhh wine... We've loved drinking all our lives, but since we started drinking wine and going wine tasting this has brought us into contact with actual people. A lot of whom can talk in full sentences and about a variety of subjects, occasionally with knowledge and intelligence. Often times we find ourselves surrounded by these types at events and gatherings and they are not the type to be impressed by crushing cans on your forehead.

Because of this we've had to learn to behave in public and to pay attention to details like shirts and pants and foot wear. Who knew a good old beer tank, budgie smugglers and thongs were not acceptable attire to go wine tasting in. Adding board shorts didn't help much either. What we discovered, and have become better at, is that it's all about not being uncouth. So yes, with that put on the table, it's all about couth. Wine tasting is all about couth. 

So for those of you who are contemplating entering the world of wine like we did, we have put together this little article to help your transition. Or at least maybe what not to do...
Look we're not wine experts, we are more like wine enthusiasts, doctors really. Wine expert is a bit pretentious, as doctors we are still practicing. Yeah that's it, we are Doctors of wine! 

We think that it's not always the sommeliers and winemakers that get the most out of the wine but the wine drinkers. Winemakers and sommeliers can get too caught up in the science, facts, identification and the understanding, and often fail to enjoy the simple pleasure of putting down a couple bottles and having a good laugh.  Lets face it, the special moment that you smell those wonderful aromas and then that first taste. Ahhh so magical. No concern for vintage or varieties, for maker or region. Just the simple ignorant sensory pleasure of the wine and you. 

We did have to learn to drink in public side by side with strangers and not offend (an ongoing struggle). With our Aussie Kiwi sarcastic and sometimes observational humor we can occasionally confuse the slow, offend the sensitive and titillate the initiated, which then just encourages us even more (wives eyes rolling).

It can be intimidating heading into a cellar door or tasting room. What with all those couth folks talking in a strange tongue. But not to worry, we figured it out and will share our wisdom. 

First off, figure out a couple tasting rooms close to home and plan to pay them a visit. No real dress code requirements just don't wear tank tops guys. Put something on that has at least short sleeves fellas. We nor others want to see or smell your hairy pits. 

Once there it's all pretty bloody simple. Just follow the two S's. Swirl and Sniff. Only two S's? Yes, follow along.

First thing to master so you blend in is the swirl. One of the things we have in the bag, swirling. We can swirl with the best. There are a few different ways to swirl. On the table, from the stem or holding the stem and free handing it. Then there is the cellar door crowd favorite, the from the base wobble. It's all about the wrist. A little practice and you will nail it.

So now you have the wine swirling around in the glass its time to stick you nose in and have a good sniff. Do this a couple times and vary the sniffing enthusiasm to better get all those aromas. See, you got this...

We have learned that the swirling and sniffing is about the smell and the sip is about the taste. You swirl and then you sniff and then you taste. The taste is often referred to as the sip. Therefore the taste is the third 'S', yes three S's. We feel most folks have the taste or sip down before they ever show up at a tasting room so not so important, but yes, three S's if you add the sip. 

Don't be confused that there is a fourth S. Spitting.  Anyone with couth knows it's not polite to spit. It's also an affront to Baccus. 
This is a skill that if you intend to use occasionally should be practiced away from the tasting room and rarely used there. There are so many things that can go wrong here. Spitting and missing, spitting and hitting someone, spiting and dribbling down your face. Besides what a waste of good wine, bugger this, get a designated driver. You can tip it out into the dump bucket if you don't care for it, or if you have had a good enough taste and are done with it.

So all in all as you can see, if we can learn some couth anyone can. Don't sweat the small stuff and enjoy your tasting experiences.

Happy Tasting Adventures,


We are always on a WineWalkabout looking for a good drop. Please comment and ask questions about the things you like or would like to read and see. Don't drink without pants on!