1. Be open to tasting all the wines on offer. Wine comes in so many varieties, and a wine tour is all about opening yourself up to new tastes and even smells.
Your experience can vary greatly depending on the region, so take this chance to experience something outside your comfort zone and sample the wines exclusive to that location.
2. Listen to the cellar door staff describe the wines to you, and how to get the best out of your tasting. Visit well presented and welcoming cellar doors that provide the best representation of that region’s wines.
Listen to the cellar door staff describe the wines to you, and how to get the best out of your tasting. Well informed and outgoing cellar door attendants are vital to give you the best education and tasting experience. An early if not instant greeting by cellar staff gives recognition that you have arrived and are going to receive attention.
3. Use all your senses, sight, smell, taste to evaluate the wines, Evoke your memory too. What did the wines remind you of? Did you get the same taste sensation that the cellar door staff described?
Take in the colour of the wine, then smell deeply. These steps can often be skipped in favour of simply drinking, but they’re actually an important part of the wine sampling process. Be sure to swill the wine around in your mouth to properly appreciate the flavour!
4. Use water between tasting to clean your palate for the new taste sensation and to rehydrate. You don’t want your palate to be tainted or confused by another wine, or somethign else entirely. Water is one of the best options for cleansing your taste buds, but bread and crackers can have the same effect.
This way, you’ll be ready to try a completely different wine without the threat of an aftertaste ruining the experience.
5. Trust your own assessment of the wines. What’s a good wine?
There may be thousands of wine varieties to sample, and there may even be quite a few within your region that you haven’t tried…but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a favourite! Try as many wines as possible, but make a special note of the variety that pleased your taste buds the most.
How best to enjoy food and wine in combination
Many pundits believe cool-climate wines provide the best match with food. In cool-climate regions gentle ripening of grapes occurs providing moderate levels of alcohol with elegant flavours and refreshing acids.
In combination with food the flavours are mutually enhancing. The weight of the wine (light to medium body) allows the texture of the food to shine and the acids cut through the oils in foods to clean up your palate.
It is of great value to classically match wine varietals with relevant foods, but if your liking for a particular wine variety overrides the need to match with food in this way …. go for it. It’s all about you.