There’s more to wine than the initial taste. In a few simple steps, you will be able to spot subtle differences between wines. Aldi reveals how to master wine tasting at home.
You don’t really wine taste, you actually wine smell, says Aldi’s wine experts.
Swirling the wine around in the glass enables you to do this much more effectively so it’s a crucial step in assessing wine.
Aroma plus taste equals flavour.
Go with the grape
With the wealth of wines now available, it can sometimes be overwhelming when picking wines.
If you don’t know where to start, start with the grape variety. This is the best indication as to what a wine will taste like.
Wines are all made from different grape varieties that subtly taste of different things and create wines with different structures too. For example, medium-bodied.
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Do your research
A little bit of knowledge can go a long way. Swotting up on different wines from across the globe and the grape varieties available in certain countries will make a huge difference.
Old World wines (from Europe) are usually labelled by region and not grape variety.
Chablis for example is a place in France, where the wines are made from Chardonnay and Rioja is in Spain, where the majority of wines are red and made predominantly from the Tempranillo grape.
When buying wines from the Old World therefore it really pays to learn what grape varieties are grown where.
So, if you know you like Sauvignon Blanc, then a Sancerre could be a good choice and if you’re a fan of Chianti wines then Sangiovese could be the grape for you.
Match the food to the wine
When it comes to food and wine matching, the two key things to remember are to match the weight of the wine to the weight of the dish.
Light seafood works well with light whites but a big steak would benefit from a big red wine.
It’s always useful to bear in mind the saying ‘what grows together goes together’.
For example, Italian wine tends to work really well with Italian food!
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It’s not always wrong to chill red wine! As a rule of thumb however, only chill light-bodied wines.
Cooling fruity red wines accentuates the tannins (the drying sensation you can get from red wines in the mouth) and slightly mutes the fruit so if you have a light red, it can handle some chilling.
To put this to the test, try a bottle of Aldi’s Vignobles Roussellet Pinot Noir
Got a decanter handy? That’s a plus.
Most red wines will benefit from a bit of air so decanting wine not only helps you look like a pro but allows the wine to ‘breathe’ so you can more easily enjoy those all-important aromas.
The way you store your wine is important, too.
If stoppered with a cork, wine should always be laid horizontally once bought so that the it doesn’t dry out.
However, sparkling wines and corks closed under screw cap can be kept upright.
Out and about
When you are in a restaurant and you are brought the wine to taste, the purpose is for you to check that the wine is ‘clean’.
It’s your job to ensure there are no obvious faults in the wine (such as the wine being corked) and you are happy to take it.
Again, if you swirl the wine here before tasting it, it will look impressive!
A corked wine does not mean there are bits of cork in it from a carelessly opened bottle, it is when there is a mouldy, slightly woody, earthy smell to the wine that has come from a tainted cork.
So if a wine smells musty, it could well be corked!
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