Wine tasting. What I wish I knew then...
Living on a working vineyard, tasting wine is often part of a day’s work (boo-hoo, right?). But even before I found myself at Nashdale Lane I’d taken part in more than my fair share of wine tastings - from Tuscany to Tassie. Yet no matter where I was in the world, there are a few home truths.
This is what I’ve learnt along the way, by no means an exhaustive list, more an observational/ common sense guide that I wish someone told me many years ago!!
- Wine tasting is subjective. Don’t let the ‘experts’ tell you what you should and shouldn’t be tasting - it’s a personal thing and it’s about what strikes a chord with you and what you can imagine yourself happily drinking!
- Don’t fake it. Wine and wine tastings are to be enjoyed and celebrated, no one will judge you if you don’t engage in lofty ‘tasting talk’ – I often find ‘experts’ don’t agree!
- If going on a wine tasting weekend away, map out a rough schedule before you set off – get a map of the area and look at how far each is away from the next, take a quick squiz at what the vineyards/cellar doors look like as an indicator of style etc.
- When wine tasting, work out a realistic way to get around (note that you can still come undone on a bicycle as well as a car if you’ve over consumed!)
- Be realistic about how many cellar doors and tastings you can do in one day.
- Choose cellar doors that make wines that not only match your personal drinking preferences but ones that also offer something unique. It maybe a character-filled cellar door, a stunning vista or the chance to meet the owner/winemaker.
- Integrate regional produce if you can. Lots of vineyards that offer wine tasting also do locally sourced olive oil tastings, dip / cheese platters, nibbles and/or lunch menus.
- There is no (real) right or eloquent way to ‘sip, swill and spit’. Just be sure to aim away from anyone nearby!
- Finally, when you spend a decent period of time at a cellar door with friendly staff and have a great wine tasting experience it’s acceptable not to purchase wine but spare a thought for the time, effort as well as cost that goes into making a comprehensive, quality wine tasting!