Modesto’s wine columnist on wine tasting made easy

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See, swirl, smell, sip, swallow or spit, and summarize are the six basic stages of wine tasting. Most people have trouble identifying flavors, also called descriptors, and that’s because they just slurp and swallow. They never slurp it, chew it, gargle it, or work to help their nose smell it. Try it. Take a sip and swallow. Now do the same thing, but this time swish it around or chew it while taking deep breaths and closing your mouth completely. Then, after swallowing, inhale through the mouth and exhale through the nose several times. “Wow you!” it’s a comment I usually hear from first-time tasters, and it’s why Sloshing it is step number five in my Seven Essential Steps of Wine Tasting.

Sweetness, acidity, tannin and alcohol all come into play when you like or dislike a wine. For example, is the wine sweet or dry? What do you prefer? Does the wine have too much or not enough acidity? Is your mouth drooling and tingling? Is it your taste, is it too much or not enough? How astringent (drying in the mouth) or bitter is the wine? Too much tannin creates a fluffy tooth feel. But are the levels moderate? If you feel a hot burning sensation in the back of your throat, that’s too much alcohol and probably a turn off.

If you try and find that any of these four components don’t work, you can just say no. Sweetness, acidity, tannin and alcohol should be in balance in a good wine. Add to that a full body and a long aftertaste and you have a great wine. Remember, just trust your taste, it’s always up to you. Have fun and don’t forget to “slap”.

What we have on the table

Here are three wines for your consideration. Francis Ford Coppola Distillery’s “G” or Grazie Mille is a rich red blend perfect for pizza and only $5.99 at the Grocery Outlet. The organic wine Veramonte Carmenere 2020 from Chile is rich and velvety. You’d think it was Merlot, as Chileans did until the mid-90s when it was identified as Carmenere. The price is $10.99 in most markets. Quivira Vineyards 2019 Dry Creek Zinfandel is an elegant, well-balanced wine. With a red raspberry/cherry flavor this is a Zin lover’s treat. The SRP is $28 and the sale is a few dollars lower. That’s it, a steal, a bargain and a great waste, enjoy. Cheers!

Have questions? Comments? Find me on Facebook or at rgwinton@yahoo.com.

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