Wine Tasting - The Sense of Smell
There are a few very important things to note when we "nose" a wine. It is suggested to first smell the wine before swirling, noticing the delicate aromas. Next, swirl the wine and smell again after it is at rest. Depending on the bouquet, you may then notice a profound difference in the odors emerging. Aroma is a smell that originates from the actual grape, with very clear cut characteristics. Aroma is most prevalent in young wines. The bouquet of a wine refers to smells generated as a result of aging; smells found particularly in mature wines that were aged in a bottle. The bouquet generally has much softer and complex characteristics than aromas. Identifying what you smell is usually the most challenging part in wine tasting. Although there are many smell categories used to describe characteristics of wine, none have been exclusively agreed upon.
Wine Tasting - The Sense of Taste
After observing your wine using the sense of sight and smell, it is then time to use your palate to identify tastes. This is far more detailed than simply tasting as we would any other beverage. We must remember to note the characteristics of the wine on all sensory areas of the tongue. Sweetness is detected on the very tip of the tongue, while bitter tastes are sensed in the extreme rear. Saltiness is sensed on the front, upper sides of the tongue, and the acidity-sour taste is sensed mainly on the sides. Some suggest focusing your attention on one sensation at a time in order to be more efficient in your taste. Try taking a sip of wine and swallowing immediately. Then try another sip, this time letting the wine work well around the palate into these sensory areas before swallowing. You will recognize a noticeable difference in the intensity of flavors!
Wine Clubs – A Simple Guide
Joining or giving a wine club can be hit or miss – a great way to discover new wines, or a surprisingly expensive way to taste mediocre or just plain bad wines. We hope this brief guide below helps you make the right choice when selecting your next club.
Types of Wine Clubs
Wine clubs generally fall into two categories – set-term clubs (usually given as gifts) and continuous clubs (usually "self" purchased).
Set Period Clubs – These wine clubs make good gifts as they allow the giver to choose a set length (3,6 or 12 months for example) without worrying about a recurring credit card charge that they will need to cancel at some point. Any gift that arrives multiple times is sure to be appreciated, (especially when that arrival is wine!) Example – My Wines Direct Wine Clubs – 3 bottles per month for 3 months, $149 + $0 shipping, or 3 bottles for 6 months – $289.
Continuous Clubs – These wine clubs send shipments out on a regular basis – usually one shipment per month, every other month or quarterly. Continuous wine clubs range from monthly newspaper sponsored wine clubs (lots of those!), to Winery Clubs that offer quarterly shipments of the latest wines from a particular winery. Example – St. Supery offers clubs ranging from about $45-$75 per month for 2 bottles.
Club Themes – Many clubs offer different themes to match your taste. It could be simply red wine or white wines, or could be as specific as a California Pinot or a Bordeaux–only club. Some enjoy tasting only what they love, while others prefer to explore a bit more with their wines.
Wine Club Prices – Wine club prices vary as much as wine itself. On the low end you may find a two bottle club for $35 or $40 per month, while some of the high end clubs feature 3 premium bottles of wine each quarter for $400–$500.
Remember #1: Some of the more popular and heavily marketed wine clubs start off with an introductory price, often including free gifts – with the real price kicking in during the second month. Remember that $60 for 12 bottles and a free corkscrew might be a great deal now – but next month you might be surprised to see the $120 charge on your credit card! Free gadgets and corkscrews are no substitute for a good bottle of wine.
Remember #2: Not all clubs are a set price. Some clubs operate within a certain range (between $50 and $75 per bottle for example) – this means your first month may be $150, but the next month could be $225.
Remember #3: Make sure to check whether shipping charges are included in the price of the club. Wine is heavy and is not cheap to ship – that $39 wine club you are looking at could really be $55 when you factor in shipping!.
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