Tasting Bordeaux wines
Coulour, bouquet and taste
Tasting is far from some sort of ritual reserved for the élite.
It is a pleasure for everyone who chooses to pen thier eyes, pay
attention to what their nose tells them, and be sensitive to their
taste buds. When is the best time to drink Bordeaux ? Whenever you
please, and whatever your mood. You can enjoy Bordeaux as an aperitif,
at a good meal with friends, in front of the television, or with
a snack after a walk... Let the tasting begin ! This is the moment to
bring back memories, excite our curiosity and bring a whole world of
coulours, aromas and taste to mind...
A few simple rules on how to taste
Tasting wine the right way starts with choosing the proper kind
of wineglass. The ideal variety, the "Bordeaux glass"
is tulip-shaped. It is gracefully tapered towards the bottom and
curves slightly at the rim, which is ideal for aerating the wine and
concentrating its bouquet. Very important : fill the glass just one-third
full so that you can tilt it easily, and make sure to hold it by the foot
of the stem. By not covering the bowl of the glass with your hands, it will
be easy to admire the colour and appreciate the bouquet without
warming up the wine.
Three stages of tasting and what they tell us
- Appreciating the wine's colour
In order to have the best possible look at a wine, bring the glass
up to eye level and look through it towards a light source. Then
lower the glass and tilt it slightly angainst the pale background
to notice the wine's sublte colour. This can be either deep ( a
sign of strong personnality ) or light. A bright, brilliant hue
indicates a vigorous wine. You can also judge the wine's clarity
at a glance. These signs are all indicative of the overall quality !
The nuances in red Bordeaux wines vary according to their origin
and age. The youngest are often deep in colour, with tinges of violet
or crimson. With age, this changes to ruby, cherry or garnet-net.
The oldest wines have an orange or brownish brick-red colour.
Bordeaux rosés provide a subtle range of colours : raspberry,
orange and salmon pink.
The colour of white Bordeaux wines often gives you a clue as to the type
of wine. Dry white wines range from virtually colourless to
straw-coloured. Sweet and semi-sweet Bordeaux wines are deeper in colour
from pale gold to amber.
- Smell : the language of aromas
Violet, blackurrant, vanilla or truffle ? Smelling a fine wine opens up
a vast universe of aromas that are reminiscent of nature, as well as an
infinite number of familiar or exotic smells. There are two steps to
appreciating a wine's bouquet. First of all, smell the wine as it sits
still in the glass. Next, swirl it around to release the full bouquet.
Complicated ? No, not at all ! Here are the 11 main families of smell :
- Red wines : violet, peony, rose, iris...
- White wines : acacia, orange, blossom, honeysuckle, etc.
- Red wines : strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, blackcurrant,
red currant and cherry.
- White wines : lemon, grapefruit, tropical fruit, peach and
dried fruit : prune, fig, walnut, almond, etc.
Apple or green banana, pear drops, wax, yoghurt, cream, etc...
Hay, fern, boxwood, eucalyptus, tea, herb tea, tobacco leaf and
green pepper. Moss and fresh mushrooms.
Smoke, toast, caramel, cocoa, fresh roasted coffee and chocolate.
Green wood, dry wood, pencil shavings, cigar box and sandalwood.
Pine trees, fir tress, resin etc...
Game, leather, fur, ambergris, musk, etc...
- Herbs and spices
Dill, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, clove, licorice, thyme,
bay leaf and truffles.
- Tasting : the palate
Considering that our tastebuds can distinguish just four sensations
( sweet, salty, acid and bitter ), it is amazing that wine can
provide such a hudge number of sensations ! The secret ? Take a small
sip, swill it around in your mouth and ( discreetly ) take in some
air at the same time to bring out the aromas.
During the tasting process, the wine will gradually reveal all : the
velvety, silky or more rustic quality of its texture, the strength or
finesse of the taste, and especially the impression of overall balance.
The final stage of tasting consists of swallowing the wine and
concentrating on the "memory" it leaves on
your palate. A good long aftertaste is as important to a fine wine
as its colour and its bouquet.
All you need to do is to "store up" your
tasting memories gradually to become a connoisseur of Bordeaux wine !
Now that you know about Bordeaux wines tasting, why don't you go and learn
Dry White or
red Bordeaux wines or
We would like to hear from your ! so, please send us your
comments and suggestions about this server.
When you're done you can get back to the Home page