Swirl and Sniff

Here’s a simple tip to make you feel a little more confident when the wine waiter asks you to taste the wine before he/she pours.

Yes we’ve all been there at one time or another. Even though those days may be well behind you, we all started not knowing much about wine and being absolutely terrified at the thought that someone was asking us to make a judgement about a wine - in front of other people!

But there is a way to avoid this situation altogether and look really stylish into the bargain.

Actually this tip won’t make you a better wine taster but it will make you appear a lot more sophisticated and sometimes feeling confident and looking sophisticated is what it’s all about.

To understand this little tip let’s first understand what’s going on when a wine waiter asks you to taste.

It’s a common, almost universal, misunderstanding that the wine waiter is asking you to taste the wine to see if you like it. In fact that’s not what is going on at all.

Once you’ve looked through the wine list and ordered a bottle, that’s it, you’ve made your choice. The only reason for rejecting the wine when it is poured is because there’s something wrong with it, not because you suddenly change your mind and decide you don’t like it.

Asking you to taste it therefore is just to ensure that the wine is in good condition, not to see if you like the taste.

Actually the wine waiters could and should test the wine themselves making the whole rigamorole of you tasting a complete waste of time. Weird that, isn’t it? Still, it’s become a sort of ritual and it’s expected of you, so if you know a way of carrying this off with style and applomb the better it will make you and your fellow diners feel.

Almost always you can tell all you need to know without tasting.

All you need to do when the waiter pours a little in the bottom of your glass is to give the glass a little swirl or two so as to release the aromas and then take a good sniff.

If the wine is faulty you’ll notice an unpleasant musty smell, rather like damp cardboard.  Perhaps there might also be a smell of green peppers ( the vegetable that is, not green peppercorns). If you get a whiff of either of these you know that there’s something wrong with the wine and you are perfectly entitled to send it back.

If you smell something a little odd but you’re not sure, that’s the time to taste just to check, but at least now you have more idea of what you checking for.

So,  9 times out of 10, there’s no need to taste at all.

 Just a firm swirl of the glass followed by a good sniff will tell you all you need to know PLUS it will make you appear like a real expert who knows, with just a sniff, what a wine’s all about.

Most people don’t know this so believe me, you’ll look really impressive.

Try it and see. It’s true for all wine including champagne. I’m sure you’ll be pleased with the results and enjoy your wine too