Pinot Noir 101: Tasting Pinor Noir
To the novice or casual imbiber, wine tasting, especially when great wines are involved, can be a complicated and intimidating affair. It’s like you’re an unwanted guest at a secret society meeting, trying to decipher their strange customs and rituals, trying to understand their exotic language. What do they see when they hold their glasses of red liquid to the light? What’s with all the swirling and sniffing? Why do they keep sucking air loudly through their pursed lips?
But, after attending a few more wine tastings, you realize there is wisdom in the madness. And while there are no rules for winetasting, there are some powerful suggestions that can enhance your tasting experience.
Powerful Suggestion #1: Use appropriate glassware. It doesn’t have to be crystal and it doesn’t need to have a stem. But it does need to have a bowl that will efficiently funnel the aromas directly to the nose. Pinot Noir, especially the highly concentrated Pinot Noirs of Clos de la Tech, benefit from large bowls that allow the wine to breathe and evolve.
Powerful Suggestion # 2: Smell the wine thrice. That’s right, we said thrice. The first sniff is to determine quality, style and dominant aromatics. The second is to explore and itemize the underlying nuances like cherries, strawberries, blackberries, anise, leather, chocolate, etc. The third is to dive below the surface to discover the more elemental smells found in Clos de la Tech’s Pinots like slate, granite, sand, earth and forest floor.
Powerful Suggestion #3: Let the wine linger on your palate. Draw air across it to expand its horizons. Sense the acidity, texture and weight. And then, when you finally swallow it, see how the wine’s flavors match the aromas. Check out the balance, complexity and completeness. Finally, notice how long the aftertaste persists. A great wine will have a long finish.
Powerful Suggestion #4: Have fun. For most of us, this is a hobby, not a vocation. And if it is your vocation, be thankful ‑ you’ve got one of the greatest jobs on earth!