Spitting wine

Generally, people regard wine drinkers as somewhat refined, maybe even effete and hoity-toity, the sort of people you don’t imagine openly spitting in public like déclassé snuff dippers or baseball players.

Yet, go to any serious wine tasting and there’s spitting everywhere. And not discrete spitting to hide an unfortunate necessity, but ostentatious demonstrations of how to propel a tight tube of wine spit into a bucket.

What in the world?

Spitting wine is elemental skill for those who taste wine for a living. At major wine trade gathering, wine buyers and writers may sample 100 or more wines a day. If they swallowed, game over in first couple of innings.

There are no taste receptors in your throat. Everything you learn about a wine comes through on the nose and palate (inside your mouth and tongue). Swallowing only adds inebriation.

If you are wise enough to enjoy the San Angelo Cultural Affairs Council’s 26th Annual Wine & Food Festival April 29-May 1, consider spitting.

It may surprise you how you catch more nuances of taste. Smelling, taking into the mouth and swirling tells you something. So does spitting it out. There will be a more intense flavor impression because the alcohol hit on the throat and body will largely be foiled.

Spitting also can serve you well during the drive home. Remember, however, even with spitting you take on some alcohol. Experts say 30 tastes or less with spitting equals one full glass of consumption. Expensive way to get wine buzz, excellent for a taste.


• Ramspeck Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark, red fruits. Nice nose, good value. $18.50.

• Torrederos Ribera del Duero Tinto Torrederos Crianza. Black fruits, tannic backbone, benefits from aeration/decanting. Spain. $18.

• Bodegas Juan Gil Jumilla. Sexy floral quality on the nose, but decanting recommended. Dark berries, velvety tannins, zesty minerality. $17.