More exploration of wine terms; today—technical descriptors.
• Color. Well, wine’s color, which can tell you much. At simplest, color is connected to body and boldness. Pinot noir is light red with light body; petite sirah is very dark, full bodied, bold. Grenchace/garnacha is at lighter end of medium body and medium darkness. Merlot and zinfandel are at the darker end of medium body and medium darkness. Malbec and cabernet sauvignon are in mid-range of full body and darkness. Whites usually are shade of yellow. Rosé the color of red roses or salmon.
• Bouquet. Also “aroma” or “nose.” Your nose is greatest influence on wine appreciation—it is why you have trouble tasting when you have a cold. Not surprising, the smell found in the wine usually translates into taste on the palate.
• On the palate. Flavors you taste when the wine is in your mouth. Your palate includes your taste buds, tongue, the interior of your mouth, and your nose. Even in your mouth, aromas touch your smell detectors, a reason your nose is the most important sensor in wine appreciation.
• Finish. What happens at the end of your sip as you swallow and then after. Good wines have long finishes, lingering flavors and sensations, and invite another sip. Short finishes just go away. Bad finishes leave you with unpleasant, sour, or sugar-candy sensations.
• Wine score. Pseudo-scientific number, usually based on grading system learned in primary school. Scores transformed wine business by giving quivering neophytes courage to buy a bottle they knew nothing about other than Parker’s 91-point score.
• Price. Crude way to evaluate wine quality. In broadest terms, a higher price increases chances for quality but does not guarantee it. Psychology: when you pay a lot for wine, it will have to be terrible for you not to think it tastes good.
• Edna Valley Vineyard Central Coast Chardonnay 2014: Clean, easy drinking, versatile. $12-15
• Rotari Brut, Talento Trento DOC 2013: Terrific Italian sparkling wine, terrific price. $13
• Kim Crawford Small Parcels Spitfire Sauvignon Blanc 2015: Premier sauv blanc made only in years of superior vintage. $21-26
Last round: There is no problem a good bottle of wine can’t solve.
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