Wine tasting 2 of 3

The 27th Annual San Angelo Wine & Food Festival pops corks Thursday, April 28 at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts and Friday, April 29 at Fort Concho.

To help you prepare, last week we visited the first of five S’s of tasting wine: see. Remaining are swirl, smell, sip, savor.

This week: swirl and smell.

Smell is essential to enjoying wine, but to fully experience smell, you first must swirl. Swirling exposes wine to oxygen and releases aromas. Hold the glass firmly by the stem and swirl it for 10-15 seconds to help vaporize wine’s alcohol and release aromas. You should fill the glass to only one-third full (or less), so spilling should not be a problem.

After a suitable swirl, put your nose to the grindstone. Do something that probably would give your old maid aunt vapors: stick your nose fully into the glass and inhale deeply. Swirl some more, sniff the wine through each nostril.

Do you smell oak, berry, flowers, vanilla, citrus? Aroma is excellent indicator of a wine’s quality and unique characteristics. Swirl the wine and let the aromas mix and mingle. Sniff again.

Some wine smells are an acquired taste. “Barnyard” or “sheep butt” seems like savage condemnation, but is welcomed characteristic on Burgundian Pinot Noirs. “Petrol” seems like something to leave you aghast, but is welcome characteristic of aged Riesling. In the beginning, you will not believe it true. Then, one day, the light in your nose will go off.


• McManis Petite Sirah. Dense, jammy, creamy vanilla and milk chocolate. California. $12

• Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. Pineapple and stonefruit. New Zealand. $19

• Eberle Viognier. Classic: lychee, honeysuckle, apricot, melon, peach. Paso Robles. $21

• Condesa Real Premium Blend. Delicious Cab, Syrah, Merlot blend. Chile. $24

• John Anthony Syrah. Great nose, balanced, delightful. Napa. $27