Wine tasting—San Angelo

Wine tasting refresher course on eve 29th Annual San Angelo Food & Wine Festival.

Remember five-S technique: See, Swirl, Smell, Sip, Savor.

• See. Typically, this involves tilting your glass in front of a white background to carefully observe subtle gradations and intensity of color. At Friday’s event, discerning red from white may have to do.

• Swirl. Release aromas by swirling wine in your glass, setting up step three. FYI: swirling creates “legs” inside the glass. Visually interesting, legs reveal nothing about quality and commenting on them does not indicate you know anything about wine. If you are commenting on the anatomy of a woman drinking wine, whole other story.

• Smell. Masters of wine smell at three stations: chest level, chin level, nose shoved into the glass. Nose-in-the-glass probably is all that will work at the festival’s boisterous events, but smell is most important element of wine tasting nonetheless.

• Sip. The verb is sip, not guzzle. Allow wine to caress your tongue. Inhale while wine plays inside your mouth. Pros then spit the sip into a bucket. Don’t expect to see much of that at the Museum of Fine Arts on Thursday or the Cactus on Friday.

• Savor. Evaluate the sip. How were first moments—the “attack,” how did it evolve, how did it finish? Or forget all that wine master stuff. Savor the company, savor the food, savor the wine, savor being a part of what makes San Angelo special every April—the oldest wine and food festival in the state (not Dallas, not San Antonio, not Houston; San Angelo).

See you there.

Tasting notes:

• Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2010. Velvety rhubarb; big, chewy, oaky, balanced; another Ste. Michelle win. $9

• Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010. Heavy plum, cherry, black fruits; oak, vanilla, spice; classic CA cab; value for the price. $15

• Fess Parker Santa Barbara County Chardonnay 2010. Typically well made; apple, pear, melon, buttery oak, spice; creamy full body, delicious. $18 (Fess was San Angelo lad, by the way.)

Last round: Only amateurs wear white clothes to wine tastings. Consider Scotchgarded black.