Have you ever wonder how to read a wine label?
to checkout The Wall Street Journal article.
Pinot gris is a white wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. Thought to be a mutant clone of the Pinot noir variety, it normally has a grayish-blue fruit, accounting for its name (gris meaning "gray" in French) but the grapes can have a brownish pink to black and even white appearance. The word pinot, which comes from the word meaning "pine cone" in French, could have been given to it because the grapes grow in small pine cone-shaped clusters. The wines produced from this grape also vary in color from a deep golden yellow to copper and even a light shade of pink, and it is one of the more popular grapes for orange wine. The clone of Pinot gris grown in Italy is known as Pinot grigio.
Pinot gris is grown around the globe with the "spicy" full-bodied Alsatian and lighter-bodied, more acidic Italian styles being most widely recognized. The Alsatian style, often duplicated in New World wine regions such as Marlborough, Tasmania, Australia, Washington, and Oregon, tend to have moderate to low acidity, higher alcohol levels and an almost "oily" texture that contributes to the full-bodied nature of the wine. The flavors can range from ripe tropical fruit notes of melon and mango to some botrytis-influenced flavors. In Italy, Pinot grigio grapes are often harvested early to retain the refreshing acidity and minimize some of the overt-fruitiness of the variety, creating a more neutral flavor profile. This style is often imitated in other Old World wine regions, such as Germany where the grape is known as Ruländer.
Tasting wine can be a tricky process and is not learnt over night. You could be told by a million different cellar door managers what to look for and still walk out as confused as when you walked in. Wine is a complex beverage but with these handy tips, I hope I can make the process a little more palatable for you so you get the most out of your next wine tasting session.
Here’s a few pointers to taste wine the way the experts do. You don’t have to use this system with every sip, all the time — just when you want to really examine the taste and typical characteristics of a particular wine group. Remember practise makes perfect so remember these tips and the process of describing smells and taste in wine will become easier — and more importantly, a lot of fun!
Smell the wine.
Rotate your glass on the wine tasting counter swishing around the wine so it mixes with air. After about ten full circle swishes stop and bring the glass immediately to your nose (those with large noses take care not to break the glass) and inhale deeply so you you feel the vapours. Notice how strong or subtle the wine’s aroma is; then try to describe in your mind what it is you smell. Wine is often compared to many other fruits (don't say grapes like a dad joke), floral notes, spices, herbs, sometimes chocolate :-) and so forth.
Taste the wine.
Take a medium-sized sip and swish it around your mouth breathing in and out noticing its texture (whether it feels firm or soft) and its weight and body (how heavy or light it feels on your tongue). The flavors can be similar to the aromas you may smelled or may be completely different. That's the the beauty of wine. Don't let the description on the bottle tell you what you are tasting, describe for yourself then see if it matches up with the common descriptors from the winemakers (you may surprise yourself on how close you get sometimes)
Swallow or spit.
If you’re tasting several wines (or driving!), you may want to keep a straight head and spit the wine out. This is more than acceptable so don't worry. But if you’re in for the full experience of a great days wine tasting swallowing is also fine. As the wine exits your mouth, try to notice whether the flavors persist across the whole length of your mouth (length) or whether they stop short halfway through the process. Those that do stop short are typically classed as flawed and inexpensive wines. Those wines that carry their flavor farther across your mouth are considered "fine wines".
Remember wineries are businesses supporting the local community and are there to sell wines. They very kindly open their doors to the public and make up to an average of 70% of their wines available for a free tasting at their cellar doors. Whilst nothing is written in stone, it is widely accepted in the tourism industry that it's important to support this very generous arrangement with a purchase of at least one bottle of wine per tasting session.