By: Faith Vickery
CHIUSDINO, Italy— Contrary to American culture, in Italy a glass of wine is perfectly acceptable to consume at the ripe hour of 1 pm; therefore a proper wine tasting was certainly in order.
Jessica Haden, the Spannocchia farm intern director, placed a bottle of white, rosé and red wine, as well as some Vin Santo, a sweet Italian dessert wine, before us. All varieties were produced right on the farm.
With a long-stemmed glass in our hands we were instructed to not sip or smell but look at the wine in our glass. Color, viscosity, and opaqueness all characterized the wines we were about to encounter.
The next step was to smell. We swirled the wine around in our glass to aerate and release the natural aromas. We learned not to sniff forcefully, but rather just breath with our nose over the glass. The white wine hinted at an apple scent while the rosé wafted floral. Our novice noses even picked up cloves in the red wine.
Finally we were told to taste the wine. To properly taste wine, we learned to coat the inside of our mouths to reach all taste buds. We discussed the acidity, the sweetness, and the finish of each wine.
Jessica referred to wine tasting as organoleptic, feeling something with all of your senses. I’d never thought of it this way but tend to agree. Next time you taste wine, don’t just taste, but see the vines, smell the grapes, and let the wine unravel it’s complexity right before you.