What is the difference between the aroma and the bouquet when it comes to wine? What is a “blind tasting”? What does it mean when a wine has “legs”? These and many other questions about wine will be answered here.
• A sommelier is a French word for a wine steward – someone who is educated, trained, and knowledgeable with wine. They usually are employed in fine restaurants and specialize in all aspects of wine service. A female person who does this is a sommeliere.
• The smell or taste of “butter” in a wine comes from the contact wine has with yeast during the primary alcoholic fermentation, the conversion of harsh acids into softer ones during the secondary malolactic fermentation, or the flavors imparted from oak barrels. California, Chile, and Australia Chardonnays are often described as having a buttery taste and smell.
• “Bouquet” refers to smells from winemaking, such as yeast and oak barrels. “Aroma” means smells from the grapes. If you happen to not remember this, it’s okay. Not that many people really know the difference.
• A blind tasting is the process of tasting wine without knowing anything about the wine in the glass – i.e., the name of the winery, the vintage or other label information. Both consumers and professional wine critics taste wine this way to evaluate it free without the bias that comes with knowing that information. It’s only after documenting notes on the tasting and scoring the wine that critics look at this information.
• Wine glasses have stems so that your body temperature from your hands don’t raise the temperature of the wine inside the glass. Tasters insist on holding the glass by its stem. Of course, wine glassmaker Reidel came up with a bold product – stemless wine glasses. I’m not a fan, but then I also hold the wine glass by the “foot” of the glass.
• There are so many different types of wine glasses available and the best way to remember what type of glass to use is the bigger the better. Wine enthusiasts and professionals prefer high-end glassware, and often suggest various sizes and shapes. However, no independent research has ever shown expensive glassware to increase wine smells & flavors. The two most important elements to how a wine smells and tastes is having oversized stemware with a large opening (this style is often called a Burgundy glass). And make sure the wine is served at the correct temperature (cool for reds, slightly chilled for whites).
• The drips of wine that slowly glide down the glass after swirling the wine are called legs or tears. They’re related to surface tension differences between water and alcohol. The legs go down the glass more slowly and are more defined when there is more alcohol present in the wine. NOTE: “Legs” are not indicative of a better wine, just one with more alcohol.
• The alcohol is what makes a wine “full bodied”. Additionally, sugar is also a factor in very sweet wines. Light, medium and full-bodied wines are analogous to water, milk, and cream.