I drink white wine usually as my alcohol of choice. But I would never claim to be an expert. So try to keep that in mind while reading this. This is my interpretation (as our tours were in French and some broken English) of red wine appreciation tips.
Although, I drink enough to appreciate the taste, whilst staying in Bordeaux, France, we dropped some cash on doing a pretty lavish full day wine tour.
1855 Medoc full day wine tour link!
We booked through Bordeaux tourism office and cost us €98 p.p (roughly $150AU each). Which included 3 tastings (of two wines each) so 3 estates and a 5 course French cuisine lunch at the 2nd tasting. The lunch included:
Muscles, crab & scrambled egg with mushy mint pea sauce.
Alongside with 2 Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
With the chateau tours & tastings you get fairly good English translated information on the history of the estates.
We had a great time and got fairly giggly at lunch! Well worth the money we spent… Highly recommend!
We learned a couple of things about tasting wine and appreciating it at an additional tour that is within a local Bordeaux restaurant, again booked through the tourism office, for €25. It is hosted by a very knowledgable & enthusiastic local woman. It is also accompanied by your choosing of cheeses. Introduction to wine and cheese tour link!
Wine tasting tips
1. Always check the colour/ intensity/ clarity by holding it against a white napkin.
2. Never hold the bowl of the glass, always hold the stem
3. First nose is to smell without swirling. Try to identify the most identifiable scent.
4. Then swirl a few times to bring out the second nose. All the sub notes will be released. See how many you can smell.
5. Take the first sip but try to hold it in your mouth before swallowing to test the amount of tannin. (what is tannin?) which in the Bordeaux region it is considered to be the main health benefit from red wine.
6. After swallowing, determine where on your taste buds the wine made the most impact
7. Is the wine a short or long drinking wine? Did it go down your throat smoothly or harshly?
8. Lastly try to compliment the wine with a snack or meal. Then repeat steps 3 to 6 to see how much you appreciate the wine now.
Things to know when buying red wine!
1. Cheaper wines from the last 5 years are meant for ageing an additional 5-15 years
2. The darker the red in the colour the closer to maturity it is
3. Younger can sometimes be better, depending on the berries and ageing process at the merchants.
4. Do your research on the chateau and learn what their speciality is.