Notes from a Winery

Well, I don't know about you guys, but I was pretty clueless when it comes to wine apart from the fact that it's made from grapes. So when Matt and I had the opportunity to go on a guided tour of of the Chateau Elan Winery I jotted down a few notes so as not to look so ignorant when ordering my next glass. Here are some of my notes from the tour. Feel free to rattle off a few of these facts and impress all of your friends on your vast knowledge of the art of wine-making at your next fancy dinner. ;)

When the waiter sets down your glass of wine just remember the 5 "S's" of wine tasting:
1.Sight: White wines will get more yellow the more they have been aged. A very pale wine will be more zesty while a golden wine will usually be more buttery. For red wines, the darker they are the richer they will be. A Merlot should be a nice ruby color whereas a Port will be more brown.
2.Swirl: Gently swirl your wine to bring out the smell.
3.Smell: The more you smell wines, the better you will be at getting a sense of its taste before you sip. You should be able to pick up the flavor such as floral, fruity, buttery, etc.
4.Sip: Take just a small amount in your mouth.
5.Smack: to get the full taste of the wine.
Remember, on your first sip, you have just awoken your taste buds. Never judge a wine by just the 1st taste. Give it 2 or 3 sips before you decide if you like it or not.
Although these old barrels are beautiful to photograph, most modern wineries no longer use them to age wine.  It's much more cost efficient to age the entire batch in one giant tank like this:

Did you know? Red and white wines are made using 2 different processes. White wines are juiced prior to brewing whereas red wines are brewed with stem and skin and then juiced.That's what gives it the red color!
It's best to store you wines horizontally. This keeps the cork saturated so it doesn't dry out and crumble into the wine.
Oh, and that little indention on the bottom of the wine bottle? That's for the waiter to place his or her thumb when pouring a glass. The proper way to pour is always label up!

If you ever decide to hold a wine tasting party, here is the order you should taste your wines in. Always taste dry wines first and save the sweet ones for last. Your taste buds will thank you.Sweet wines are best paired with spicy or smokey flavored foods. A Port wine is a great finish to a dinner and is a nice complement to dark chocolate.

 Most importantly, I say- Forget all the Rules! Just enjoy your wine however you like!
By the way, you may have noticed an improvement in our photo quality lately. I am so excited that we finally got a great deal on a Canon Rebel thanks to my brother in law. That first photo up there? Yeah, this guy took that. How did I get so lucky to be married to a great photographer?

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