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Wine Secrets
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Tasting Wine Like a Professional
The two things professional wine tasters look for when tasting a wine are its quality (low to high) and its level of maturity (meaning whether it's past its prime, in perfect drinking condition, or would improve in bottle). Age and maturity are different things. Age is the length of time a wine has been in existence, as determined by a quick glance at its vintage date, while maturity is a judgment call gauging its prime drinking time.

Tasting Wine Like a Professional
A wine's appearance in the glass reveals clues to its overall quality and maturity. The best way to look at a glass of wine is in bright light against a white background. Standing by a window with a sheet of plain paper or a white napkin behind the glass does the trick. Does it appear clear? This is the first indication of quality.Wine should be clear.

Tasting Wine Like a Professional
As well as clarity, the brightness of a wine matters. A wine can range from glossy and radiant to downright dull. Brilliance in the glass can indicate high acidity levels, as well as youth and vigor. Conversely, very dull wine is usually past its best, particularly if it has an orange hue.

Tasting Wine Like a Professional
Brightness can also indicate certain winemaking methods. If a wine is star-bright it has likely been ruthlessly filtered to remove the tiniest particles, which is a controversial practice. Critics argue it removes flavor, while proponents like the way it clarifies and stabilizes a wine, ensuring it stays clear. Unfiltered wine should appear clear in the glass but slightly dull.

Tasting Wine Like a Professional
The color of wine where it meets the glass, which is called the rim, is the best clue to a wine's maturity. As white wine matures, the rim turns from watery to golden and as red wine matures, the rim moves through a range of colors starting with purple, moving to ruby, russet, brick, and finally brown.

Tasting Wine Like a Professional
The traces of wine known as legs or tears left on the insides of the glass after giving it a swirl shows the alcohol and sweetness levels in a wine. If you see obvious legs, take notice and expect fairly high levels of alcohol or sugar on the palate.

Tasting Wine Like a Professional
The most important organ in tasting is not the tongue. It's the nose. Olfactory glands are far more sensitive than taste buds. If you don't believe me, try tasting something with a stuffy nose. So always remember to get your nose right in the glass and take a whiff before you take a sip. It improves your tasting experience immensely.

Tasting Wine Like a Professional
To nose a wine, which is winespeak for smelling it, give the glass a good swirl to encourage the aromas to vaporize. Then, take a good whiff. Some tasters feel one nostril is better than the other and tilt one side of their nose into the glass.

Tasting Wine Like a Professional
Wine should smell clean. When nosing the wine, look out for musty aromas. These odors generally indicate flaws or simply poor winery hygiene—neither of which is particularly appealing.

Tasting Wine Like a Professional
Some wines will seem to have no aroma, which is referred to as a "closed nose." This can happen at various points in a wine's evolution, and is not a flaw. Also, while certain grape varieties are very perfumed, such as Sauvignon Blanc, others are naturally restrained, such as wines made from Trebbiano.

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