Whether you’re already well versed, or still don’t know your Malbec from Merlot, wine tasting is the perfect chance to expand your knowledge. You’ll likely be guided through the experience, but you’ll still want to ask questions to come away with a greater appreciation and understanding of all things vino!
What is the history of the winery/vineyard?
If your tasting is hosted at a winery or vineyard, there is often a lot of history and heritage associated with the venue and grounds themselves. Learning more about where the wine physically came from could set the scene for your experience.
Which grapes are grown at this vineyard?
Wine types are dependent on the grape. You could also ask about the climate of the vineyard, and how it affects harvesting of the grapes during different seasons. If you’re at a winery, then it’s worth asking more about the kind of grapes they have selected to grow, and the reasons for this.
How are the wines fermented?
Wines are fermented and aged in a variety of ways, which is why it’s good to ask a little more about the process. Some wines may be aged in barrels (this often gives an oaky taste to the wine) and others in large vats. You can find out how long the wine has spent fermenting, and how this affects the flavour and aroma.
Are any of these wines a blend?
Often, you’ll be tasting wine that is a blend of two or more grapes. It’s always a good idea to ask which blends are in the wine and what that brings to the flavour. Is there an even percentage of each grape in the wine? Getting to know the science behind the composition will help you to better understand how different flavours are put together to produce a finished product.
Which wines have the highest alcohol percentage?
Wines you sample will contain varying alcohol content, but you may not know why. You may want to find out how this is measured, and what makes some wines more alcoholic than others.
What food would you pair this wine with?
When you’ve tried a wine that you really like, it’s worth asking what foods it could be paired with. Pairing wine with food can create some delicious combinations. Your wine guide should know which wines are best enjoyed with different types of meat, poultry, fish, desserts and cheese.
What temperature do you recommend serving this wine?
Wines are served at a whole range of temperatures and it’s important that you get it right. This will greatly affect the taste of the wine.
How long can you shelf this wine?
Once a bottle of wine has been opened it will need to be consumed within a certain amount of time. If left longer than the given amount of time, the flavour will be affected and it could start to taste sour. The shelf life will vary and will also depend on how it’s stored, which is why it’s best to get an expert opinion on this.
How can I tell if a wine is corked or ‘bad’?
Besides a bad aroma or taste, smelling musty, or like a ‘wet dog,’ there are other ways to tell if a wine is corked. This is a great question to ask to be able to tell if your wine has gone ‘bad’.