A Few Pet Peeves At Wine TastingsI was walking my dog around the neighborhood one day, and saw that one of my neighbors had put up a sign on his yard asking for people to “pick up after your dog.” I smiled because I always carry a pick-up bag with me, but obviously not everyone got the memo. I am sure that it is irritating for my neighbor to clean up someone else’s mess.
That got me thinking about some of my pet peeves when it comes to wine. This is not a venting session, just some things that I think everyone should know so they don’t upset anyone else!
I am sure I have written about this before, but I will again because it still happens to me. Please do not wear strong cologne, aftershave, perfume, lotion or other aromatics when you are going to a wine tasting. You might as well light up a cigar or cigarette at the table. Those aromas kill the enjoyment of the wine in the glass. Often it is not the fact that you are wearing it, just please do not wear too much. As a rule of thumb, if only you and your partner can smell it while you are talking to each other, that is fine. When that aroma starts to invade the space of someone else you are not talking to, that is too much.
Something no one should do — no matter what — is to raise the glass to stop someone from pouring the wine into it. You do know that the glass is made of … glass? And the wineglass is thinner than the glass in a bottle of wine. So, every time you raise it up to cut someone off from pouring more, you run the chance of breaking it.
It has happened before and it typically ruins the night: You spill wine, break the glass, maybe even cut yourself in the process. It would suffice to tell someone just how much of the wine you would like. Telling someone “just a little” can mean different amounts to different people. So say something like “just an ounce” or “just two ounces.” If you are not that good with measurements, just use your finger to indicate at what point of the glass you want the person to stop pouring.
Easy, right? And if the person still insists on over-pouring you, just share the wine with someone who would like more … like me!
Please do not serve your wine at room temperature. I don’t know about you, but my room temperature is usually somewhere around 80 degrees — not the ideal temperature for serving wine. Serving your wine too cold is even more agreeable than serving the wine too warm. Even with red wines, please put it in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes just to put a light chill on it. When wines are served too warm, the aromas are usually of alcohol. The aromatic nuances and flavors are masked by the heat of the alcohol. When you cool it down a bit, it helps to mute the alcohol and allows the wine to properly express all its glory. Ideally, reds should be served at between 50 to 65 degrees, according to the Court of Master Sommeliers.
I would be interested to hear your pet peeves. Maybe it is snobby sommelier! That’s one of mine, too.
Recommendations: 2012 Domaine Anderson Pinot Noir ($45) This is filled with beautiful cherry and strawberry fruit laced with vanilla. Perhaps the most impressive part of the wine is its texture: It’s like velvet in the mouth, gushing with berry and savory flavors that linger on for a long and sultry aftertaste. You can find this wine at Tamura’s Fine Wine. 2013 Pomelo Sauvignon Blanc ($12) Like a freshly cut grapefruit, this wine is zingy and refreshing. Light on the palate with ebullient flavors of citrus, melons and nectarine, this is perfect for a picnic, salads and fresh fish. You can find it at many Foodland stores and Tamura’s Fine Wine.
Roberto Viernes is a master sommelier.