AUSTRALIA'S history tells the story of many enthusiastic grape growers and wine makers. In nearly every region and state there is a tale to be heard of families who arrived as settlers and brought with them knowledge of wine making and a passionate love for wine.
Take your own wine journey from virtually from every major city to a place where these families have established important brands and styles that reflect their European roots or their own experiences in the world of wine. Nothing compares to a visit to a cellar door or wine tasting where you can sip and savour wines from a particular region or vintage.
If this is your first time venturing into the world of wine tasting, don't be daunted. Everyone is able to taste according to their own palate and make up their own minds about what a wine tastes like. Follow some simple tips for wine tasting like a pro:
Hold your glass by the stem: Keeping the glass clean allows you to see the colour clearly. The colour of the wine tells us its age and sometimes the grape type.
Look at the colour of the wine: You can hold the glass against a white background like a wall or piece of paper. Swirl the wine around in the glass and make up your mind about what shade of white, red or rose you can see. The older the wine, the darker it becomes if it is white. Red wines become lighter and pinker as they age.
Smell the wine: Most wines have a grapey smell. Fruity aromas are considered primary notes on a wine. As the wine develops and hints of oak or age creep in we refer to these secondary smells as bouquet.
Taste the wine: This is the fun part. If you're trying to guess what the wine is, or if you like it, take the time to swirl it around in your mouth or let it linger on your palate. You sense sweetness on the front of your tongue, acidity towards the back of your palate and dryness such as tannins on your gums. Fruit flavours often sit in the middle palate and alcohol is sensed by the warmth of the wine as it is absorbed.
Swallow or spit: If you are driving to many wineries, you will notice that it is perfectly normal for wine people to expel the wine in their mouths once or twice so as not to swallow too much of it. This allows wine judges and tasters to be able to write tasting notes in a clear and concise manner. It's not always easy to do, but worth trying in the privacy of your own home.
The best part about learning to taste wine is all the research you have to do. A simple form of training your nose and palate to recognise the wines you like, is to immerse yourself in smells. Pick up fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables and smell them when you are shopping. Use your nose to tell you what is in the glass.
This article is from the new edition of Red Series magazine.
The Red Series celebrates Western Victoria's top winemakers and gives wine lovers an opportunity to try their top drops on July 27, between 1pm and 6pm at The Mining Exchange in Lydiard Street, Ballarat.
To read the entire magazine online, click here.