Thekey el­e­ments.

Halliday - - Basics -

Wine has the build­ing blocks of sweet­ness, acid­ity, tan­nin and body. Food has fats, pro­tein and starch, and ba­sic tastes such as salty, sweet, bit­ter, acidic and umami or ‘savoury’. First, you need to for­get the tra­di­tional tast­ing note and put aside words like ‘ap­pear­ance’. Let’s face it, if half the wine avail­able to­day were judged by their looks (think skin con­tact and

‘or­ange’ wines that aren't al­ways clear) they would be turned away im­me­di­ately. When tast­ing wine, take three of the four key com­po­nents – sweet­ness, tan­nin and acid­ity – and start to mea­sure their in­ten­sity. Do this out of 10, with 0 be­ing un­de­tectable and 10 be­ing un­drink­able. Next, con­tinue to dis­con­nect from flavour and aroma by fo­cus­ing on tex­ture and taste. This means to stop look­ing for wet stones and crushed ants, and pay at­ten­tion to the way the wine feels in your mouth. This is the fourth com­po­nent, which is weight or ‘body’. Mea­sure this in in­cre­ments of light, medium and full. At this point, what you have is a clear and suc­cinct set of words to de­scribe wine as well as a tan­gi­ble con­nec­tion to food. This should kick-start a three­stage mind­set. First, a big part of your early wine ed­u­ca­tion is learn­ing what you like and why. The sec­ond is how to com­mu­ni­cate this con­fi­dently and clearly when pur­chas­ing wine. Fi­nally, it’s al­low­ing the way you live to in­form your wine de­ci­sions.

Chang­ing up the tra­di­tional frame­work and equip­ping your­self with a lan­guage that re­flects your taste and life­style is the most in­dis­pens­able tool you can take with you on your jour­ney in wine.

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