Wines and the City

Enhance your wine tasting skills

A bottle never goes empty… it fills with sensations! Enhance your wine tasting skills with a femenine touch.

A person cultured and educated in the senses can obtain endless pleasure from wine

Ernest Hemingway

Wine in the syllabus of Western culture

Why you should learn about wines

Food and drink form part of our culture. Knowing how to choose a wine properly at a business lunch, knowing how to combine it with food to become the best host, seeking out the best wine to give as a gift, being able to classify the wines at a winery… These are just a few of the many reasons why you should take a chance on wine.

The more information you possess, the more you will be able to enjoy wine. It is like a painting: if somebody explains the painter’s pictorial technique, you learn about the painter’s life and you are knowledgeable about the painting’s theme, your appreciation of it will grows fuller and more satisfying. The same is true with wine.

If you understand what type of wine you are drinking, how it is made and its tasting notes, the smell and taste of the wine will be more appealing to your mind. Thus, the need to enhance your wine tasting skills, and here I am to help you in this process!

Identifying sensations and acquiring psychological independence

People often tell friends that they liked a certain wine but are unable to explain exactly why. They just tend to say, “Try it, it’s really good,” but are unable to put what “a good wine” means to them in words. They also experience difficulties when attempting to express what type of wine they want to the friendly shopkeepers at their wine shop.

Many people say they “don’t want it to be too strong,” or “I don’t like it sweet.” But the truth is that the shopkeeper or sommelier does not really understand what you mean! In the language of wine culture, “too strong” could mean that it contains acetic acid (in other words the wine has “gone bad” or turned to vinegar). Or perhaps what people mean by this expression is that they hope to avoid astringent wines with a lot of tannins. “I don’t want it too sweet,” declare certain consumers when ordering white wine.

With most white wines, the sugar in the grape juice, or must, has been converted into alcohol. That is why, more than sweetness in taste, it has sweetness in smell (and in the retronasal notes in the mouth as we shall see further below). A floral wine or one with syrupy notes may be interpreted as sweet by some, even though it contains no residual sugar.

Learn to choose your wine

Knowing how to express what you know is the first step in being able to assign a name to the sensations you enjoy when you find a wine.

Sometimes you can read a long tasting note on a wine label, but then you are unable to find that description reflected in your wine glass. Tasting notes are often designed by marketing experts, and there is no reason why your taste has to match the opinion of specialist critics.

Nobody can tell you what you experience. Only you know this (though speaking about it properly is another matter!), which is why all people’s opinions are valid. However, translating these sensations into words so other people can understand you is a whole different topic…

Try this exercise

Explain why you like your favorite wine as if you were a sommelier. Are you able to explain to the other person all of its aromas and how it felt in your mouth? And most importantly: are you able to make that person feel what excited you about the wine?

This is my way to show you why being a sommelier is not so easy. Thinking about what something smells like and explaining it to others is complex. However, it becomes easier with practice.

Books by Meritxell Falgueras

You can read my books in Spanish and Catalan to enhance your wine tasting skills:

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