Our senses and a great curiosity are the essential tools to start discovering wine and its secrets. When we prepare to taste a wine, there are however a series of precautions that it is always good to take in consideration in order to guarantee that our experience will take place in optimal conditions.
First of all it is necessary to provide our senses with a perfect working environment, that is to avoid anything that could interfere with our perceptions, to alter or diminish them: but let’s take one step at a time.
We could say that sight is the most immediate sense with which we know the reality that surrounds us: "the first glance", you know, is fundamental when you meet someone for the first time, and the same also applies when it comes to getting to know a wine. We will be able to see in detail how and why visual analysis is able to provide us with essential elements for judging a wine, but first of all it is necessary to make sure that we can collect our data correctly.
The environment in which we perform our tasting must first of all be well lit, preferably by natural white light (sunlight). Therefore we should avoid dark or dim places, as well as neon or coloured lights that can significantly alter our perception of colours.
Another essential element is the glass, that is the glass through which we will observe the wine: the glass must be perfectly clean, transparent (so, not coloured) and smooth, without any decoration that may impede a clear and correct view of the content.
If we can count on such small, simple precautions to ensure correct visual analysis, ensuring an optimal environment for the nose requires much more attention.
The general criterion obviously remains that of carrying out our tasting in the absence of environmental interferences, regardless of whether they are pleasant or not. Whether we taste a wine on the edge of a road, in the presence of smog, or engage in tasting near perfumed flowers or aromatic herbs it can equally jeopardize a good result.
By the same principle, it is advisable to taste the wine before approaching the meal, but also to watch out for less visible details!
When we have a tasting we advise our clients not to wear any perfumes or cosmetic products that could, even without our realizing it, interfere with our perception of the bouquet. What could interfere with our tasting abilities should therefore be sought not only in the environment, but also in the way we prepare for tasting. In fact, we ourselves are able to alter our perceptions, and this is most evident when it comes to taste.
Just as for the sense of smell, smoking is certainly one of the factors that can disturb the optimal functionality of our sense of taste, equally important can be the repercussions of some daily activities, from simply brushing our teeth or eating a candy (some components such as menthol cause a temporary alteration of our sense of taste) to having just swallowed very hot or very cold foods or drinks.
Still on the subject of temperature, even that of the wine itself is a crucial element in being able to fully appreciate its characteristics both on the nose and on the palate, capable of enhancing it but also of compromising - almost to the point of eliminating - the aromas.
To accompany our tasting, it is important to choose the most neutral accompaniments possible - like simple plain bread - while if we want to taste the wine we are going to serve at the table it will again be advisable to make a first taste before the meal - leaving the pairing evaluation until later.
What we have illustrated are all precautions through which, very simply, we can prepare ourselves to gain knowledge of a wine in the best possible way. Though numerous, all the elements we mentioned are linked by the relative ease with which it is possible to manage them, thus making it possible for everyone to be able to perform a simply perfect tasting.