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The Correct Way to Present, Taste and Choose a Wine

August 15, 2012 Le Cordon Bleu Portland 0 Comments

The Correct Way to Present, Taste and Choose a Wine

Whether picking out a wine to serve at home or choosing a glass from a restaurant menu , amidst the Oregon culinary scene the selection can sometimes be a little intimidating if not completely overwhelming. We all know that certain wines go better with different foods but knowing how to make the correct pairings takes a little knowledge and practice. There is nothing worse than committing to a bottle only to discover you’ve picked a mediocre wine. Knowing a few basics about the varieties available and how to read their labels can make all the difference the next time you need to purchase wine for yourself or as a gift.

Varieties of Wine
While there are many types of wine available for you to choose from, the main two varieties are white and red. While all wine is made from grapes, red wine is made from the juice, skin, seeds and stems of black and red grapes. White wine can be made from any color grape but only the clear juice is used. While there is a great range of flavor and quality in the subsets of white and red wines a good rule of thumb when making a decision is to keep in mind that red wines are going to be heavier and more full bodied whereas white wine tend to be lighter and sweeter. Red wines tend to pair best with hearty or rich foods where as foods with delicate flavors are usually best served with a white wine.

Reading the Label
As you begin acquainting yourself with different varieties of wine pay close attention to the labels on each bottle as they are full of helpful information. From a glance at the label you will be able to determine the variety of wine, the region and vineyard of origin, the year it was produced and often times its rating as well. In general a rating of 90 and higher is a good quality wine and it is best to avoid anything under an 80. While it will take a while to determine what wine best suit your pallet keep in mind that wine varies a great deal in sweetness and the sooner you find out whether you prefer sweet or dry wines the easier it will be narrowing down a selection. While France has always been known as a producer of amazing wines, Italy, America, Australia and South America all produce fantastic selections as well so be sure to sample wines from a number of regions to decide which you prefer.

Presenting and Tasting a Bottle of Wine
Once you have arrived home with your bottle of wine there are still a few steps that should be taken to sample its flavors properly. The typical procedure at culinary events is to remove the foil and cork from the bottle and then allow the wine to breathe for a minimum of 15 minutes to an hour. By exposing your wine to the surrounding air the aromas will open up and the flavors will mellow and become more well rounded. To truly enjoy your selection you will also want to use the appropriate stemware. For red wines pick a glass that has a large bowl and a wide opening this will allow more air to reach your wine and will allow you to savor its aroma while drinking. While stemless glassware has become popular keep in mind that the contact with your hands may cause red wine to become too warm. For white wines pick a glass with a narrower bowl and smaller opening this will help keep your wine cooler and will compliment the more subtle aromas.

Learning about wine should be approached with a sense of fun and adventure. While there will be missteps along the way, take them in stride even a bad bottle of wine can be viewed as a good learning experience. If you are looking for a starting point be on the lookout for any wine tasting culinary events in your area these are a great place to hear what the experts have to say while enjoying food and wine from the Oregon culinary world.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in Portland, Oregon. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Portland for more information. 

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures.  
Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.


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