Mastering the art of wine tasting

Wine tasting is more of an art that itis used to distinguish the differenttaste of fi ne wines. Just like artistswho dedicate their skills to produce the fi nestart work, wine makers put in the same effortto create a masterpiece that wine enthusiastscan admire, study and enjoy.To the uninitiated, the idea of attending awine tasting can seem bewildering becausewe are used to drinking wines at celebrationsand in relaxed settings, thinking less of learningto get the most out of wine drinking andmore about its inebriating qualities. Winetasters follow some guidelines and rules thatjudge how great a wine is and these techniqueshelp them bring the most out of theirwine.Once the table is set with the differentwines, the fi rst thing to do after pouring thewine in a clear and clean wine glass is to observefor a few minutes the color of the wine.


The observation is that white wines are notwhite but yellow or light brown while the redwines on the other hand are normally darkbrown or pale red.The next step after observing the wine is tosmell it, which is usually in two steps. To getthe general idea of the wine, a brief smell isusually the fi rst step followed by a deep longsmell which allows one to take the fl avor of thewine. “Tilting the wine glass slightly will helpyou get the strongest smell of the wine. Theidea is not to wear a strong smelling colognejust before a wine tasting session as the wine’ssmell may not be detected,” said Lourensford’sInternational sales person, Ronel Bester.The fi nal step is to fi nally taste the wine.


The idea is to take a sip of the wine, swish itaround the mouth and then swallow or spit itout. Swishing the wine around the mouth willallow your taste buds and sense of smell tobring out the unique and fi ne fl avours in thewine. Once the wine is swished around themouth, its rich and bold fl avours will be releasedand the taster can be able to distinguishthe after taste of the wine and its overall fl avor.“Although wine is made to be drank and enjoyed,wine tasting is not about drinking. Theidea is not to fi ll the glass up to the brim butshould be poured up until its widest part,” GilbertMpofu of Fine Brands added. Wine tastingis a bit more than just sipping and swallowing.The essential elements of tasting are easy tolearn and help one to know what kind of winesthey enjoy and identify those that they do notenjoy. Anyone can be a good taster as long asthey indulge fully in both the aroma and tasteof the wine.


WINE REVIEWSThe Kalahari Wine Tasting festival whichtook place last week at Gaborone InternationalConvention Centre has indeed given wine enthusiasts,including myself, an opportunity totaste some of the fi nest wines showcased by13 wine estates. Even though each wine estateoffered different kinds of wines for tasting, Imanaged to review three wines, each with adistinctive taste, which were the talk of thenight for most wine tasters.Solms-astor Cape Jazz ShirazThis is a product of Solms Delta wine estatewhich is a sweetish red sparkler. The winebrings a different twist to celebrations becauseit is refreshing, light, low in alcohol contentand infused with a subtle fruity sweetness. Itis slowly fermented with a touch of wood toretain the high acid which balances the wine’ssweet note and oak chips for a smoother mouthfeel.


“The taste has already won the acclaim ofpundits around the world and recently namedbest sparkling wine on shows. The wine wasawarded a double gold medal in Las Vegas,”said Solms Delta’s wine presenter, SolineLippe de Thoisy.The wine, a product of South Africa, isbottled immediately after the harvest in timefor the annual harvest festival hosted by SolmsDelta. It can pretty much be paired with anyfood, but its best with roasted potato salad anda simple enchilada recipe.Stellenrust Chenin Blanc 2011Another interesting wine I stumbled uponwas Stellenrust’s Chenin Blanc. The wineshows whispers of soft vanilla oak and hasa lingering after taste of grapefruit and zestyacidity. The Chenin Blanc won the best whitewine served on South Africa Airways businessclass and received a trophy for the best woodedChenin Blanc in the world.


It is loved bywine afi cionados because it pairs exceptionallywell with food. It is grounded; savory sideis especially wonderful with poultry and fi sh.The Stellenrust would be lovely with fresh rivertrout topped with almonds and a squeeze oflemon. It is also a natural with poultry and willbring new dimensions to a classic roast chicken.Thanks to its complexity and acidity, theStellenrust is a good partner for aged creamycheeses like Camembert.Lourensford ChardonnayLourensford estate is nestled in the fertilebowl of the Helderberg Mountains and itsChardonnay is another noteworthy wine witha distinctive taste. It feels buttery with freshacidity and mid-palate sweetness. In a clearwine glass it is pale gold with greenish hints.The wine has a fresh tropical aroma and toastiness straight from the bottle. It is best pairedwith plain roast chicken, white fi sh and pastain a creamy sauce or cheese.