Which Winery

Basic Tools to Wine Tasting

by Christie Kiley

For each passion or craft, to begin properly, to dive on in, you need the proper tools.  If you are new to wine, or even if you are not, there are certain things one must possess in order to educate your palate, to properly enjoy the wine and as you will soon see – even gain access to it.  I am not much of a gadget girl myself and just need the basics; these, my friends, are the things any wine lover, novice or connoisseur will ever need. 

Wine Glasses…

So this may be a ‘duh’ moment, but I mean it.  I am not talking about those chintzy glasses you might have delivered to your table at some local semi-Italian restaurant when you order up a house red.  On the flip side, you do not have to buy the best crystal; rather, you just need the proper glasses for the right wine: large bowl red wine glasses and the smaller versions for whites.  And do not forget about your champagne flutes!  There is a reason they are ‘fluted’ and made for sparkling.  Have you ever tried drinking a sparkling from a regular wine glass?  You put your mouth to it, inhale the carbon dioxide emanating from the bubbles on the surface of your drink and it is as if you just burped through your nose with a soda.  Very uncomfortable!  This is because your nose goes right in the glass when you have your first sip; flutes prevent this.  You do not need a lot of wine glasses of each style, but do plan for breakage.

A decanter…

This is a simple tool as well.  There is no need to get fancy, just get a basic wide-bottomed standard size decanter.  If you are new to wine, chances are you are not drinking any finely-aged wine that needs a filtering screen and such.  However, if you like big, young red wines, then you will need a decanter to aerate your wine and soften those tannins.  Side note:  it is rare you will need to decant white wines.  These things are tricky to clean, so get yourself the decanter cleaning brush.


A cork screw…

These come in so many shapes and forms and are made of so many materials, it is mind-boggling.  Remember this: all you need is a classic cork screw.  I like to call it a ‘wine key’.  The little fold-out knife is best if it has a serrated edge to cut in to the foil of the bottles without having to pass over it multiple times.  The corkscrew itself is pretty standard, but I particularly like the levers to have a double resting point with a little hinge.  This comes in handy for those wines with long corks.  They will come out nicely without any breakage.

A double-pronged cork screw…

Some of you may or may not know what this is; however, they come in handy at times.  They are pretty simple really and have a looped handle at the end with two flat prongs set across from one another.  Case in point from something mentioned above; cork breakage.  If the cork somehow breaks from being old or dry, it is difficult to thread the corkscrew into the cork to try and slowly inch it out without getting cork debris in the wine.  The double prong wine key allows you to slip each prong into the bottle down the sides of the cork.  It works by simply using the pressure of the sides of the neck in the bottle to wedge the cork out and voila!

And that is it folks.  You do not need a lot to get into wine or to impress your friends.  No gadgets, just simple tools.






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