TTT&T: How to Get a Good Look

Since I’m trying to keep these segments short, today’s post is simply about how to hold the glass so that you can get a better look at your wine.  Looking at the wine is something a lot of people quickly gloss over.  However, it’s amazing how much information you can gather without even taking a sip, and trust me, it’s well worth taking the extra minute to do a quick check.

The main things that I’m looking for when I check the appearance of a wine are:

  • Clarity, which hints at the age and quality;
  • Rim color, which gives an indication of the wine’s age;
  • Overall color, which helps determine grape variety, age, and quality, as well as create expectations of what’s to come; and
  • Legs, which show the viscosity and, ultimately, how much sugar and alcohol are in the wine.

First, make sure you hold your glass by the stem.  If you’re not used to this, it might be awkward at first, but the heat from your hands can increase the temperature of the wine when you hold the glass by the bowl.  This can be particularly bad when tasting white and rosé wines. 

Then, the best way to examine your wine is to tilt the glass (obviously, this means you shouldn’t fill the glass to the brim when you pour).  It’s best to do this over a white tablecloth or napkin, this way there isn’t anything behind your glass to throw off the color.  After that, you’re ready to start making observations about the wine’s appearance. 

Overall, if you don’t already tilt your glass while checking the appearance of your wine, try it over the next couple of weeks, as I will be discussing what to look for in terms of clarity, color, and legs.  I think you’ll find it’s particularly helpful when trying to differentiate the color around the rim of the wine from the core color of the wine, although it will give you a better view of almost everything you’ll be looking for.   

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