Sam Pillsbury: Treat Your Wine Tasting Room with Respect
A comment overheard recently:
'If it looks like a Bar, sounds like a Bar, it is a Bar.'
It's hard enough to grow and plant wine grapes in Arizona, or anywhere for that matter, and fortunately this is not a majority opinion, but I beg to differ.
Let me explain about the gap between these two statements above...
There are people who described a certain painting as made by a dog vomiting on a piece of canvas.
I think it was a Jackson Pollock.
I pour wine for people who have spent a lot of time in a bar: they clutch the crystal stemmed wine glass by the bowl, chuck the fluid down their throats, sigh and declare their opinion. It's called 'chug.'
A bar is a place where you go to drink. Ok...socialize, eat, listen to music, pick someone up...I'm not knocking bars. But there is a big difference.
You basically go to a place to drink a canned beer or a whisky made by someone else from somewhere else, the stuff arrives in a big truck, which then takes the money back away to somewhere else. And the state gets a nice chunk of that change. That's pretty much an end to it.
A place where you can try locally grown and made wine is another story.
You can chug a bad wine. In fact, you have to. But if it's a good wine, you'll be missing out on sensual pleasure.
Hence, 'Madam, you're missing out...'
Here's what I like to tell her...
Hold the glass by the stem. This is so you don't warm the wine. Now hold it up to the light...that's because sight is 100% of your initial pleasure. That's why restaurants arrange your food on the plate. It's also why you buy a car, but that's another story...it goes away once you taste, but it's a good way to start...anyway, the wine can be hypnotically, magically luminous, the light dancing through the liquid...it might even give you goose bumps. Enjoy this moment...
Now swirl. More beautiful still, the luminosity, but now you can start to get the aroma. Many great wines exude an intoxicating aroma from the pull of the cork, but this really turbocharges it.
Keep swirling...the light is really dancing in that glass now. Now raise the glass to your nose. The tulip shape of the glass focuses the aroma of the wine to your nose, and the swirl has exposed much more of the surface area of the wine to the air, where the natural elements of the wine, especially the alcohol, release the wine's aromas.
Do it once more. Inhale deeply. Now sip.
Eighty-five percent of taste is smell. So you can immerse yourself in this first tiny sip of a good wine and really wallow in it.