In otherwards I was a bad and I'm a bit hung over today. Hmmm... German Rieslings are just too damn delicious in my opinion and I'm a complete sucker for sweet wines anyway. Lord knows how I did that painting this morning? I fell dead asleep when I got home and missed watercolor class last night :(
After they've let you into the tasting, take a good look around at the scene. A whole lot of chatting goin' on. It doesn't hurt to review your Riesling notes or whatever wine you are tasting before you go. It's always nice to make intelligent conversation with the winemaker or owner pouring, as in:
What grape varieties are in this wine? or What percentage of alcohol or sugar etc? How was the harvest this year? Get ready for the full weather report BTW. The point is, you do not run up to the table, shove your glass in, get a slug and then run off. At least pretend to be interested!
First things first. Go and get a fresh glass. This will be your glass for the event. It's specially sized for that particular wine type. Some events they let you take them home. I have quite a collection of odd sizes... OK, you're at a wine table. Take a look down. There will be a ton of information to help you out. Wine notes or fact sheets on each wine, so you'll know what to expect in terms of flavors, vintage, ratings, etc. Like clip notes, they'll help you out in the conversation area.
Maps are big in the wine world. The chocolate world needs maps too. Heck! I love maps of anything...You're ready to begin. Start with the left-hand bottle. Usually you'll taste from dry to sweet and there's also a price factor involved. Lesser to more expensive. It's polite to do the whole range rather than rushing to the most expensive wine first thing. It will give you a better picture of that particular vineyard.
With Rieslings, you start with the dry light Kabinett (pronounced like "kitchen cabinet" I was told yesterday :) You'll work through the Spatlese and Auslese, getting to the Eiswein if they have it and you're lucky.
Mind you, this process is repeated and repeated over again. This is where the spit buckets come in and the pitchers of water. If you really want to do justice to a tasting you need to spit like a pro or learn to. A quite famous wine person revealed that she practiced for hours while in the bathtub... The water pitchers are there to clean out your glass between tastings and to cleanse your palate and to keep you vertical!Before you take that first wonderful taste you want to check the color of the wine, usually against the note book they gave you to write your personal wine thoughts in. At least pretend to scribble something, even if you haven't a clue. It'll look good.
Swirl the glass a bit without spilling. Then "nose" the wine to get it's full aromas. Yep, you put the whole nose into the glass, not just a partial sniff puleeze. With Rieslings you can expect crisp green apple, peaches, apricots, all fresh fruit, honey, black pepper aromas, on and on. They're famed for their drinkability = they go well with most cuisines and they're climbing in popularity rapidly. Try a bottle.
Don't forget the nosh at tastings, usually cheesy and fruity things to clear your palate and refresh you and keep you going. If I got anything right here, it's because I took Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World Wine School a number of times. First as a volunteer cracker server. I was not allowed to pour...hmmm... I have a Spanish wine + tapis tasting next week. Hasta luego