What exactly is wine? In the simplest terms, wine is grape juice fermented with yeast. However, the process for making wine is inherently complex. Wine can be fermented with its skins, stems and seeds. It can be aged in barrels or tanks. It can be clarified and filtered before it is bottled. It can be aged for years or decades, or it can be consumed right away.
To get the most out of your wine-tasting experience, consider the following tips:
1. Bring a wine-tasting sheet or notebook. The “Wine Tasting Notebook” by Steve De Long is a handy and useful guide. It covers basic wine terminology and includes a section where you can take notes while sampling.
2. Examine the wine, noting its clarity and color. Swirl the glass several times, allowing the wine to breathe. Smell the wine and try to identify different scents. Finally, taste the wine, taking note of the feeling in your mouth before you swallow.
3. Don’t offer your opinion until others have sampled the wine. This gives everyone the chance to make their own judgment before discussion begins.
4. Enjoy yourself. Whether you’re a beginner or have thoughts of someday serving as a sommelier, drinking wine should be fun. The more wine you taste, the more developed your palate will become and the easier it will be for you to determine which wines you love and why.
In Mount Pleasant, Crushed Fine Wine in Shelmore Village is among the many stores offering wine tasting. Owned and operated by Desmond and Betsy Garrity, Crushed Fine Wine is charming with a relaxed vibe.
The wines, from smaller, independent producers and importing companies, are arranged by flavor profile rather than by variety or region. The wines are of greater quality than those found in most grocery stores, but they are affordably priced.
Desmond has the extensive background to offer his customers a quality wine-purchasing experience. He worked with Maverick Southern Kitchens for 10 years as a beverage coordinator and as a sommelier for four years at Charleston Place. He recommends bottles based on customers’ events and food pairings and prides himself on supplying excellent wines that are off the beaten path, many of them in the $10 to $15 price range.
Wine tastings at Crushed Fine Wine are held every Friday evening, and often a representative from an importing company or distributor attends. Each tasting has a theme, either by country, region or winemaker, and reservations are not necessary. Private in-store tasting parties are available for six or more people. Several other stores in Mount Pleasant hold scheduled tastings or will arrange them.
Wine tastings provide a great way to meet new people and expand your knowledge of the ever-intriguing fruit of the vine. They can be lots of fun as well.By Christina Orso