Wine Talk

Snooth User: JimD

Still learning about wines

Posted by JimD, Jan 18, 2010.

I attended a wine tasting yesterday where the host winemaker/winery owner told the group that you should never rinse your glass or palate between tastes of different wines.
I had been told some time ago by another wine tasting facilitator that you always should rinse the glass and palate.
Who should I believe?

Replies

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Reply by Gantt Hickman, Jan 18, 2010.

That is interesting. I, too have always been under the impression that you rinse. Hince the art of wining the glass with just a bit of the wine you plan on trying.

Looking forward to hearing how this turns out.

Gantt

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Reply by dmcker, Jan 18, 2010.

Did your winemaker say why? And did he also say not to cleanse your palate with bread or anything else?

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Reply by SillyValley, Jan 18, 2010.

I have been instructed to rinse the glass with wine as well, like Gantt. I do think it is more effective than water, which requires the glass be wiped. Often there is not a cloth or paper napkin for drying the glass after rinsing with water. When I remember, I try to bring a handkerchief to wipe a glass off before I taste. Sometimes they can have sanitizer residue if it is a high trafficked spot - or just be a bit dusty if the tasting is hosted in a rustic location, like a barn.

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Reply by JimD, Jan 18, 2010.

No comments were made about bread.
His comment about rinsing was that it would dilute your next glass of wine

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Reply by amour, Jan 18, 2010.

Just use a fresh glass !!!

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Reply by Gantt Hickman, Jan 18, 2010.

Not always that easy amour. When I have a large casual group at the house for instance; it makes it difficult. I quickly run out of glasses let alone have extra.

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Reply by amour, Jan 18, 2010.

IT REMINDS ME OF A FUNNY JOKE.....
I was at a party in London and MW Hugh Johnson said..."IT DOES NOT MATTER
WHAT YOU DRINK WINE FROM "........

Use mugs !!!!(SMILE)

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Reply by GregT, Jan 18, 2010.

Hi Jim. We're all learning about wines all the time. FWIW, here's my 2 cents.

"Never" rinsing your glass or palate between tastes of wines is advice that is too general and consequently too dumb to be of use. If you taste something really vile, perhaps loaded with acetic acid or bacteria, what are you supposed to do? Savor it?

Alternatively, "fresh" glasses aren't necessarily the answer either. People take a glass out of the cupboard and often as not it has a musty, dusty smell. That doesn't enhance the wine at all IMO. I have a lot of glasses because on occasion I do tastings where I need ten or twelve glasses for everyone, but before people arrive, I actually rinse all of those glasses.

However, the person wasn't necessarily wrong in spirit. If you are tasting wine in a tasting room or some kind of public tasting, they're usually pouring a miniscule amount of wine. If you rinse your glass with water, you almost never get all the water out and that while wouldn't matter in most cases but if they're pouring tiny amounts, you end up with diluted wine. If you wipe the glass out with a cloth or paper, you end up with lint. OTOH, if you don't rinse and they're pouring tiny amounts, you end up with a blend of whatever was in the glass last anyway. In either case, the simple solution is larger pours, or rinsing with the next wine you're going to have.

Also, sometimes water has odors and flavors.

So it's not necessarily important to rinse your glass after every taste, but not necessarily a terrible idea either.

Now regarding rinsing your palate, I just don't get that comment at all. You are naturally rinsing it all the time with saliva. While it doesn't matter in general, if you're trying to evaluate some wines, I think it's important to eliminate the taste of one wine before trying another, because your impression of the wine is going to be affected by the wine you had just before. For that same reason, I think it's stupid to drink white and then red wine if you're evaluating them at a tasting. Much better to do it the other way around, which is what I do when I'm tasting series of wines.

Bread isn't a rinse, it has its own flavors. But a sip of water isn't a bad thing. Eventually you'll figure out what works for you. Personally I pretty much ignore what experts tell me regarding the correct way to taste.

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Jan 18, 2010.

Greg, you think it's better to drink red than white? Care to elaborate?

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Reply by GregT, Jan 19, 2010.

Not at all. Was only saying that if you're tasting a line up of wines at a wine tasting, it's usually more productive to start with reds. Especially if you're at a kind of tasting where you have many producers at different tables. Going thru someone's whites and then reds, then moving on to the next table and going thru those whites and then reds isn't helpful. If I'm at a tasting where I have forty or fifty or more wines to go thru, I generally prefer to taste the reds and then the whites.

At a dinner, you start with a fish course, move to fowl, and then to a meat. So you start with the lighter wines and move heavier. Not the same as a tasting but most people can't get that order out of their heads.

Of course if it's a multi day tasting, then you can just spend a day tasting whites, another on light reds, and another on bigger reds.

I don't think it's better to drink one than the other as a general rule though. I like both.

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Reply by napagirl68, Jan 19, 2010.

Have many friends that work at wineries... before pouring the next wine, they rinse the taster's glass with a smidgen of the next wine. Never water.

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Reply by GregT, Jan 19, 2010.

That's the best. When I'm pouring, if I like the customer, that's what I do too.

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Reply by napagirl68, Jan 19, 2010.

About the bread.. there are some crackers, which, for lack of better term on my part, are very neutral. I suppose it would not be a terrible idea to cleanse the palate with something of this nature, although I wouldn't do it between EVERY taste.

I am always leery of tasting room personnel who want me to pair a wine with a certain cheese or chocolate. Of course we all know there are some wines made for sipping alone, and some explode in flavor when paired with food. I suppose if I were a tasting room manager, I would carefully do SOME sort of pairing, but first offer a taste of the wine alone, unadulterated. I mean, unless you plan on buying the wine, taking it home, and eating a bar of dark chocolate with it????? LOL!! I want to at least taste the POTENTIAL in a wine before worrying about pairings. This comes with experience.

Soooo... I would say, cleansing with a very neutral cracker (made for this purpose) between every 2-3 tastings, or when transitioning to a very different varietal, is not a bad idea.

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Reply by amour, Jan 19, 2010.

One thing is absolutely certain........



CARELESSLY WASHED AND DRIED GLASSES CAN PLAY HAVOC !!!

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Jan 19, 2010.

Greg, that's logical. Your original post had me a bit confused.
Cheers.

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Reply by TasteDC, Jan 21, 2010.

My two bits..rinse with the wine you're about to drink makes sense, but here's an exception - last night at a Bordeaux tasting I organized, we went from a red to a Sauternes, red to dessert - I actually told attendees to rinse the glass with a "little" water, dump it out and take a paper napkin and dry/clean out the glass. 1)People got a kick out of being so involved in the process of a tasting - so they were open to learning, and 2)it just makes sense, dessert wines are so different than dry wines, the two are almost oil and water.

Conclusion: if you have the time and patience, either rinse with the upcoming wine and/or rinse with water AND wipe out the glass with a paper napkin..much ado about nothing by the way, no discussion of the type of glass being used either! Cheers!!


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