The Akumalian

Akumal's Newsletter for its Extended Global Community
Quintana Roo, Mexico

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Wine Tasting

Lol Ha Beach Bar - July 24th

You are cordially invited to participate in a Wine Tasting this Friday, July 24, at the Lol-Ha Beach Bar between 6:30 and 7:30.  The main objectives are:

  • ·         Have a good time

  • ·         Learn about a variety of wines from different countries and regions

  • ·         Help Lol-Ha establish an updated by-the-glass wine list for High Season, based on what you like.

 Andres Somellera Ramirez, Gerente Alimentos y Bebidas, Hotel Akumal Caribe "LOL-HA" is co-coordinating this “Event”, and he has invited four wine companies/distributors to be there with their wines and informative discussions.  The four are:

  • ·         World of Wines

  • ·         Aconcagua del Caribe

  • ·         Grupo Estilmar

  • ·         Vinos Cabasol

While the details on the exact wines are not available at this time, there will be red and white wines from Argentina, Chile, France, and Mexico.

The varietals to taste, include:

  • White Varietals: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc,  Pinot Grigio, etc.

  • Red Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and  Merlot,

Andres will also provide an ample supply of cheese and fruit to compliment the various wines.  And, the Blues & Jazz Band should be providing some soft, light jazz as background music.

 And, please be advised that there is NO COST to be a part of this “Event”.

Getting Started with Wine Tasting & Appreciation
The point of wine tasting is simply to find wines that you will thoroughly enjoy.  There's no right and wrong when it comes to wine tasting.  That said, there are some basic tips that will help you evaluate a new wine to see if it suits your taste.

Start with a clear wine glass.  The rim of the glass should bend inwards to help funnel aromas to the nose, and allow you to swirl without spilling.  Now pour a little wine into your glass. An inch or less is best.  If you are tasting several wines, begin with the lightest (sparkling wines, roses, then light whites followed by full-bodied whites) and progress to the heaviest (light reds to more full-bodied reds followed by dessert wines).  This will help keep your taste buds more sensitive so you can better appreciate each wine in the series.  A sip of water between wines can also help preserve your palate.

Notice the color of the wine. It often helps to hold the glass up to light or hold it against a white background, like a white napkin.

Color can give you a clue as to the age of the wine.  White wines generally gain color as they age. Red wines lose color.  That is, young red wines are more red or burgundy while older wines tend to show a hint of tawny brown around the rim.

Regardless of age, the colors of wine are just fun to see, ranging from pale yellow-green to ruby red to brick red-brown.

Swirl the wine a couple of times by moving the glass in a circular motion. Holding the glass by its stem, instead of the bowl, makes this easier. Hold it in your hand or keep it on a surface, whichever is easier.  Swirling is done to aerate the wine and release vapors, evaporating from the sides of the glass for you to smell.

Then put your nose right over the rim of the wine glass and breathe in.  Since most of a wine's charm is actually in its smell, rather than its taste, this is important.

Most wines have characteristic aromas of the grapes they are made from, i.e. Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, etc.  The more experience you gain with different wine varietals, the easier it will be to detect and identify characteristic wine aromas and bouquet.

For starters, your nose will tell you if the wine is pleasing to you and you may sense hints of vanilla, berries, peaches, or even grassy or smokey aromas.  Every wine is different and this is all part of the fun of wine appreciation.

Now it's time to take a sip.  Not a gulp, just a sip that fills your mouth maybe halfway. Before you swallow, let the wine slide across your tongue from front to back and side to side. Notice as many sensations as you can.

You'll notice many things about the wine.  How sweet is it?  How acidic is it?  If it is a red wine, do you notice the tannins?  Is it a light, medium or full-bodied wine?  How strong is the alcohol?  How fruity is it and do you notice other varietal characteristics?  How silky or rough does the wine feel?  Finally, does the wine feel "balanced" or does one element overpower the others? See more tips below on evaluating wine "taste".

 Swallow a small amount if you wish to note any lingering "finish". But if you are tasting a number of wines -- in a winery tasting room, for example -- your host will usually provide a vessel for you to spit out the wine instead of swallowing. (It is not rude.)

The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that a good wine should always give pleasure. It should smell good, taste even better, and be smooth and satisfying by itself or with whatever you're eating.

Wine tasting is harder to describe than it is to do . We suggest just tasting as many different wines as possible. Taste, experience, remember, and above all, enjoy!

What About Tasting Notes?
Tasting notes can be fun.  Wine tasting journals are available to jot down tasting notes. Tasting notes will help you remember your likes and dislikes over time. They can also be helpful in learning how to describe the sensations you're feeling. Over time, you can even develop your own tasting vocabulary.

A wine journal can also be useful to track how a wine is developing, for example, if you buy a case of a particular wine and open a bottle periodically every six months or every year. Wine journals make terrific gifts for wine lovers.

 Wine Vocabulary
Learning to taste wine is all about learning a new vocabulary that relates to wine. Listed below are some of the words experienced wine drinkers use.

Words for Aromas and Flavors
Full – Light
Assertive – Subdued
Fruity – Vegetable
Mineral – Woody

Words for Body or Weight
Big, Full or Robust
Light or Delicate

Words for Taste
Tart or acidic

Words for Textures
Crisp, Sharp
Smooth, Buttery
Oily, Round

After you become better at describing the tastes and smells you perceive, you will find that your mind will concoct all types of words to describe your unique wine sensations.  Feel free to invent words!


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