Impress your friends - Instant Wine Buff
Did you know - Your taste buds detect only 4 basic flavours - sweet, salti, bitter and acidity. Probably, the most important piece of your armoury when it comes to tasting is... your nose. It is your nose that can tell the difference between the myriad of aromas and flavours. Imagine how things taste when you are bunged up with a bad cold. Go on, hold your nose and taste something, then do it without the awkward pinch. Now you can impress your friends, become an instant buff by studying the beginners guide and seeing if you agree with our description.
Common wine phrases explained
Dry, medium or sweet - These terms describe the degree of sweetness of a wine, from bone dry to luscious and honeyed.
Aromatic - floral or perfumed
Elegant - pure class and style, Le Petit Chat white certainly fits the bill
Full-bodied - A red wine packed with rich, full flavours
Mellow - easy drinking, no harsh flavours - think Le Petit Chat red
Acidity - Without the right level of acidity the wine will not compliment the food but will merely taste flat and bland.
Smooth - A term which usually applies to both reds and whites, where there is a very good balance of flavours and the 'acidity' is at just the right level.
Wine tasting in 3 easy steps
1) Eyes left - Hold the glass up to the light and assess the colour of the wine - pale whites are normally from cooler climates whereas deeper golden colours may indicate a warmer climate or that the wine has been in an oak barrel. Similarly with reds, a deeper colour will indicate that the wine is heavier, richer and probably (but not always) has more of an alcohol twist than a pale one.
2) Hooters at the ready - Put your nose in the glass and take a reasonably big sniff. At this point, it's all down to you. You will smell things that remind you of aromas you have already come across be it different fruits, flowers, saddles (erm...) in other surroundings, so this is where the fun starts.
3) Open wide - Take a 'good sized' sip, roll the wine around in your mouth so it reaches all your taste buds, give it a chew if you like. If you can suck in a little air at the same time over your palate, this will release more aromas that go up the back of your nasal passage. Swallow or spit out or swallow...and smile.
Finally ask yourself some questions
Is it dry? Is it sweet? Does it make your mouth water? This indicates higher acidity levels. Do you feel a furry dryness? This is tannin, found in red wines. And far more important than anything else here... do you like it?
But as always, don't be fazed, don't feel stumped... just enjoy.
If you are entertaining..
Get your ducks (well, cats) in a row by making sure you have enough wine for your guests, as a rough guide, one 750ml bottle provides 6 x 125ml glasses.
Always remember to drink responsibly.
Make sure your wine is at its ideal temperature before serving. Chill white and rosé wines but they shouldn't be too cold. One hour in the fridge door is 'purr-fect'. Let red wines warm up to room temperature gradually. Le Petit Chat Red can also benefit from being poured into a decanter, carafe or even a jug to allow the air to work its magic and the aroma and flavour to fully open up. Imagine if you had been bottled up with a cork or screw cap for some time - you'd need a stretch!
Have a sneaky taste of the wine
That way you can make sure it's as you expect it and is at the right temperature.
Not quite finished?
If you have an unfinished bottle, replace the cork or screw cap (which our experienced winemakers think are great) and put it back in the fridge. Yes, even the red, it's ok to refrigerate opened reds to keep them fresh, just take it out to warm up before serving next time. This way, wines should keep nice and tasty for 3 days or so. Store in a cool (10-14C) place. Keep away from strong light, smells or very hot and cold temperatures. Big changes in temperature cause the most damage, so not in that ready made wine rack next to the cooker. Some wines can improve with age, however not all wines improve on keeping - whites are best drunk young, as are roses, though reds can be a different beast altogether. We make the Le Petit Chat range to be drunk as soon as you get home if you wish, or within a few months at least.