Wine Tasting as an Art

Wine tastings are common wine club events

Wine tasting in St. Helena, CA

If you’re a member of a Napa Valley wine club (and why not?) you may be invited to a wine tasting. If it’s outdoors, plan for the weather, especially this time of year. Dress well but comfortably.

There’s an art even to handling the glass of wine. Hold it by the stem or base, so your hand doesn’t warm it. Try to look at the wine against a white background to assess its clarity and color. White wines get darker with age, while red wines get browner. Put the glass on a flat surface and swirl it very gently to reveal the wine’s body and bring out the aroma. When you smell it, think of what the smell reminds you of — fruit, spice, even wood or leather. There are a number of aroma wheels that serve to categorize the aromas by type and origin. Then taste it, looking for the sweetness of fruit and the bitterness of tannins.

While you’re tasting it, notice the texture and how it feels in your mouth. In wine tasting, these are as much a part of the experience as smell or taste. It should be smooth and affect the whole mouth. After you’ve sipped it, take a good long moment to notice the aftertaste, or finish — this is another important part of the experience. Drink water between wines, to clear the palate. If you find something you like, you might be able to buy a bottle here at a discount.

Wine tasting at a vineyard near St. Helena

Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards in Napa Valley, a 10-minute drive from downtown St. Helena, holds tastings in its barrel caves, where visitors can sample current releases and library wines and learn about the process of making and storing the wine. Cave tastings are $65, but one tasting fee can be waived by joining their wine club or making a $100 purchase. Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards produces world-class wines at affordable prices. The vineyard is a 40-acre estate just south of Howell Mountain, and has been owned and operated by the Anderson family since 1983. Anderson’s wines are sold online and in five locations in Napa Valley, and many other locations nationwide.

One wine you might get to try at an Anderson’s Conn Valley wine tasting is the 2009 Right Bank, a ruby blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot with purple edges. 2009 was a banner year for winemaking in Napa Valley, and the ’09 Right Bank shows it with its aroma of espresso, cedar, blackcurrant and black pepper. This is a full-bodied wine with a rich finish, tasting of ripe black fruit, mocha, chocolate and rounded sweet tannins. Join the Anderson’s Conn Valley wine club today.