West Australia Diary 6 August 2002

I got drunk the posh way today. I treated myself to a wine appreciation cruise up the Swan river to Sandalford winery. We started the very serious business of appreciating the wines, after a preliminary cup of tea, at ten in the morning. We cruised up to the vinyard in a boat that was decked out like a very nice living room, complete with armchairs and tables. We toured the vinyard and learnt a little of how the wine is made before being treated to a 3 course lunch (with wine of course) and some after dinner port tastings. We all had a nice little snooze on the way back in the coach!

So, in antempt to prove that my money wasn't wasted and in an effort to spread my new found knowledge, I present the "bluffer's guide to wine tasting". Feel free to use it at any potentially embarrassing occasion, when asked to 'taste' the wine at a restaurant, at a formal tasting, or just down the pub...

  1. Holding the glass by the stem, tilt it to about 45deg and look through it (hold something white behind, the menu, a napkin, or a copy of the business section of the Times)
    hint: if it's white wine, and it's cloudy, don't drink it as there's something wrong with it.
  2. Sniff the wine
    If it smells of wet dog, it's 'corked' and no good. Send it back.
  3. Gently shake the glass to make the wine spin around in the glass (it's helpful not to have too much in the glass, or to shake to hard as you'll end up soaking everyone in a 2 metre radius). You can shake the glass on the table, or in the air, it doesn't really matter - just don't spill it! You want to aggitate the wine this way for a good 10-15 seconds. Sniff the wine again.
    Hint: grunting, or going 'hmm' at this stage is a good bonus if you like.
  4. Taste the wine.
  5. Put the glass down, then pick it up and taste the wine again. Really slosh it around your mouth like mouthwash (just don't gargle).
    Hint: If it tastes like wine then it's probably ok!

You can talk about the 'nose', 'body' and 'legs' if you like, adding any sort of bizarre smells that you can think of, the wilder the better. Try, citrus, organic, engine oil, kerosene, oak, fresh grass as some examples to get you started. Enjoy!

To tomorrow

Created by Dan Leigh 07/08/02