We Australians certainly love a good wine. On average, we individually consume about 21.1 litres of wine a year including local and imported varieties, well ahead of our other English speaking counterparts, including the US and the UK. Meanwhile, we are the world’s fourth largest exporters of wine with South Australia being the most active wine producing state.
So when it comes to our Pinot Noirs, Shirazes, Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs, how do we pick that exquisite and perfectly aged drop? Here are some great wine tasting tips for the amateur connoisseur:
Pick the right glass – different glasses are made for different wines in order to emphasise the desired properties. For example, red wine glasses have rounder, wider bowls in order to increase the rate of oxidization or to let the wine breathe. Meanwhile, white wine varieties are quite varied from narrow champagne flutes to wider shallow glasses used for sipping Chardonnay. Generally, because white wine tends to be crisper and served chilled, oxidization is less ideal, so white wine glasses have a smaller bowl and a more tapered shape.
Stop and Smell – our sense of smell and taste are highly interlinked and this is especially true with wine appreciation, where the scent and fragrance of the grape are a quintessential part of the process. You’ll see wine tasters swirling the glass before they a sip; this releases the aromas and allows you to get a good whiff before tasting.
Turn down the heat and keep your cool - Australians overall seem to drink their whites too cold and their reds too warm. A white wine should be served chilled, but not straight from fridge as your tastebuds will be dulled from the cold. While reds should generally be served at room temperature, our hot Australian summers can be too warm for optimum taste. A general rule of thumb for serving wine with dinner is at 20 minutes before serving, take the white wine out and put the red in the fridge.
Match your dish
We hope you can take away some of these great wine appreciation tips. Meanwhile, we invite you to drop into Cambridge Hote which has just launched its new wine menu, including a delectable Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand and a delightful Cabernet Merlot from Coonawara.
Some great varieties include:
2009 essenze Malbourough Sauvignon Blanc – perfect with King Prawns and char grilled vegetables.
2006 Blockers Cabernet Sauvignon – to go with a bold sirloin steak or quail
2007 Gnangara Cabernet Sauvignon – perfect with roast beef or a beef jus
2008 Lillydale Estate Chardonnay – great complement to a delightful salmon dish
2006 Phil Ryan Signature Shiraz – enjoy it with veal or a delicious duck