Paula’s Wines of the Week – 05 October 2020

Paula’s Wines of the Week – 05 October 2020

Taste wine like a pro

Swirling wine glasses and sniffing their contents is a sure sign of a wine enthusiast. And when they start slurping the wine rather than just drinking it straight down then you’ve met someone who knows how to taste wine like a pro. But what’s the point of this elaborate show and how do you actually do it?

Swirling and slurping will aerate the wine and this helps to release aromas which you can capture with a short, sharp sniff at the top of the glass. And if the glass is tulip shaped – that is it narrows slightly towards the rim – then it concentrates these precious aromas making it easier to get a nostril full when you sniff and then analyse what these aromas remind you of.

By putting words to these aromas and trying to force your senses to pick up just what it reminds you of (lemons? burnt toast? that aftershave you got last Christmas?) then it makes it a whole lot easier to remember that particular wine, and grape variety, for next time.

Building up a memory bank of aromas and tastes allows you to sort wines into categories, and just as importantly, decide whether you actually like them or not.

Over time the swirl, sniff and the final slurping part gets easier. Practice means the swirl of wine stays in the glass and the sniff looks professional rather than the result of a cold. The slurping is more difficult but is worth mastering as it really brings out the full array of flavours in a wine – many you didn’t know were there until you get the hang of pursing the lips and sucking in air at the same time.

Paula’s Wine Reviews from

Tesco Soave 2018
£4.35 Tesco
3 star rating
Subtle and quaffable but the light lemon and crisp apple flavours are a bit watery.

Finca Traversa Uruguay Tannat Merlot 2019
£8 Co-op
3 star rating
This wine is worth seeking out if only for the fact it comes from the South American country of Uruguay. And it’s on sale at the Co-op of all places. The flavour is less exciting: cooked plum, blackberry and liquorice. There’s a background of sharp acidity that suggests this wine might be a keeper – so try buying one and keep it for a year or two to see if it improves.

Gruner Veltliner 2019, Austria
£8.50 The Wine Society
4 star rating
This pale yellow troken (dry) Gruner Veltliner is all about tinned pears, lemons and some sharp apple. The slightly tooth removing acidity is tempered with a slight honey flavour and a touch of ham – yes ham! You do occasionally find some meaty flavours in wine and this is one example. A good choice of wine to introduce at a tasting.

Domaine Gayda Flying Solo 2019, Grenache Blanc- Viognier
£8.99 Oxford Wines, £9 JN Wines
This French white blend is fresh and fruity with melon, apples, pineapple and tinned pears. A celery flavour adds some balancing dryness and a nutiness rounds it all off. A nice blend that isn’t the easiest to get hold of but is worth seeking out at independent wine merchants.

The wine rating system uses a maximum of 5 stars:

5 star rating (outstanding – the top rating given by
4 star rating (very good wine)
3 star rating (good wine but over priced)
2 star rating (a disappointing wine)
1 star rating (little to offer)

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© Paula Goddard 2020