If you’re studying abroad in Italy, wine tastings are a no-brainer. Some of the world’s most famous wines like Chianti Classico and Montepulciano come from Tuscany, a convenient hour’s drive away from Florence or Rome. Not only are wine tastings a great way to relax under the Tuscan sun (see what we did there), but they’re the best way to perfect your wine jargon. If you don’t return to the states discussing the “legs” on a wine and how “oaky” it tastes, did you even study abroad in Italy? Calling all wanna-be wine connoisseurs, this is what you have to look forward to learning:
How to hold the wine glass:
You better believe this is important, so read up! The most accepted way to hold a glass is as follows: wrap your index finger at the very bottom of the stem so it’s resting on the foot of the glass, press your thumb against the stem, and rest your other three fingers below the foot of the glass. Feel free to make minor adjustments until you’re comfortable, but generally you should look like you’re giving a very lazy thumbs-up.
How to not hold the wine glass:
Want to know how to look ridiculous during your wine tasting? Go ahead and hold the glass by the bowl! When visiting a winery, the wines have typically been stored at the precise temperature for ideal tastings, so not only will you get your fingerprints all over the glass, but you’ll also heat up the wine pretty damn quickly. Not to mention you look like you’re trying to be pretentious, and it’s not a good look.
What to do before you drink:
There’s so much you can tell about a wine before you even take that first sip! First, give that glass a spin and watch the wine trickle back down the bowl (this is what people mean when they say “legs” or “tears” of a wine). The slower it goes, the more alcohol it has. Spinning the glass also lets all the aromas out, so take a sniff and discover all the subtle flavors in the wine that you would have missed otherwise!
How to actually taste the wine:
This shouldn’t surprise you, but there is a way you’re supposed to actually taste the wine. Take a tiny sip and swish the wine around in your mouth for a few seconds so it touches your lips, gums, and the tip of your tongue. You might feel really silly doing this, but you get an explosion of flavor that you’ll need to experience to believe!
What wines pair with which foods:
The best wineries in Tuscany give you a plate of meats, cheeses, breads, olive oils, and honeys to go with your wine. They’ll look delicious and at 6 glasses of wine in, you’ll be tempted to devour it, but this is not an afternoon snack! Wine tasting is an art, and these foods are the colors on your pallet. Pair each wine with each thing on your plate and see for yourself what goes best with what.