Why & How to Swirl Wine
Thursday February 2, 2023 Author: Gabriel Categories: Gabriel's Corner, Wine Facts, Wine Products
Swirling wine is more than just a showy gesture often seen in movies and fancy restaurants. It serves a number of important purposes that enhance the overall wine-drinking experience.
First and foremost, swirling wine adds oxygen to the wine, releasing hundreds of aroma compounds that enrich the smell and taste of the wine. This is particularly important for red wines, which tend to have more complex aromas and flavors due to their extended time in oak barrels. Swirling the wine allows those aromas to be more fully expressed, enhancing the overall tasting experience.
Swirling wine also has the added benefit of clearing out any unpleasant smells, such as sulfides and sulfites, which can be common in wine. By swirling the wine, these odors are allowed to dissipate, resulting in a more pleasant and enjoyable wine-drinking experience.
In addition to enhancing the smell and taste of the wine, swirling also allows for a better understanding of the wine visually. By swirling the wine, the “legs” or “tears” are exposed, which can give clues about the wine’s body and viscosity. The viscosity of a wine is determined by the amount of alcohol and sugar present, with higher alcohol and sugar levels resulting in a thicker, more viscous wine. A wine’s viscosity can be an indicator of its flavor and mouthfeel, with thicker, more viscous wines often having a fuller body and a richer, more intense flavor.
Swirling wine also allows for a better appreciation of its color. A wine’s color can provide clues about its age, grape variety, and the conditions under which it was grown. For example, a young red wine will often have a brighter, more vibrant color, while an older red wine may have a more muted or brick-like color. Similarly, a white wine’s color can range from pale straw to golden yellow, depending on the grape variety and aging process.
So, how do you properly swirl wine? There are a few different techniques to choose from, but the two most common are either leaving the wine glass firmly planted on the table and making circles with the base, or picking up the wine glass and ever-so-slightly flicking your wrist to make small circles in the air. Both methods work well, and it really comes down to personal preference. Just be sure to choose a wide wine glass, as this allows for more exposure to oxygen and allows for a more thorough swirling experience.
It’s also worth noting that a sommelier will often only pour a small amount of wine in your glass for the first taste. This is not just to be stingy, but rather to provide maximum exposure to oxygen, which allows the wine’s aromas and flavors to fully develop.In the end, swirling wine is all about having fun and enhancing the overall wine-drinking experience. So, go ahead and give it a try, and see how it enhances your appreciation of the wine you are drinking. Find a local BYOW restaurant to practice swirling your favorite wine by simply downloading the CorkageFee app now!