You don’t need to train your palate to enjoy a wine tasting – at UMAMU Estate, we believe it’s about opening yourself up to a conversation with the elements. Here are 5 tips to start having a deeper conversation with your wine.
We also share an interview with Alex Haslam, wine club School of Psychology, University of Queensland.
UMAMU Estate principal, Charmaine Saw
The conversation starts as soon as you open the bottle
I love starting a conversation and tasting the wine as soon as a bottle is opened.
I do this especially with first growths.
I taste it and I then decide how the wine is and if it needs time to breathe – when it will be at its best to be enjoyed. This also depends how many people are going to enjoy the bottle – just you, or two of you, or eight of you.
If there are eight of you, then you will each get a glass so you want that window of drinking to be the perfect window, cos you only have a smaller window of opportunity to enjoy the wine.
While if it is two of you, you can afford to have a longer conversation – longer than an elevator pitch, so to speak.
So, typically, ideally, you open a wine, you taste it, it starts to chat with you, you taste the wine and get to understand its traits. Then as the wine breathes, its personality evolves and talks to you more.
And just like you get to know a new friend after a few catch ups, it's the same with wine: as you taste it and taste it, you learn and discover new nuances about the wine.
This is what makes wine so interesting for me.
Many people believe they need to decant a first growth and let it breathe – for me I like to taste it as soon as it is opened (but note before I open it, I already have an idea of the wine producer, the year/ vintage the wine was produced so I know the background ‘DNA’ of the wine) – then once I taste it, I decide what is the best I can do to enjoy the wine.
And for UMAMU wines, I do the same particularly with our older museum reds that have had more time to develop character.
A vertical tasting is a superb way to explore and develop your wine palate – view our Chardonnay vertical tasting 6-bottle pack here.
The most important factor is whether you like it or not
Ultimately, wine tasting and drinking is very personal.
The most important factor is whether you like it or not. Our palates all evolve as we expose and drink different wines and drink for more years!
For me, I don’t do so well with a wine that ‘screams’ at me or is right in my face. I am better with a balanced wine that is gentle and elegant. And that is why we produce from Margaret
River where the weather is not so hot so the wines don’t ripen quickly from hot temperature with high levels of alcohol, but have time to ripen with character and calmer alcohol levels and have the propensity to be elegant.
For me, I open a bottle of UMAMU and drink a couple of glasses then pop it back in the fridge (if you have a vacuum seal all the better), and continue like this for 2-3 days.
I also drink a red in parallel. So we get to hold a conversation with a white and red for 2-3 days. UMAMU Estate wines have the acidity and character to hold up like this.
5 tips to start having a deeper conversation with your wine
Many wine drinkers that I have met are not confident in their palates and wine tasting and I quickly reassure them that all that matters is fundamentally whether you like the wine or not. The rest can come later.
Wine is so personal, and enjoyment is little more than understanding what you like.
This is where the idea of having a conversation with wine can come in handy. But what does it mean exactly?
Think about these 5 tips next time you open a bottle, and take note of how different your experience is when you place importance on your own reactions – rather than the wine’s tasting notes – to determine the quality of your conversation.
- How does the wine make you feel when you take the first sip? Is it warm and inviting?
- Is the wine one dimensional or interesting with bags of character? With each sip you can taste more?
- Is the wine rich and intense or delicate and refined? What do you prefer?
- What words would you use to describe the wine as if it were a friend?
- Is it embracing and enveloping you or quite distant and not approachable?
Here is the interview with Alex Haslam, wine club, School of Psychology, University of Queensland.