Ask Tessie: What tips do you have for a wine tasting newbie? |

Ask Tessie: What tips do you have for a wine tasting newbie?

Ask Tessie
Tahoe Tessie

Dear Tessie,

I’m headed down to El Dorado County for some wine tasting next weekend, and I don’t want to look like a total newb. Do I swirl it? Do I smell it? Should I spit it out? WHAT DO I DO WITH MY HANDS?! Since you’re such a classy broad, I figured you’d have some tips on how to look and act the part while I’m sipping vino in the Sierra Foothills.


My Wine Normally Comes Out of a Box

If you can use your hands to pick up a glass, place it to your lips, and drink without spilling, you’ll be fine, rookie. But, in the case that you run into some cellar snobs and don’t want to seem out of place, I’ve got your back.

In my not-so-humble opinion, wine tasting really boils down to sight, smell and taste.

Swirling. A light swirl opens it up to oxygen, which helps to unleash the aromas. Yeah, that’s right — I’m the kind of cryptozoological creature that knows the difference between a 1998 Beaurenard Chateauneuf du Pape and a 2000 Pichon Baron.

Don’t be obnoxious with your swirl, though. If you slosh it around like you’re churning butter, then you will look like an idiot.

Smelling. Once the swirl has calmed down, give the wine a smell. Quite simply, if you think it smells good, you’ll probably like it. To look like a real pro, you should stick your whole beak in the glass, breathe in and out like you’re in labor, then come up for air saying something like, “Oh, there’s just the faintest soupçon of asparagus and just a flutter of a nutty Edam cheese.” (“Sideways?” Anyone? Anyone?)

Taste. First, take a microscopic sip of wine and stare off into the distance as if lost in thought. After an uncomfortably long silence, you should exclaim, “This wine is delightful, but hardly compares to the superb small-batch Bordeaux I had while gallivanting across the French countryside last summer.”

As to whether or not to spit out the wine, I say, why the hell would you do that? I mean you’re going wine tasting and that slight buzz after you’ve had a few glasses of vino — plus the air of superiority you are likely feeling for conducting your life in such a classy way — is what it’s all about!

Dear Tessie,

The other day I was out walking my dog on a leash through Rabe Meadows when an aggressive dog came charging at us and proceeded to try and pick a fight with my little angel. The owner didn’t even try and stop it, nor did he apologize. I was so flabbergasted by the whole situation I didn’t say anything to the dog owner. What would you have done in that situation?


No Bad Dogs, Just Bad Owners

I would have just eaten them both.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.