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Wine tasting etiquette

Written by Eva Stelzer. Posted in Argentina, Blog, Italy, Sicily, Tuscany, Wine

Wine tasting etiquette. To spit or not to spit?

On a recent walking holiday in Sicily I took a group to the Etna vineyards for a wine tasting adventure. Lava rich soil nourishes the grapes yielding a distinctive – and strong – flavour. Our group of mixed neophyte tasters and experienced oenophiles wanted to know, “Do we spit the wine after tasting or swallow it?”

On a recent walking holiday in Sicily I took a group to the Etna vineyards for a wine tasting adventure. Lava rich soil nourishes the grapes yielding a distinctive – and strong – flavour. Our group of mixed neophyte tasters and experienced oenophiles wanted to know, “Do we spit the wine after tasting or swallow it?”

For all you wine tasters out there, here is what we learned. Yes, there is such a thing as wine tasting etiquette. Like being a gourmet or a gourmand, you can be a sommelier or an alcoholic. The choice is yours.

While wine tasting can be done in the formal setting of a restaurant or special events location. Our Italian wine tastings are done in the informal environment of a vineyard, farm house, or enoteca. That means to taste wines with our group anything goes. You don’t have to be knowledgeable to taste wines on our walking holidays nor will an expert be bored. All levels of connoisseurs will savor the flavors in a different way but at the same time.

SPITTING

You have no doubt heard of spitting out wine after swirling it around in your mouth. Spitting became a practice for professional wine tasters to avoid compromising their clarity of decision-making and evaluating after consuming a volume of wine. I suppose that after 10 glasses it doesn’t really matter what you’re drinking!

It turns out that you don’t need to swallow to get the full taste of a wine. For the amateur taster, both spitting and drinking are acceptable. If you are not spitting, we recommend that you eat enough so that you don’t get drunk.

During our Etna wine tasting, guests decided not to spit since the wine drinking comes at the end of our exhilarating hike up Mount Etna in Sicily. And here’s a glass for you . . . . of perfect Argentinean Malbec. Oops, we are talking about Sicilian wines. No worry. Next topic will be Malbec and I’ll compare them to the Etna reds.

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