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Wine tasting
In case of serving extremely old archived wines, decantation of the wine must be performed because deposits of coloured matters, tannins, wine acid crystals and similar could be formed due to long ageing process of the wine. Thus it is necessary to separate clear wine from a deposit. Decantation i.e., separation of clear wine from a deposit is a very delicate operation where the wine is slowly poured into the vessel for decantation taking care that the deposit remains at the bottom of the bottle. In order to visually observe the deposit in the wine, decantation is usually performed with the candle that is placed in the immediate vicinity of the bottle neck so that a waiter could see the clarity of wine and as long as clear wine is poured decantation is continued. Once cloudiness has been observed, decantation is stopped. During the decantation process, wine is aerated and stronger smells formed during the long ageing process of wine are removed.

RiberauGayon and Peynaud define wine testing as a method to evaluate the wine quality. Wine is subject to the evaluation by our senses, particularly the sense of smell and taste. Testing is looking for different weaknesses of the wine and positive quality characteristics of wine and their identification through description, evaluation and classification. Wine evaluation means the evaluation of the wine appearance (visual evaluation), fragrance and flavour.

Visual evaluation of the wine includes the evaluation of colour, clarity and wine thickness (wine tears).

Olfactory evaluation means the evaluation of the wines fragrance. More than 500 aromatic compounds have been identified in the wine to-date. These fragrances are classified per groups into fruit flavours (black currant, blackberry, raspberry, apple, etc), flower flavours (rose, violet), plant flavours (hay, grass) and the so-called toasted fragrances (roasted coffee smell, roasted almond).

Wine fragrance is felt owing to evaporating components of the wine and thus wine should be tasted twice when evaluating its fragrance. First, wine should be smelt in the glass without rotating the wine in the glass. Fragrance that is felt in this way is evaluated as first nose or the first impression about the fragrance. Second time, the fragrance of the wine that is felt after slowly rotating the wine in the glass represents the so-called second nose or the second impression about the fragrance. (Rotating wine in a glass causes the release of fragrant components of the wine.)

Olfactory impressions include all characteristics that are felt by nose during inhaling air through the nose. Fragrance is often equalled with the flavour, which is wrong. The flavour includes organoleptic evaluation of the wine received by olfactory organ through the rear part of the nose when wine is tasted, i.e., when wine is in the mouth. Therefore, there are two approaches to olfactory mycosis. One is by inhaling air when strength and technique of inhaling are important, shape of a glass and the concentration of fragrant matters above the surface of the wine. This approach is called smelling of the wine. The second approach is directly (nasally) through the rear part of the nose while wine is in the mouth and then we speak about wine flavour.

Receptors that may distinguish four basic flavours: sweet, salty, sour and bitter are located on the tongue in the mouth. When the wine is in the mouth you may also feel stringiness, fullness, softness, carbonization, freshness or warmth. These attributes are used to describe the taste of wine. There is also a post taste of wine. Namely, when the wine is in the mouth, fragrant wine matters may be felt while exhaling since while swallowing nose-pharynx channel gets opened and the air flow carries the fragrant matters to the nose. The longer the post taste lasts, the better is the quality of wine.

Generally, wine testing is expressed in descriptions using a large number of words such as animal, sharp or hard, wooden, heady, wine with (distinctive) body, spicy, balanced, harmonized, flowery, fruit, light, liquer-like, strong, green, full, dry ...

Bouquet is the expression for describing fragrant substances that are developed in the wine during the long ageing process in bottles and it is reserved only for aged other than for young wines.

Matching food and wine is a very important element of the wine culture. Wine is a drink that matches and supplements food best. Wine conquers the appetite, sophisticates and improves the taste of food and contributes to a good mood at table. Wine is the most complex drink that a man has made and it differs from many other drinks because it has specific advantages, in the first place with the variety of colours, contents of sugar and carbon-dioxide. When more than 3500 grape varieties are added to this, as well as the impact of different climate and soil conditions, than it is clear why wine is a drink that is irreplaceable in gastronomy.

Wine contributes to full pleasure when it is chosen with lots of attention and knowledge for each meal (Stevrer R. 1495).

This is definitely the biggest problem requiring a great experience in view of making the right choice of the appropriate wine with the offered food. Since the price of wine is 2 3 times higher than the price of food in restaurants, the failure can be double if the wine is not selected well.

How should one select the right and appropriate wine? There are two ways to do this: to comply with the written rules or to choose the best combination of wine and food on our own. One should bear in mind that the task of the wine is to improve and sophisticate gastronomic experience. Wine must not fully shade the taste of food and food must not make the wine imperceptible.

Written rules are observed by those with less experience and the possibility of making a mistake is thus less.

Sparkling wines are often used as appetizer wines (they dont taste sweet), as well as dry, Porto or vermouth. Young white wine with fruit fragrance, fresh and with moderate alcohol contents may also be used.

White wines are served before red wines. First, younger wines are served, followed by those with fuller taste (thicker) that have aged longer with a developed bouquet. Dry wines are often drank with food, i.e., those that are not sweet.

Different dry white wines are served with fresh meat (chicken, turkey, pork, lamb and most species of fish) depending on fullness, strength, acid contents, aromatic character and the manner food has been prepared.

White dessert wines sweet in taste are recommended for dessert and with blue cheeses recently (cheeses with moulds).

Fresh white cheeses match well with white wines, while semi-hard and hard cheeses match well with different red wines.

Light or stronger (aged) red wines are served with dark meat (veal, lamb, game, duck, goose, etc.).

Fine cognac or old brandy are recommended for serving with black coffee as digestive.

Relying on senses is a more reliable manner to choose wine to match food but it requires a big experience as well. The rule that light meats are combined with white wines was applied in the past when the ideas about food preparation were more homogenous.

However, modern food preparation techniques rely today on wider impacts and thus on selection of wine. If you abide by this method of selecting wine, you should first taste wines and consider their organoleptic characteristics (colour, fragrance, taste, bouquet). After that, food to be served is tasted and then the main activity starts simultaneous matching of food and wine. It is important to match the texture of wine with food and take care that wine shouldnt be just a good supplement to food and not to dominate over food. There was a reason why one French poet said: Food is a need, and art means to know food and drink.