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10 tips to get the most out of wine tastings

Tutoni's self-serve wine system offers the perfect chance to test our your wine-tasting skills.

Tutoni's self-serve wine system offers the perfect chance to test our your wine-tasting skills.

When you think of great wine you might imagine the vineyards of California or the exotic grapes of Western Europe. While a trip to these faraway lands might seem impossible, tasting these wines is easier than you think.

“Wine can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be,” says Toni Calderone, co-owner of Tutoni’s Italian restaurant in York, Pa. 

A good bottle of wine is best enjoyed with a good meal and good friends, she says. And Tutoni’s now makes wine tasting that much easier with its self-serve wine system, featured in the upstairs TT Bar.

If you want to get the most out of the self-serve wine system or any York, Pa., winery, we’ve got several tips that will have you sipping like a pro in no time.

1. Properly hold the glass

There is a right way and wrong way to hold your glass. Keep your hand on the stem. Holding the bowl can heat transfer the heat of your hand to the wine.

2. Start with the lightest

If you’re tasting multiple wines, think light to heavy or light to dark. Start with the lightest, crisper whites and work your way down to the robust reds.

3. Keep your palate fresh

While starting light means your taste buds aren’t overwhelmed with a heavier wine, sipping water between tastings also helps keep your palate fresh. Feel free to nibble on the little oyster crackers you often see at wineries to help cleanse your palate between tastings.

4. Look at the wine

Tilt the glass slightly and look at the wine while holding it up to the light. Red wines tend to vary in color, from a bright, raspberry-color for younger wines, to a dark, brick-like color for older wine. White wines can be anywhere from a pale green to a deep golden color. Older white wines tend to be golden, as do those that were aged in oak barrels.

5. Master the swirl

Be careful not to spill any drops when you start to swirl your wine. Swirling helps oxygen get to the wine. Firmly hold the stem on a flat surface, and swirl it about 10 to 20 times. As the wine coats the side of the glass, it releases vapors and gives off a tantalizing bouquet of fragrance.

6. Give it a sniff

Wine glasses curve slightly inward to help guide the smell toward your nose. Once you’ve swirled the wine, you can do two different things:

·         Take a few quick sniffs from the top of the glass;  

·         or inhale a long sniff from deeper into the glass.

7. Sip and taste

Here comes the moment you’ve been waiting for: the taste. Let the wine spread across the tongue – front to back and side to side – before swallowing.

8. What’s with the spit?

You don’t have to spit your wine out, unless you plan to taste a lot of wines and don’t want to become too tipsy. Whether or not you spit out the wine, be sure to take note of the finish, also called the after taste.

9. It’s not all about price

Don’t let the cost of the wine predetermine whether you think it’s good. Plenty of wines can be exceptional and only cost $20 a bottle. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be curious about a $200 bottle of wine.

10. Try Tutoni’s self-serve wine system

The best way to know what you like and don’t like about wines is to taste and taste again. Tutoni’s new self-serve wine system lets you do just that. As one of three restaurants in Pennsylvania to have this system, Tutoni’s allows you to taste wines by the ounce or by a whole glass. Now you can sample that $200 bottle without the guilt of a huge splurge.

Want to taste for yourself? Visit the TT Bar and try out your new wine tasting skills.