There are wine snobs, aficionados of fine wine, individuals who love wine, and those who just enjoy wine. There is no right or wrong in wine; it’s what appeals to your palate that matters.
When sampling a flight of wine in a tasting room, make sure you sample the wines from light to dark, then to sweet or sparkling for the best experience. Always remember when tasting wine at a winery, or a wine bar, you don’t have to drink all of it; there are usually spit/dump buckets on the counter. Drinking bad wine may hinder your experience. Wine is subjective. Everyone has different tastes.
Make sure to eat crackers when wine tasting, for two reasons. First, it helps to clear your palate in between wines, and second, it helps to keep something in your stomach. Drinking on a full stomach is a good choice. Occasionally, crackers, or other food that pairs well with a vineyard’s wines, are available. Don›t expect to make lunch out of their crackers.
Pairing food with the wine you taste will enhance the flavor and give you a better experience. In the tasting room at Reyes Winery, I always have goodies that vary each week. One of my favorite pairings is lemon crème almonds to pair with the Reyes Winery 2011 Muscat. This is a lighter tasting Muscat with aromas of Meyer lemon and orange blossom. It pairs well with chicken Alfredo, lemon Stilton cheese, or lemon thyme curd with raspberries.
The Muscat grape has more than 200 varieties. These grapes are grown all over the world and come in a variety of colors. The most familiar of the varieties of Muscat is Muscato Asti from the Piedmont region of Italy, which is used for sparkling wine. In Spain, they fortify the grapes and call them Moscatel. Muscat can be dry to very sweet. History tells us these grapes have been around since at least 2,000 BCE. The Muscat name might have originated from the Italian word “mosca,” meaning fly. These grapes have high levels of brix, or what we call sugar levels, which attracts fruit flies and bees. Every year, about two weeks before harvest, we start to see them in the fields at Reyes Winery. When we harvest the grapes, I love to sample a few. They taste just like the wine. Our Muscat grapes have a lemony floral taste, as does our Muscat wine.