A personal message from the Culinary Guru on why the Wine Cork looks to be sniffed.
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For years it has been thought to smell the cork was a necessary part of the wine experience, but why? Many of us have been in this intimidating situation before: you order wine at a restaurant and after the waiter opens the bottle, you’re presented with the cork and we have no idea what to do with it. So, you “Smell the Cork” why? It’s a myth that has floated around the wine world for years, but guess what: YOU DON’T NEED TO SMELL IT! You may learn something about a wine from smelling the cork, in fact, when you smell it, the cork usually just smells like cork.
But the real story behind about what looked to be smelling a cork was actually the old growers and vintners working so hard in the fields that their hands became chafed and callous. Like touching someone you love and there is no feeling through the callouses, they too lost that loving feeling. So, the next best thing was to use one of the most sensitive parts of the body, the tip of the nose! Yes, the tip of the nose was the area that revealed to the vintner if the cork was wet, or still contained moisture meant the cork had done a major part of what the cork should do, protect the wine! Isn’t tradition lovely and a little romantic?
Opening a Bottle of Wine
When you open a bottle of wine you might find it is difficult at first. You should become familiar with the corkscrew you are using before you plant it in the cork. You don’t want the cork to crumble or end up inside of the wine. This can be frustrating, especially if there are tiny pieces in the wine and hard to pick out.
When you put a corkscrew in a bottle of wine be sure the end is right in the middle of the cork. Turn the top of the corkscrew until the screw is almost entirely inside of the cork. As you turn the top handle you will notice the sides of the corkscrew will rise. You will push these two side handles down simultaneously and the cork will be removed from the bottle.
Holding a Wine Glass
When you are wine tasting it is still important to know how to properly hold your wine glass. This will show you are well versed and you have proper etiquette. You should always hold your glass by the stem.
Never hold your glass of wine by the bowl of the glass. Your hands are warm and if you hold the glass by the bowl you will warm the wine. You also want to be sure you don’t put any fingerprints on the bowl of the glass either.
How to Taste Wine
There is a proper method to tasting wine when you and your friends get together to taste wine. If you follow these steps in the book I am offering you will improve your general knowledge of wine and have a more successful wine tasting.
My experience in the food industry spans 30 years and I’m still learning! So together I hope to embark on a journey of food, wine and spirits! I have managed, owned and developed restaurant concepts, recipes, extensive wine lists, front of the house and back of the house training, writing articles and blogs, tending vineyards, growing produce, pruning trees, cutting apricots and fingers, developing staff and of course, marketing.
Testing one’s skills in marketing was put to the test in 2000 upon opening a restaurant in a small Midwest community. They had no concept of a farm to table, white linen, serving microbrew beers and wines with deep texture and flavor, food freshly made from beginning to end with wines opened at the table by local staff trained in the art of waiting tables. It really put my wife and I to the test, well, I can attest to the fact that 16 years later it is still opened and being operated by staff members who came to work all those years ago!
My love of food started very early in the orchards surrounding our community in the San Francisco Bay Area, where we walked for miles through the many cherry, plum, peach and apple orchards foraging our way to absolute bliss, until, well, I’ll leave that part out! lol! The appreciation of food really blossomed starting in the 60’s and continuing forth to this day, as the culture was about discovery of foods from all over the world including spices, flavor, texture, cooking techniques, small plot gardening, organic, then certified organic, vegetarian diet, veganism! Until now, where the battle to be one’s own physician and eat healthy has been bombarded by large entities who see food in a much different light than what “God” had intended! And God forbid the drug companies with their commercials and all those horrible side effects! The fight for good eating, health and maintenance wages on and the journey is rather enjoyable!
I was fortunate to meet some of the greats of the culinary world and learn from the best in the field. My love of wine started very early in the Saratoga hills near Cupertino with places like Picchetti’s Winery, Ridge Vineyards and a College Professor David Bruce who really developed the old world art of winemaking, introducing us to the ever deep red and spicy wine of the Zinfandel grape. At Ridge winery during the pruning season, people of all walks of life would be in the grape fields preparing the vines for the coming season, it was an experience cherished by all. Then of course here come October when the harvest begins, the fragrance of grapes being picked and taken to the crusher graces the air with a fragrance and aroma one never forgets, thus, a trip to Carneros Valley at the mouth of Napa Valley should be on your bucket list!
Discover for yourself a journey of food, wine, dining, etiquette, cooking, certified organic farming, hydroponic farming, recipes, techniques, certified organic foods and a multiplicity of fun intriguing ways to enjoy the culinary life. We plan to develop videos, emails, provide recipes (even our regionally famous bread pudding and chocolate decadent fudge cake and a variety of recommendations on great cookbooks, travel ideas, catering, impressing friends at your knowledge of food, wine and drink.
Become like a Chef, Manager and Owner in learning more about the culinary world, peek into the mind of a restaurant owner, laugh at funny videos and stories about the food industry, have cookbooks and recipes at your disposal, need questions answered besides googling, learn about why do people smell a wine cork or a simple technique of knowing if a wine was stored correctly before even tasting it, then click on the link below to learn how all this can be made available!
Click on the link below and begin a journey of culinary delight! You’ll be glad you did!
See you on the other side, Gary Leese