New Year’s Toast One of the activities often associated with drinking wine is the offering of toasts in celebration of an event, a person, or even the wine.
Here’s a good one for New Year’s Eve:
“For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” T.S. Eliot
Don't dispair, this section is devoted to those who want to make wine tasting a pleasureable experience for tjemselves - and others!
Remember that any time alcohol is involved, judgment is impaired. Lots of wine is poured at big events and if you are planning on enjoying plenty of it, make sure you have arranged for proper transportation.
Even a little wine can impair motor skills; a designated driver enables you to enjoy yourself all day without endangering others.
Slowly savoring a small amount of each wine you sample not only helps maintain sobriety, it also helps you fully appreciate the wine. Drinking water between sips helps in this regard, too, as does spitting out all or most of the wine. This is common practice among professional wine tasters and one that all wineries accommodate by providing spit buckets on the tasting bar. Just make sure no one is in your line of fire before expectorating!
Whatever you do, don't wear white!
You don't have to drink all the wine that's poured. Most of the time, the bottles will have portion control spouts to limit the quantity poured to an ounce or less. But often enough you will get a larger pour. If that's the case, you can taste a small portion and pour the rest in the bucket.
Always be aware of your surroundings. There are times when you will be shoulder to shoulder with a lot of people all carrying wine glasses. Back up or turn around without looking at your own risk.
Keep it short and simple! If you engage the vendor or winemaker in conversation, remember that there may be others behind you who want to try the wine. If you inquire about the product, ask simple and easy to answer questions. If you really want to know when the harvest dates were for last 10 years, what percentage of new French oak barrels were used for each vintage and what pruning methodologies were employed -- ask for a business card and look it up online. In the technological age, wineries almost always post all of the "techno" stuff.
Nothing spoils the mood more than someone who tries to sound cool and impress people. Everyone should be there to have a good time, not to see who knows the most or has been to which exotic vineyard. Relax, share stories that others will be able to relate to and whatever you do, never try to show up a winemaker. It will make them dislike you instantly (they stand in front of thousands of people just like you every year).
Depending on what your goal is for the tasting, be it calculated education or relaxed enjoyment, there are methods to prolong the ability of the taste buds.
Starting with white is always a good bet -- sparkling wine, even better. For whites, start with lighter, high acid whites and move toward the bigger, rounder-fruit white wines. After you make the switch to red, use the same principle -- start with light pinots and such then move toward big, bad cabs. You will begin to determine how many total wines you can handle without losing your entire palate.
As you progress, there are some cheats you can employ to go the extra mile. If your tongue can't stand another big oak and tannin red, go back to some dry sparkling for two or three tastes. The bubbles sting your tongue a bit, but it will thrash your dulled palate back to life for another short stint.