Viking Oceans: The Fundamentals of Wine

– Vineyards and wine making date back thousands of years, yet the fundamentals of wine,
and how to best enjoy it, remain a bit confusing to many of us. We’re here with Susie Barrie, who’s a renowned Master of Wine, and is going to tell us a little bit about the basics of wine,
starting from the very beginning. – Absolutely. So we’re going to open
the bottle, first of all. – [Karine] With a bottle
opener that you called– – I call this a waiter’s friend, yes. There are so many different
corkscrews on the market but this is probably what a
waiter would normally use, largely because they can carry
it easily in their apron. And so it’s a very simple
way of opening a bottle. – And it has one of those
little levers that gives you– – It does. So what you do is you twist the cork in, and then there are two
little points for the cork, as you get it out, and there we are. – Yep. And that’s a real cork? – Yes, there are all sorts of different stoppers on the market, different types of cork, plastic corks, agglomerate corks, screw caps. – So you’ve opened the bottle. Should we smell the cork? – There’s no point in smelling the cork. It looks nice, it’s quite fun, but that’s not really gonna
tell you anything at all. – So when they say a wine is corked, what does that actually mean? – So some people think that
if you see bits of cork floating around in a glass
of wine, that it’s corked. That’s not a corked wine,
that’s just been opened badly. When a wine’s corked what’s happened is, that the wine in the
bottle has been tainted, contaminated by a tainted cork. And it’s gonna smell kind of musty, moldy. – Mm-hmm.
– And when you taste it, the fruit in the wine
is kind of suppressed. And then the sign of a fine wine is that it has a really long finish, and it will be shortened. – And how do you properly
pour a glass of wine? – Well, it’s really simple. You just get your bottle, it’s really good to have
one of these drip stops. It’s just a disk that you swirl around and pop into the bottle,
and then just pour. And the main thing is not to pour too much into a glass of wine. You don’t want to be pouring
it right up to the top, you want to pour it about a 1/3 full, and that’s perfect for tasting the wine. – Mm-hmm. – So then you’ve got your glass of wine – Mm-hmm.
– and we want to taste it. Now, wine tasting isn’t
complicated, it’s not difficult. In fact, it should be a lot of fun. And the most important thing
is to just keep it simple. We stop, we have a look, we have a sniff, we taste, and hopefully we enjoy it. – Mm-hmm. – So the first thing we do is stop. Most people are really
busy, rushing around, you grab a glass of wine
and you just knock it back. – Drink it, yeah.
– Don’t think about it. This wine is gonna give
so much more back to you if you take a breath, and give it your full concentration. So we stop and think about the wine that we’re going to taste. We then have a look at it. And the main reason that you’re, well the first reason
you’re looking at it, is to make sure there are no
bits floating around in it. You want it to be clear,
bright, not hazy or cloudy, and something that
really looks appetizing. – And when you’re holding your glass, you hold it one way for tasting
and one way for drinking? – Normally for drinking,
particularly white wine, we want to hold it by the stem and let it stay as cool as possible. So we’ve got our wine in the glass. – Yeah.
– We’ve had a look at it. The next thing we want
to do is to smell it. But in order to smell it we want as much aroma to
come out of the glass, and the way to do that is to swirl it and get the
oxygen in and all the aromas out. Now swirling can be a messy business. – And this is a half-full glass. (both laugh) – If you feel non-confident,
pop it on a table, and swirl it on the table. – [Karine] Yeah, that’s much more stable. – That’s the simplest way to do it. And then take a really
nice sniff of the wine. – Mm-mm, mm-hmm. – So what you’re doing is
you’ve let all the air in and all the aromas out. But equally, this wine is not
bursting out of the glass! In New World wines, in
New World countries, those wines tend, generally,
to burst out of the glass. We’ve given it a swirl, we’ve had a sniff, we’ve had a look at it,
we’re gonna taste it. But when you taste it,
what I want you to do is, you can just try sipping
it and swallow it, or spit,
– Mm-hmm. – if you want to. But if you do that you’re not gonna get the
best out of the wine. The best thing to do is take
a really nice big mouthful, or reasonable size mouthful, swirl it all around your mouth, treat it a bit like a mouthwash. – Mm-hmm! – Get it into every little
corner of your mouth, and then if you can, try sucking
it back through your teeth to let some more air into it. If it’s a sweet wine, you’ll detect it on
the tip of your tongue, that’s where you get sweetness. And then at the back, any bitterness, you’ll detect right at
the back of your tongue. But just remember not
to just sip and swallow. Try and get it into your mouth and around your mouth a little bit. – And how do you decide what
wine goes with which food? I mean traditionally I guess we’ve thought that white wines go with fish
and red wines go with meat. In Norway where I’m from, we break that rule when it comes to cod. We always have red wine with fish. – Oh, interesting, interesting. – Is that sort of, are there rules? – I would say there are
no hard and fast rules. What you need to do is
to keep an open mind, and to be prepared to experiment. It’s so important to try different things, different foods with different wines. But there are a few rules
that you could think about, a few tips
– Mm-hmm, yeah. – that you could bear in mind. And the first one is to do, it’s food and wine,
think flavor and weight. So flavor is very different to weight. Flavor is, you might have something that’s very light weight. Something like maybe fresh
ginger, or green peppers, but they’ve got masses of flavor. Equally, something with lots of weight, in terms of food that might
be boiled rice or potatoes, very heavy, but they’re not
actually very flavorsome. So what we’re looking for in a
wine is that it’s gonna match in terms of weight and flavor, the food. So for example, you’ve got
a big meaty beef casserole, lot’s of flavor, you want a
good, big, chunky red wine. Maybe a Barossa Shiraz
or a Chateauneuf-du-Pape. If you’ve got fish, so
something like your cod, yes have it with red wine, but you probably don’t
want to be drinking it with a Barossa Shiraz. You probably want a nice, light, – Mm-hmm.
– Gamay or Pinot Noir. Something gentle, soft, maybe something that can be
served slightly cool as well. – And spicy foods like Indian and Chinese? – Spicy suit a bit of sugar.
– Yes. – The great thing about sugar
is it will temper the spice. So if you are having,
not heavily spiced food, that’s just difficult
generally to match to any wine, but if you’ve got something
with some light spice, say a coconut curry, just gently, maybe a Thai kind of dish,
– Mm-hmm. – you want an either off-dry
white or even a fruity rose, a really good fruity rose. And that sweetness just softens
the spice and balances it. The other thing that sweetness
does is it balances saltiness and an absolutely classic food match is Sauterne with blue cheese, ’cause blue cheese is very salty. The other thing to think about
with sweetness in wine is, you then need good acidity
in the wine as well, because otherwise the wine
is gonna seem cloying. – Mm-hmm. – There are certain
food and wine matchings that are just classics. Red Ochre and lamb,
– Yes. – And Sancerre and goat’s cheese, and as we’ve said,
Sauterne and blue cheese. – Yes. And what are the ideal
storage conditions for wine? – Well the ideal storage
condition for any bottle of wine really would be somewhere dark, cool, something about sort
of 10 to 13 degrees C, or 50 to 55 degrees
Fahrenheit, is perfect. But anything between about seven and 18, so 45 to 65 degrees
Fahrenheit, is absolutely fine, as long as it stays constant. – And then there’s the art of decanting. – There are different
reasons for decanting a wine. One of them is to get rid of sediment. So what you would do if you’ve
had your wine laying down, is to stand it up so that the sediment gradually just works its way down to the bottom of the bottle. Then you open your bottle of wine and gently pour it into the decanter. And that’s the first reason for decanting, to get rid of the sediment. Another reason is to aerate the wine. So what we’re gonna do is now pour this into the decanter
to aerate this wine. So really, something like this, which is a young, relatively
tannic Bordeaux wine, really benefits from
that kind of aeration. – So it’s not just old wines
that need to be aerated? – Older wine often don’t need aerating. As we’ve sort of said, in terms of the getting
rid of the sediment, you don’t really want to
aerate an older wine too much, particularly a very old wine, it could well just totally collapse. Because it already is very developed. It’s fragile, developed, and
it doesn’t need too much air. With this, we want to get the air in, equally though, you don’t
want to be leaving it in the decanter for too long. A couple of hours before you serve it is probably fine for most wines. And then we just pour
straight from the decanter. And that will have just aerated that wine and allowed it to soften, and just be a little
bit more approachable, more drinkable at a young age.
– Mm-hmm. (soft melodic music) – But you can taste the tannin can’t you? – You really can. – So tannin is that sense of, the drying sensation you
have in this, in your cheeks. – It’s almost like an unripe banana. – Exactly that! That’s a brilliant way of
describing it, it really is. – How do you choose a right wine? – It’s really difficult. I mean, a lot of people
do go on the label, and sometimes you have
nothing more to go on. I think what you’ve got to try and do is build up your own bank
of knowledge about wines. At the end of the day it’s
not about what I like, it’s about what you like. So once you know your own personal taste, you can start then experimenting within countries and grape varieties. But I think so many people, the only thing they have
to go on is the label. – Yes!
– And that’s absolutely fine. Why not choose a wine
that you think looks nice. – Yes. – It may well taste delicious as well. – [Karine] Whether you’re new
to wine, or a connoisseur, you’ll find the more you know, the more you’ll want to learn. We look forward to sharing
with you wine’s many secrets.

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