How to taste 100 bottles of French wine | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

JEROME PHILIPPON is the man behind Sommelier Selection.

He’s a self-professed wine hunter, who backpacks in and around the vineyards of France, in search of the finest fruits of the vine. Without him, we would not have known many varietals existed.

Philippon’s life’s mission is to let us fall in love with his native France through wine.

A typical Frenchman, Jerome not only makes you fall in love with wine. He makes you fall in love in a most spectacular way.

At 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 27, at Society Lounge, Philippon will uncork a hundred bottles of wine from all over France – from Southwest France, Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Alsace, Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon, Southern Rhône, Northern Rhône, Jura and Bourgogne.

Sommelier Selection’s signature ‘100’ event is a grand tasting affair –an authentic representation of the French wine landscape and culture, made more special by the presence of winemakers flown in from France.

This year there will be thematic tasting recommendations; varietal guidelines; and wine roots (referring to a regional style and a wine guide for the canapé to be served – recommending a specific wine number to go with the snails or the mushroom vol-au-vent, etc.). Each taster will be given a passport to indicate the wine s/he prefers.

I had a good chat with Jerome about his event. His answers:

How to get the most out of a grand tasting:

The tasting is organized by region because we want the wine tasters to understand the differences between each French wine appellation and the terroir of each appellation. (“Terroir refers to the soil, climate, grape and winemaking; it is the essence of our French wine selection.”)

How a taster should go about trying different wines:

Choose a specific grape varietal blend (e.g. Merlot from Southwest France), try to taste the same grape varietal with a different wine style/region (e.g. Merlot from Languedoc).

Taste a variety of wine styles from each appellation and assess the commonalities and differences.

We will not be displaying the price of the wine so the taster can decide which wines they prefer without being subconsciously affected by the price point.

When attending large-scale tasting events, tasters should consider how to keep their palate refreshed. A person’s palate can easily tire after tasting a few wines. There are a few different methods that professionals use but it is a matter of preference. The first and most widely used is to start with the lightest wines and move to bolder wines (whites being first and reds second). The problem with this method is that a person’s palate can handle only so many strong flavors before their taste becomes muted.

The second method is to start with a small selection of light reds (by region) and move to bolder reds. After tasting reds, move onto a rose or sparkling wine, then to a small selection of whites.

This method refreshes your palate before moving on to the next region or style.

Wine tasting tips:

Look: Check out the color and clarity of the wine.

Smell: What impression do you get? Try and search your mental files for familiar smells.

Taste: Allow the wine to spread across your tongue, slowly suck in air, this aerates the wine and pushes the aromas up to your nasal passages. Swallow or spit out the wine, then immediately exhale out your nose before inhaling. This practice will heighten the aromas and flavors.

Assess: Alcohol content, tannin levels, acidity and residual sugar in the first impression, mid-palate and the finish. Evaluate how long the flavors of the wine linger. Is there a long impression or are the flavors short-lived? Take some time to evaluate your experience of the wine and record your impressions.

Avoiding hangover

And finally, I just had to ask if it is possible to drink all that and not get a hangover. Jerome said yes, if you drink the right wines; by this, he meant, good wines.

“The most important way to avoid a hangover is to drink a high-quality product,” he said. “We will be featuring low-production, high-quality French wines which have less or no additives and chemicals.”

“Do not mix with [other types of] alcohol. Often, after a wine-tasting event, you are tempted to go to the bar for cocktails. This will guarantee you a hangover. Stick to the good stuff: wine.”

“Drink plenty of water during the night so you are well-hydrated.”

“Eat something. You don’t have to consume a lot of food but drinking with an empty stomach will allow the alcohol to take greater effect on the body.”

“Spit: A good way to avoid a hangover is not to drink too much.”

If you follow these, you will feel pretty good the morning after the 100 French wines!

For Sommelier Selection’s signature 100 event, call 0917-5910592 or 8926882.

My new cooking class schedule is ready. Call or text 0917-5543700, 0908-2372346, 4008496, 9289296 for information.

E-mail the author at [email protected]