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Guide to Wine Tasting: Beginner

During any trip to London, there is the opportunity to try some truly exceptional French wines. London has many French-inspired bars, including St James with its Coco Chanel’s 1920’s Paris apartment feel.  


Wine tastes different to different people. Personal biology, the food being eaten with the wine, the origin of the wine, the cost the bottle and the variety of grapes used, all have a part to play.
For those attending a wine tasting event who are not wine connoisseurs, this beginner’s guide to wine tasting should be of benefit…

Look 
It’s important not to rush when wine tasting and admire the wine in the glass. If it moves like water would when swirled around in a glass, this indicates that it could be a light, fresh wine. If it seems more like syrup, it will probably have a high alcohol content and be full bodied. 
The colour of the wine can be different and indicate how old the wine is. The glass should be tipped away from the person holding it and held against a white napkin. A red wine that is under five years old can range in hue from red to violet to blue when the colour of the edge of the wine as it hits the glass is studied. White wines can be yellow, gold and green.

Smell 
To smell the “first nose,” a person has to put their nose above the glass. These early aromas are the strongest scent. Different grapes have different aromas. 
The “second nose” comes when the wine in the glass is swirled. French wine usually has a mushroom, chalk or dirt aroma. This scent is usually from the winemaking process. 
The third aroma comes from the way the wine was stored. It could have a woody aroma if it was kept in a wood cask, for instance. 
Developing aroma smelling skills takes time and practice. 

Taste
When the first sip is taken, the first feeling felt is the “attack phase.” It needs to be accessed. The wine may feel light or heavy in the mouth. The tannins can make the wine feel intense. Questions that can be asked include: What is the acidity of the wine like? Are the aromas short-lived? Are there any aspects of the wine that aren’t pleasant?
Those staying in a Sofitel hotel from September 21st to October 31st will have the opportunity to celebrate wine and art de vivre with the Sofitel Wine Days.

At Sofitel London St James, guests can taste an exceptional Merlot red grape juice by Alain Milliat, sample a wine pairing four-course menu in The Balcon or a Charles Legend Champagne.

* Prices start from. Offer subject to the hotel's conditions and availability. See the sales conditions for the rate. Depending on the country, these prices may not include taxes, may include VAT only or may include all taxes (VAT and city tax). When prices do not include all taxes, the relevant taxes (VAT and/or city tax) will be stated in the following stages of the reservation process. The price is only guaranteed at the time of reservation.

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