2010
06.23

The Basics

If you’re thinking about venturing into the gorgeous landscapes of the Sonoma wine country, or planning your first trip to the vast world that is the Napa Valley wine country, you’ll want to know a thing or two about wine tasting. Most Napa and Sonoma wineries will surely assist you with your tasting, though many are bound to be crowded. Here are some helpful hints to guide you along your Napa Valley or Sonoma wine tour.

Before you dive into your first pour, take a good look at the wine in your glass. (Hold the glass by the stem to keep your hand from warming the wine, but be mindful of those crowds!) A good wine should boast a bright hue that fades slightly at the top. A red wine will pale as it ages, where most white wines gain color over time.

The Aroma

Next, give the glass a good swirl—you’ll see why most Napa Valley wineries only dole out an ounce or two per pour! The swirl introduces oxygen to the wine and releases crucial aromas. Give the wine a good, quick sniff and associate the “nose” or “bouquet” with a familiar smell—perhaps vanilla, almond, or cherry—so the impression will last longer.

The Flavor

After you’ve taken in the aroma, it’s finally time to taste. Your Napa Valley wine tour will be greatly enhanced if you take the time to consider the texture of the wine as it crosses your lips. One Sonoma winery might specialize in lighter wines, while another Napa winery might focus on producing bold, rich textures. Before you swallow the wine, let it sit in your mouth for several seconds. The flavors for which the Napa Valley and Sonoma wine countries are famous can be incredibly complex, and your taste buds may need some time to sort things out! A typical Sonoma wine tour can often lead you to flavors ranging anywhere from cinnamon to apricot, from hazelnut to asparagus. Some Napa Valley wineries produce wines with flavors as unexpected as leather or tobacco! Now swallow the wine. If the flavor remains in your mouth long after you have swallowed, the wine is said to have a long “finish.” These are the wines you are sure to remember.

Most wineries offer a bucket if you do not wish to finish all the wine in your glass. This will allow you to taste as many different wines as possible on your Napa Valley or Sonoma wine tour. You are welcome to try a second tasting of any wine, though do know that asking for a second tasting usually infers that you are interested in buying a bottle or two.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Due to the region’s breathtaking landscapes, many Sonoma and Napa Valley wineries allow picnics on the grounds. A picnic can enhance any Sonoma wine tour; it can also give the kids a chance to run around a bit. Many Napa Valley wineries offer activities for children while the adults sample the wine. It’s best to call ahead to inquire about what each winery offers for children.

Leave the Planning to Us!

Our experienced chauffeurs—all of them experts in both the Napa Valley and Sonoma wine countries—can prepare for you the perfect Napa Valley wine tour, or arrange for a wonderful tour through the Sonoma wine country. They can also accompany you on your tour and show you how to taste wine or which bottle is best for purchase. Our expert chauffeurs and variety of fine luxury limousines make Ultimate Limo Service the perfect planner of Napa Valley or Sonoma wine tours!

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