Why start a tasting with red wines?

If you’ve dropped by the Walla Faces tasting room, you may have noticed something a little unconventional about our tasting order: we start with our red wines and move to our whites. Usually, when you do a wine tasting, it’s the other way around entirely! So, what is the benefit of moving from red to white wines?

Although the order may seem unusual, the reason we, at Walla Faces, go from red to white comes from traditional wine tasting sequences. There are two classic orders for wine tasting. Firstly, people move from light wines to heavy wines. Because tannins can build up in your mouth, ending a tasting on richer, heavier wines prevents any residual tannins from tainting your impression of a lighter, more playful wine. The second classic tasting order involves starting with dry wines and ending with sweet wines. Moving from a sweet wine to a dry wine can cause the drier wine to taste comparatively sour. Thus, it’s usually best to “end on dessert”.

For many wineries, these two orders are the same. For example, a winery might start a tasting with a dry Chardonnay and end on a sweet, heavy Port. For us, they are not the same! We have a sweet, light dessert wine: our 2008 Ice Wine.

A Walla Faces wine tasting moves from red to white!

A Walla Faces wine tasting moves from red to white!

We’ve adjusted the traditional wine tasting order to really showcase the wines that we make, moving through the wines the same way you might move through a meal. We start with our ‘appetizers’, which are our lighter, smoother reds: the 2008 Fusion Red and the 2009 Syrah. We move to our ‘entrees’, the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2008 Reserve Cabernet. Finally, we end on our ‘desserts’, the 2010 Riesling and 2008 Riesling Ice Wine. Within the red wines, we stick to the classic ‘light to heavy’ order. However, by moving from red to white, we don’t affect our palettes by putting sweet wines ahead of their dry counterparts.

The “whites to reds” order is usually a good rule of thumb. However, it is sometimes necessary to adjust a rule to fit wines you want to highlight!

How to Chill a Riesling

Walla Faces RieslingWe have previously talked about the importance of temperature for serving red wine. It is important for serving white wine as well.

The Walla Faces Riesling, of course, should be served chilled. At cooler temperatures, the acidity of the wine is emphasized, making the taste more pleasant and refreshing. In addition, for a sweet grape like a Riesling, warmer temperatures will cause the wine to taste cloyingly sweet.

The easiest way to chill our Riesling is simply to keep a bottle or two in the refrigerator. Then, it will be ready to go at a momentís notice.

But what should you do if your forgot to pre-chill your Riesling?

Here are some tips for getting your wine to the perfect temperature:

The ideal method: Fill a bucket up with ice and sprinkle generously with salt, which will lower the freezing temperature. Place the bottle of Riesling in the ice. After six minutes, your bottle should be perfectly chilled.

Alternative method: Wrap a wet towel around your wine bottle and place it in the freezer for 15 minutes. Be sure you donít forget about it, or your wine will be ruined! I recommend setting a timer.