Is wine slurping really necessary? And by wine slurping I mean that sound that some people make when they seem to suck up their wine.
Honestly, it’s kind of eww. The sound that is. But it does bear the question, why would you ‘waste’ the taste of the wine by simply not drinking it. Is it just a posh invention to make people look like they know lots about wine? Let’s delve in…
Wine Slurping 101
Unlike other alcohols, wine changes over time based on conditions. It’s one of the reasons people ‘lay down wines’ to age them. (If you wish to know more on this topic, check out our ‘How to afford a Wine Cellar’ post linked below.) Oxygen is the primary factor that changes wine.
So why do people slurp their wine? The main reason is that it oxygenates the wine. And what does that mean? As wine reacts with oxygen, it releases flavours. So as you are slurping, in essence pulling in the oxygen and rolling the wine around in it (in your mouth), you are intensifying the flavours and aromas in your mouth.
Tasting is not done with just the mouth. It’s done with the nose too. Don’t believe me? Pinch your nose whilst eating something and see how it tastes. Without smell your mouth can only tell if it is sweet, sour, etc. It is your sense of smell that tells you what it actually tastes of.
How to Slurp
There is actually a trick to slurping wine, without spluttering and spewing it all over someone else in the process. It takes a little practise. Something we recommend you first try at home. Practising tasting wine is harsh homework, but you can thank us for assigning it later.
You want to sip a small amount of wine as you need to hold it in your mouth. Curl the tip of your tongue up slightly. Ideally what you are going to do is keep the wine, or at least the majority of it, in the bowl that the front of your tongue has created. Or at least at the front of the mouth. Keeping it at the front of your mouth will also help stop you from swallowing the wrong way and coughing. Or spewing.
Now, what you are going to try to do is pull some air in over the wine through your teeth. This is what makes the ‘slurping’ sound. Pulling in the air sort of bubbles or agitates the wine. One tip is to sort of bring your teeth together, and sort of pucker your lips. Like you just smelled something bad (and hopefully it is a nice wine, so appearances can be deceiving).
It will take a little while to perfect the slurp, but don’t worry it will come.
Practise makes Perfect
Still not so sure of this slurping thing. Let’s conduct a test. Try a glass of wine without slurping. Now, with your new found slurping ability, try another sip. You should notice a difference in flavours, aromas, longevity of taste in your mouth. Not quite convinced? We recommend you try again, and again. Just to be sure.
Once you have gained confidence in your slurp, take your new super power out into the world and taste. Taste with new knowledge and ability to enhance the tastes. Try it with cheap wines, or expensive. See how these differ.
And your next lesson? Learn how to slurp quietly. Yes, it really is possible. To my mind, loud slurping is when someone is showing off or trying to look posh.
Our Other Wine 101 Posts:
Do Wine Glass Shapes Matter? (this is a natural follow on the Slurping)
Saint Vincent Tournante (France’s thanks giving to wine)
Here’s a visual on the why’s of slurping for those who wish to ‘see’ more:
Shop Wine Lover Gifts
As wine makers ourselves, we are always on the search for interesting and unique and particularly French wine items for our vintage and antiques shop. Here’s a taste of some of the things we have found: