Step 1 – Tilt the glass and look at the colour for clarity and depth.
Step 2 – Swirl the wine to release its ‘nose’, and then put your own nose deep into the glass and take a good sniff. Think what it reminds you of and don’t be concerned if that includes old socks, mouldy cheese, grass cuttings, bananas or any other strange thing.
Step 3 – Look in John Platter’s Wine Guide to see if your impressions are correct.
Step 4 – Take a small quantity of wine into your mouth and suck air through it, then swish it around your mouth. Spit it out into a spittoon, or drink it.
Step 5 – Take a swig of water and repeat the process with the next wine available on your menu.
Step 6 - If the experts say it is a superb wine, but you don’t like it, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you drink wine that you enjoy.
To enhance the pleasure of wine drinking, pairing wine with the right food can transform the experience. Finding a wine that goes with chocolate is an art, but South Africa’s only home-grown varietal, Pinotage, does the trick. This cross-pollination of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (Hermitage) is versatile enough to cope with chocolate or spicy curries. Food and wine pairing specialist, Katinka van Niekerk dismisses colour co-ordination of reds with meat and whites with fish as hopelessly out-dated. A general rule of successful pairing is that the wine should be sweeter then the food, but as the dry red Pinotage and chocolate demonstrate, rules are there to be broken.