Laurie Forster is an award-winning sommelier, author, TV personality, and comedian. Her edgy approach to demystifying wine caught the eye of major networks and led to her guest appearances on “FOX Morning News,” “Martha Stewart Living Today,” and “ABC News at Noon.”
She’s performed her comedic wine-tasting at Carolines on Broadway, DC Improv, Caesars Atlantic City, Broadway Comedy Club, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Tampa Improv, Avalon Theatre, and Rams Head On Stage.
She’s also the author of “The Sipping Point: A Crash Course in Wine.”
This information-packed paperback gives wine lovers tips on everything from how to order wine at dinner to how to bounce back the morning after.
Chapters include advice on how to pair food and wine, buy the perfect set of wine glasses, work with a sommelier, and buy wines for special events.
The best place to start your wine education is with Forster’s easy-to-swallow chapter, “Taste Test,” which gives us 7 steps to learn to fully appreciate wine.
“Use all of your senses, relax, and enjoy,” advises the wine coach, who insists there are no absolute rules to tasting wine. These guidelines will get you started.
- Use your brain. “Describe what you see, smell, and taste,” Forster shares. “Just use your impressions to enhance the experience.”
- Give it the eye. “Pour a glass of wine and observe its color, clarity, and brilliance,” she explains. “The best way to view a wine is to hold it at a 45-degree angle against a white background. Wine should not be cloudy or hazy.”
- Take a whiff. “This will give you a first impression. Then gently swirl your glass to enhance its natural aromas.”
- Poke your nose in. “Really!” insists Forster. “Stick your nose deep into the glass and inhale. Then gently swirl the wine to let the aromas mix and mingle, then sniff again. “Do you detect aromas of your favorite fruits, flowers, or foods? Smelling is 80 percent of the tasting process, so don’t shortchange this step.”
- Taste in stages. Take a sip and let it roll around on your tongue. Next, let a small breath of air in and allow the wine and air to mingle. “The main role of your tongue is to perceive sweet, sour, salty, or bitter,” she reminds us, so let it do its work. “The sour or pucker factor you may feel is the wine’s acidity. Some red wines have a bitter or astringent sensation that are called tannins, which come from grape skins and will sometimes make your mouth feel like it’s dry.”
- Swallow and savor. “The finish is the taste and sensation that linger after you swallow,” Forster says. “Rather than quickly take another gulp, see what your wine offers between sips. A wine that you continue to taste for some time after swallowing would be described as having a long finish. Many wines are not truly their best until parked with the right dish — so don’t forget to try them with food.”
- Record for posterity. Forster suggests, “If you really enjoyed a wine — or if you didn’t — jot down information from the label.” You can also use her handy note-keeping log to assist. Click here for more.
Learn more at thewinecoach.com.