Ok so you know how earlier I was making fun of that guy for staring at his wine in the light of the chandelier in that fancy restaurant? I may have been a bit to judge…maybe.
He may have been looking at the legs, also known as tears. When you swirl wine, which is done to aerate the wine and we’ll discuss in more depth later, you’ll note that some of the liquid clings to the glass and slowly falls down the sides. To a total wine nerd- this is beautiful. There is something almost enchanting about watching the liquid slowly move down the glass and join the pool below.
There’s a secret to be found in those tears though (I guess there always is in tears isn’t there?)- this is a good secret though. They hold the key to the level of alcohol in the wine. The slower the tears, the higher the concentration of alcohol. So if you see the liquid almost suspended, stuck to the sides, you can bet that the alcohol content is pretty high, if it falls naturally to its resting place, it’s lighter.
On that note- another tip- by law the percentage of alcohol has to be within one point of what is stated on the label- it doesn’t need to be exact. So if it says 13.5% it could be up to 14.3%, or as low as 12.6%.
Neither of these is integral to the tasting of wine of course- but they are fun facts, you know, party trivia and the like.