How to Taste Wine Like a Pro

Do you find wine tasting intimidating? You’re not alone. But you don’t have to be a sommelier to explore – and enjoy – the fruits of the vine. Where do you start? Open a bottle of your favorite Oregon wine (we recommend a Rainstorm pinot noir) and practice these pro tips.

Oregon Wine | Rainstorm Pinot Noir | Rainstorm Wines

Step 1: Observe the Wine

Take time to look at the wine, observing its coloring and opacity. Red wines with more intense colors tend to be bolder in flavor, for example, while white wine color variations can indicate if a wine is more fruity or savory. Taking note will give you clues about what you can expect with future pours, and help you hone in on particular flavors and attributes.

Step 2: Smell the Wine

This makes tasting and identifying flavors easier. Swirl the wine, being careful not to slosh it out (which would be borderline blasphemous)! Swirling aerates the wine and brings out wonderful aromas. After swirling the wine, stick your nose in the glass and take a big whiff. Try to pick out individual aromas of fruit or spice.

Step 3: Taste the Wine

The moment you’ve been waiting for! Start with a mouthwash-sized sip, but don’t swallow it right away. Swish it all around your mouth, being sure to coat your entire tongue. Hold it in there for a few seconds to really get a handle on the flavors, and make a mental note of anything remarkable you detect.

Step 4: Spit or Swallow the Wine

Novice wine tasters may be appalled at the idea of anyone spitting out perfectly good wine, but there’s a method to the madness. You can’t properly taste wine when you’re tipsy. If you’re doing several tastings, it can impair your ability to truly judge the samples.

Now, swallowing wine is also acceptable, especially if you want to really experience a certain wine. When you swallow, the wine coats the back of your palate, bringing forth different flavors and aromas. If you’re considering purchasing a particular bottle, this is a good way to know what it will taste like when you pour a full glass.

Step 5: Ponder…

Contemplate all you’ve learned. Take another sniff if you need to, or another sip if there’s any left. Talk to your friends or others around you and get their take on it, too.

Learning how to taste wine like a pro takes time – and practice! Practice sounds great to us. Here’s your homework: pick up a bottle of Rainstorm pinot noir, and put your tasting skills to the test!

Top 5 Spots to Watch Fireworks in Portland

Nothing says summertime in the USA like spectacular fireworks. Lucky for us, Portland puts on quite a show. Pack some food, a selection of tasty summer wines, and your lawn chair, and get ready for an unforgettable Independence Day!

Summer Wines | Rainstorm Pinot Gris | Rainstorm Wines

If you’re looking for a great place for fireworks viewing this 4th of July, look no further than:

  1. Willamette River Bridges: Take your pick of one of the Willamette River’s bridges – Burnside, the Hawthorne, the Morrison, the Tilikum Crossing, or the Ross Island Crossing – you’ll have a great viewing spot. Be sure to get there early to stake a claim.
  2. Portland City Grill: This upscale bar and restaurant is located on the 30th floor of the second-tallest skyscraper in downtown PDX, so you’re sure to get an amazing view. Plus, they have vanilla bean crème brûlée, which pairs perfectly with a Rainstorm pinot gris!
  3. Oaks Amusement Park: The family-friendly Oaks Amusement Park is an awesome place to spend the Fourth and catch a stunning fireworks show. And it’s the only place where you’ll get to pack some quintessential American summer activities all into one day – riding roller coasters, eating hot dogs, and winning a prize for your girl or guy.
  4. Waterfront Blues Festival: The Waterfront Blues Festival is happening from July 4-7 this year, and it is the place to be. While you can’t bring your own picnic basket full of summer wines and other goodies, they will have food and drinks available. All you need is your lawn chair or blanket and your festival pass, and you’re set for a terrific time!
  5. Your Friend’s Boat: Can you anchor somewhere near the barge that’s shooting off fireworks near downtown? Sweet! You’ll have the best seats in the house and a completely unobstructed view. No boat? No problem. You can book passage on the Portland Spirit or Willamette Star, which will both dock near the fireworks show.

And, of course, if you’d rather sit in your driveway with a cooler of drinks and watch your neighbors blow stuff up, more power to you! Just don’t forget your Rainstorm pinot gris (for you, not the pyrotechnician).

How to Gift Wine This Father’s Day

While you could opt for the standard necktie or “World’s Greatest Dad” mug, why not get Dad something he’ll enjoy a bit more this Father’s Day? A crisp, refreshing wine will never fail to please. Here are some tips on how to gift wine and make Dad’s day.

How to Gift Wine | Rainstorm Wines

Tip #1 – Think About Food Pairings

Does he like to grill steak? Then go with a red wine. Pinot noir pairs wonderfully with the richness of filet mignon, for example. Or maybe he’s more of a seafood guy. For foods like crab and whitefish, a crisp white such as a pinot gris is the way to go. If salmon is his go-to, white wine works, but so do light reds, like a fruity pinot rosé. When wondering how to gift wine this Father’s Day, choose a bottle that complements some of Dad’s favorite dishes, and you’ve got a winner.

Tip #2 – Consider Where the Wine Came From

Different regions are known for certain types of wine. For instance, Oregon’s Willamette Valley (where Rainstorm wines are created) is renowned for their full-bodied, earthy pinot noirs, while Argentina is recognized for its outstanding Malbecs. When it comes to a Father’s Day gift for Dad, think about some of the places he’s been, or would like to travel to, and let that inspire you.

Tip #3 – Go For a Popular Variety

Another strategy on how to gift wine is to simply go for what’s popular. If you know that he’s a red guy, and particularly enjoys a nice pinot noir, search for the most popular pinot noir. You can also check the Wine Spectator score, which is based off taster reviews.

Tip #4 – Find Something Quirky and Fun

Some people buy wine based purely on the label. While we don’t recommend this, because taste is the true measure of a wine, your dad may be the kind of guy who appreciates a fun label. Do some browsing to find something that really stands out, and if you see something that relates to him or you know he’ll find hilarious, even better.

Tip #5 – Just Ask!

If you’re clueless about what your dad might like, just find a way to ask him. You can either be direct and say, “Dad, what kind of wine do you like?” or you can make like a detective and do some digging. Find a way to casually bring it up in conversation, and maybe he’ll drop a clue, or you can ask your mom or someone else close to him for a recommendation.

Gifting wine for Father’s Day is a great way to show Dad you care. With a little bit of thought and effort, you can pick out the perfect bottle that will say, “Dad, you’re the greatest.” Of course, we recommend saying it with one of our Rainstorm wines.