Q: How do I use the Wine Prism?
A: Using the Wine Prism to evaluate wine is simple: First take a sip of wine from a glass as you usually would. Make a mental note of the taste. Then try the same wine using the Wine Prism. Notice a difference? That difference you're tasting is the beginning advancing from merely drinking wine to component wine tasting. What stands out? Do you notice perhaps some of the alcohol on your tongue and mouth. Don’t be surprised. It is the conversion of the grapes’ sugars to alcohol via the activity of yeast that turns grape juice into wine, and it is the fuel that propels the flavor components of the wine. Now go back and taste from the glass again and then with the Wine Prism. What else do you taste? The lingering effects of the volatilized wine should show the fruit components. Depending on the varietal, the grapefruit notes of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc may be undeniable or the dark cherry markers of a Rutherford California Cabernet are apparent. The more components that you taste in a wine suggest complexity which is a quality of a well made wine where the wine reveals itself sequentially - with each sip, you taste something new.
Q: So, you mean I should drink my wine with a straw?
A: As you saw from using the Wine Prism in the previous exercise, there is a difference between wine drinking and wine tasting. Wine tasting requires a much more focused use of the faculties, where as drinking wine is most often a secondary activity added to the enjoyment of food or social interaction. Whenever the focus is on the wine itself, such as with wine tasting, the Wine Prism is simply a useful tool to help with the evaluation, like a glass or tasting notes. The Wine Prism is currently being used by students studying to be wine makers and sommeliers to hone their wine evaluation skills and by staff members in winery tasting rooms, wine bars and restaurants to quickly check wine for flaws and by the wine lover who wants to further their wine education and appreciation.
Q: Will the Wine Prism make my $5 bottle of wine taste like a $45 bottle?
A: Sorry. The Wine Prism can be looked at as an amplifier and is indifferent. The flaws in a wine will be magnified just as with the wine’s attributes. The Wine Prism doesn’t make the wine taste better; it makes you a better wine taster.