One of the most fun steps of wine tasting
is to look at the wine’s tears. Tears are also known as legs, arches, or rivulets. What
they are is when the wine breaks into what looks like paint dripping down a wall, after
you swirl it. Sometimes it’s hard to see, and sometimes it takes a little bit of practice.
Once you see it, it will be very interesting. To look at a wine’s tears, you swirl the glass
of wine. It doesn’t matter how you swirl it. Swirl the glass of wine and then stop; you
have to be patient and wait a minute; and you watch where the wine is drifting down
the glass. Eventually, most wines will break into little rivulets; otherwise known as legs
or tears or arches, and what they mean is the more tears, the more body in a wine. Tears
are a reflection of the amount of sugar or alcohol in a wine. Water is slipping down
the side of the glass very quickly and very easily into the glass, but the little sugar
molecules; the little alcohol molecules are hanging out by themselves on the side of the
glass. It takes a while for them to group together and be heavy enough to sink down,
and once they do, they sink down very slowly, and very carefully, and they’re forming those
beautiful tears. Tears, legs, arches, rivulets; they don’t have anything to do with the wine’s
quality. A lot of people will say; oh, it’s a very fine wine, it has long, slow legs.
That’s not really true, but it does tell you quite a bit about the wine’s power and the
wine’s body. The heavier the wine, the more alcohol or the more sugar the wine has; the
slower, and thicker, and more interesting the tears will be.