Have you ever been to a wine tasting? There are three steps to properly taste wine according to David Fowler of The Blind Pig NC.

3 Steps to tasting wine like a Sommelier

  1. Sight:  Use sight to asses the clarity, brightness and concentration of the wine as well as any bricking that might indicate age.
  2. Nose:  Smelling the wine will reveal the intensity of the wine as well as fruit characteristics and\or presence of exposure to wood.
  3. Palate: Finally tasting the wine will confirm what you just observed with your eyes and nose and allow you to make a conclusion on what is in your glass.


David also answers a few of our questions regarding Wine, Bites & Lights, a wine tasting and pairing being held at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden on December 30th.

How do you pair wine with food?

I look for similarities with the wine and food to be paired while making sure that the wine always has more acid than the dish it is being paired with. No one wants a flabby wine with a bright dish!

How do you pinpoint the flavors of wine?

Practice. I have tasted over 3000 unique wines. Using the deductive tasting grid that I described above allows you to focus on each area of the wine before jumping to a conclusion that could affect the flavors that you are tasting. If you assume what a wine is before even smelling it you are likely to influence your mind into looking for flavors that would support your assumption.

Can you tell where a wine was made just by the taste?

Yes. Without going into too much detail most regions have a distinct terroir that shows in the wines that are produced in that region as well as the grape varietals that are grown in those regions. For example when I taste a bright Chardonnay with a pronounced chalky/mineral finish it immediately makes me think of Chablis France. Likewise if I taste and aged wine with bricking around the rim of the glass and a coconut flavor that I identify as American oak barrels I begin to

think of Rioja Spain. Knowing the history and background and soil make up of each different wine region is as important as being able to taste what grapes are being used.

How much wine do you normally get at a tasting? 

This depends on what style of wine tasting you are attending. For the event at the gardens we will be serving 12 ounces of wine.

What are legs of wine?

The legs are the wine sliding back down the glass. They directly indicate the alcohol content of the wine. The thicker and longer they hang is based on the strength of the wine.

To decant or not to decant? 

Most decanting is done to allow a younger wine open and soften. That being said in my opinion most wines are being made with an impatient customer in mind and decanting is not needed. If you have a vintage wine that needs service or a want to serve a younger tannic wine that was made to cellar such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Barolo then I would recommend decanting.


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David Fowler

Fayetteville native David Fowler has 15 years of experience in the food and beverage industry. He has worked as a wine buyer in both North Carolina and Florida. Positioned as the head wine buyer for a large business in Naples, Florida, he was able to work with top chefs and wine makers. This exposure encouraged him to further his education in the wine field with the US Court of Master Sommeliers. After returning to North Carolina, he opened The Blind Pig NC food truck with his father, Wade, his wife, Polly, and his brother, Will. With the new business, he has the ability to use his wine expertise and his food creativity to bring an amazing new experience to Fayetteville.