Expectorate! No, it's not a magic spell. Yes, it's the silliest thing I've ever done with high-priced wine. But if you knew what I was up against, you might not judge.
The meaning of the word expectorate
I actually think this action verb sounds magical, like a spell you might learn at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But in reality, it's quite a primal act. Spit.
How wine entered the equation
My first - and last - expectorate experience was an introductory sommelier course with the Court of Master Sommeliers. The Court is an association of the most masterful, talented wine geeks around. A fun bunch, as I expected. Amazingly engaging and amusing, except for the part when they told me to expectorate.
You see, I'd been wine tasting before, of course. Living in California for many years provides plenty of opportunity. But never, had I ever, sent it back out. Always down the hatch. Alas, when you participate for educational purposes, a bit of frivolity is sacrificed.
The room where it happened
You see, the first level sommelier certification course is an intense weekend that includes blind tasting around 12 wines both days. And it all begins before breakfast. If you didn't expectorate, you'd be toast by lunch.
19 reasons to expectorate
Clarity, brightness, intensity, color, rim variation, viscosity, condition, aroma intensity, bouquet, fruit, earth, wood, sweetness level, body, tannins, alcohol, acidity, complexity, length of finish. (I know). There is no way to possibly retain even half of the information shared with an early morning buzz.
So the name of the game was to sniff, sip, swish and finish with the incantation-like Expectorate! Or in less magical terms, spit.
Otherwise, there was no chance of gaining anything other than a mind-numbing stupor.
Yours in wine,