How To Taste Wine

Wine is a deliciously sophisticated drink enjoyed all over the world. It invokes the concept of romance and elegance along with a little class. Wine is used for celebrations, upscale dinners, social functions, or just an evening with a special someone. What is more is that the art of wine-tasting has become more popular over the years. Wine touches all of our basic senses such as smell, touch, and taste. But wine-tasting is more than just drinking a glass of wine. You need to be able to appreciate the subtle differences in flavors. Being a true wine connoisseur takes real talent and a sensitive palate. If you want to impress your girlfriend and need to know how to taste wine, here are some things to keep in mind when you pop the cork.

Wine Tasting Guide

This wine tasting guide will detail the standard and commonly accepted way to taste wine. First we will begin with preparation.


Before you can taste the wine, you need to prepare it to make sure you have the best conditions in order to provide the best taste. If there are several wines to taste, the order that you taste them in is important. You should always start out with a light wine and progress down to the stronger, more flavorful wines. A good way to arrange a selection of wines is to put white wines before red wines, young wines before older wines, and drier wines before sweeter wines.

You always want to serve wine at just the right temperature. Reds should be served at slightly below room temperature while whites are served slightly above room temperature. Many people believe that a newly opened bottle fo wine needs time to breath. This is only true of certain vintages of reds. If a wine has been properly stored and served at the correct temperature, then it should be perfectly fine to open and immediately drink. Pouring the wine into the wine glass is also usually sufficient airing.

Sometimes red wine must be decanted. This is required only if the wine has developed sediment in the bottle. A good way to decant the wine is to get a light source such as a lamp. Set the bottle up for awhile and let all the sediment settle to the bottom. After you open up the bottle, hold the bottle up to the lamp as you pour it. Watch the neck of the bottle. The light should shine bright enough to see through the bottle. As you slowly pour the wine, watch the neck. As soon as you see sediment appear, stop pouring. It shouldn’t appear until at least half of the wine has been poured. Once sediment appears, throw the rest of the wine away. It may seem like a waste of a good vintage but you don’t want the sediment to ruin the wine.

Look At The Wine

After the bottle of wine has been opened, you will want to inspect its color. To do this, you will want a good wine glass. The glass should be clear so that you can see the color properly. Pour a small amount of wine into the glass, about a third of the way to a half full.

Next, hold the glass up to the light by the stem. You want to see the color of the wine in the best possible light. You want to check out the wine’s color by looking from the rim to the center of the glass. This will give the best variations of color. Red wines are not just red. They can be purple, ruby, maroon, or even a reddish brown depending on their age. Younger reds are darker and have more purple hues while older reds turn to an almost orange hue. You also want to inspect the opacity of the wine. Older reds will be more translucent than younger red wines.

When it comes to the color of white wines, the name is misleading. White wines tend to be yellow or have an almost greenish tint to them. Some of them can even be brown. The more color there is in a white wine, the more flavor it has. White wines do not age very well, at least not as well as reds. Red wines may become richer in flavor as they age but white wines tend to break down.

Smell The Wine

Smell is very important in wines. Since our taste buds can be limited to salty or sweet tastes, smell can alter that taste slightly and create a new experience. Different varieties of wine all have different aromas. When you smell the wine, you are trying to pick out the individual aromas.

To get the best smell out of your wine, swirl it around the glass a few times. Swirling the wine aerates it by stirring up the molecules. After you swirl it, hold the glass a few inches from your face and try to smell it. Just get a quick whiff and then sit back and think about the aroma. Then go back and actually stick your nose inside the glass and take a deeper whiff. All of the aromas define a wine’s character.

And Finally…Taste The Wine

Now it comes down to the big moment. You finally get to taste the wine. Take a small sip and savor the taste. You are looking for certain qualities in the wine. Try to determine if the wine is light or rich, smooth or strong, or heavy or refreshing. Let the first sip sit in your mouth a moment as you contemplate this. You will then either swallow the wine or spit it out into a small spittoon or glass. Many wine-tasting events prefer you to spit the wine out because after you swallow too much wine, your senses become dulled and you cannot accurately taste the wine.

You can then take another sip of the wine and swish it around your mouth. Take in some air to mix with it. This is to give you a second impression and maybe give you the opportunity to pick out some more qualities. After you swallow or spit the wine out, notice the aftertaste. A good wine will leave its taste in your mouth longer than a young or cheaper wine.

After you have finished tasting the wine, if you are at a wine-tasting event you would record your observations on a record sheet. Then you move on to the next wine. Be sure to have a clean palate before smelling or tasting it. Taking a couple of drinks of water should do the trick. You don’t want any of the previous wine lingering. Also make sure you use a clean glass or rinse your glass out with a small amount of the next wine. Keep repeating the process as you try all the different wines and record what you think of them. It may take practice but after you taste enough wines, you eventually start recognizing certain flavors and qualities.

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