How To Taste Wines
Learning how to taste wines is a straightforward
adventure that will deepen your appreciation for both wines and
winemakers. Look, smell and taste - starting with your basic
senses and expanding from there you will learn how to taste
wines like the pros in no time!
Time Required: 15
1. LookPour a glass of
wine into a suitable wine glass. Then take a good look at the
wine. What color is it? Look beyond red, white or blush. If it's
a red wine is the color maroon, purple, ruby, garnet, red or
even brownish. If it's a white wine is it clear, straw-like,
golden, light green, pale yellow or brown in appearance?
2. Still Looking. Move on to the
wine's opacity. Is the wine clear, cloudy, transparent or
opaque? Tilt your glass a bit, give it a little swirl - look
again, you are looking at color, clarity, brilliance (sounds
like you're finding the perfect diamond!) - is there sediment,
bits of cork or any other floating bits? An older red wine will
be more translucent than younger red wines.
3. Smell Our sense of
smell is critical in properly analyzing a glass of wine. To get
a good impression of your wine's aroma, gently swirl your glass
(this will enhance the wine's natural aromas) and then take a
quick whiff to gain a first impression.
4. Still Smelling. Now stick
your nose down into the glass and take a deep inhale
through your nose. What are your second impressions? Do you
smell oak, berry, flowers, vanilla or citrus? A wine's aroma is
an excellent indicator of its quality and unique
5. Taste Finally, take a
taste. Start with a small sip and let it roll around your
tongue. There are three stages of taste:
6. Taste - After
gathering your initial impression of the wine, allow a small
breath of air in through your lips and allow the wine to mingle
with the air (called swirling). This will allow you to taste
flavors more fully (even if you look or sound a bit funny). What
do you taste? Reds will often have berry, woody and bell pepper
tastes. White wines will often have apple, floral or citrus
flavors associtated with them.
7. Initial Taste - This
is your first impression of the wine's components and flavors.
8. Finish - The wine's
finish is how long the flavor lasts after it is swallowed. Did
it last several seconds? Was it light-bodied (like water) or
full-bodied (like the consistency of milk)?
9. After you have taken the time
to taste your wine, you might record some of your impressions.
Did you like the wine overall? Does it taste better with cheese,
bread or a heavy meal? Will you buy it again? If so, jot the
wine's name, producer and year down for future reference.