Wine tasting is like speed dating for your mouth. You get a quick preview of the wine and decide whether or not you want to get to know it better. Knowing how to taste wine properly will help you to fully appreciate what each has to offer. Follow these easy steps to maximize your tasting experience.
- Be open-minded about categories of wines. It is essential to go into a wine tasting without prejudice. If you think that pink wines are only for girls night out, you might miss out on the refreshing subtleties of a Cotes de Province Rosé.
- Pour about 2 ounces of wine into your glass.
- Look at the color. Tip your glass over a white background and observe the color. A younger red wine will have a pretty purple or red hue, while an older red wine will have a tinge of brown on the edge. A white wine that has never seen a barrel may be very pale yellow, while a California Chardonnay will usually have a more golden color. Rosé wines can range from salmon to rose petal pink to almost-red-wine colored. While the color does not affect the taste, it can give you information about what to expect with the wine.
- Swirl the wine. Swirling liberates the aromas of the wine. To swirl the wine, place your glass on a hard surface and make continuous circles with the base of the glass until the wine creates a vortex. The faster you swirl, the higher the liquid will travel up the walls of the glass. Do not overfill your glass or you will have a mess! Wine ninja tip: when you get the hang of swirling your glass on a hard surface, you can practice swirling with the base of the glass resting on your palm.
- Sniff the wine. Immediately after swirling the wine, stick your nose in the glass, like all the way up to the bridge. Inhale the aromas and pause. Notice what you pick up. Red wines often have aromas of red fruits (plum, strawberry, blackberry), toast, oak, vanilla, eucalyptus or pepper. The fruity aromas in white wines can be tropical, citrus and apple/pear/quince fruits. You may also notice grass, vanilla or oak. A rosé can have any of these aromas. Any wine can also have a buttery aroma.
- Take a sip of wine. What do you taste when the wine first enters your mouth? How about after you swallow, er. spit it out? The initial flavors are similar to the fruity flavors in the aroma, along with sweetness and acidity. Then the oaky characteristics (vanilla, oak, toast) kick in, followed by the structural components (tannins). They are often astringent and cling to the tongue.
- Evaluate the wine. Do you like it? Do you want another sip? Could you enjoy a glass of it? A bottle?
By practicing these easy steps, you will be come a proficient in wine tasting in no time Happy sipping!