Enjoying a glass of wine is a personal experience. You don’t have to be an expert. Wine tasting is about developing your awareness to the subtleties of the wine’s character. Follow the steps below to enhance your enjoyment and appreciation of wine.
Pour a glass of wine and hold it up by the stem. Look at the wine to notice its clarity and color. It should be clear, not cloudy. White wine colors range from a pale, almost clear color to a golden yellow. Red wine colors range from dark, deep red to a light pale red.
Swirling is to oxygenate the wine which releases the chemical components that produce the aromas and smooths out the taste of the wine. It is basically the same as allowing a bottle of wine to breathe for a while once opened.
Inhale the wine to try to identify what you smell. Is the smell fruity or spicy? Does it remind you of any familiar scents? Wines have a variety of smells that you may identify in your tasting. Hints of citrus, apple, cherry, blackberry, raspberry, plum, flowers and tobacco are all familiar smells that may be identified. Also, while contemplating the smell, notice if the wine is thick or thin, bright and fresh, soft and mellow.
Take a sip of the wine and roll it around in your mouth to reach all the taste buds. Then, breathe some air through your lips which will help bring out the aromas. The wine may be acidic or tannic if it makes you pucker, or hot and burning if it has high alcohol content. A well balanced wine will not overwhelm your palate. The feel of the wine is your mouth is called texture.
When tasting multiple wines, many enthusiasts prefer to spit. If the wine lingers in your mouth and throat after you spit it is a sign of good length and body.
Sweet vs. Dry
Winemaking is the process of turning the natural sugars in grapes to alcohol. A sweet wine will have the taste of sugar whereas a dry wine is fermented until most of the sugar is gone.
The body of wine is described as light, medium, or full. It actually refers to the weight of the wine in your mouth and not delicate or intense flavor of the wine.