An easy guide on how to taste wine
Have you ever been intimidated by a wine list at a restaurant or not quite know what to do at a wine tasting? Fear not, wine should be a fun and enjoyable experience. This guide will set you up with the basics and have you looking like a pro in no time.
Wine tasting can be done in 3 easy steps. Here is a beginner’s guide on how to taste wine.
How to taste wine in 3 easy steps
Step 1: Look
Tilt your wine glass at an angle to assess the colour. It is best to do this either against a white tablecloth or the blank page of a menu.
Hazy wine can indicate a fault. Sediment and colour can indicate age. As wines age, sediment can form and settle in the bottom of a bottle, it is made up of natural by-products and is totally safe to drink.
In white wines, older wines can develop more of a darker golden tone, whereas red wines can change from a bright ruby red to a brownish brick red colour with age.
Step 2: Swirl and smell
Gently swirl the wine in the glass. This allows the wine to breathe and helps release aroma compounds.
Now put your nose in the glass and take a sniff. 90% of taste comes from smell, so this step is crucial in wine tasting. What are the main notes you are getting? Wines can encompass many flavours, from fruits to forest floor, toast, and baking spices.
Step 3: Taste
Take a sip and let the wine coat your palate. The tongue map below indicates the parts of the tongue that are most sensitive to each of the tastes.
Tasting the wine allows you to assess not only the different flavours but also the body and length of the wine. Is it watery, or giving more of an oily mouthfeel? Has it got a long or short finish?
If you are tasting red wine, you can also determine the tannin structure. Tannins create that mouth-coating feeling that can lead to a drying sensation in the mouth. They are comprised of compounds that add bitterness and astringency, often described as adding complexity to how wines taste.
When wine tasting, think about the foods that you eat in your day-to-day life. The more you take note of what different flavours taste like, the better you will be at identifying them in a glass of wine. The saying is true after all, practice makes perfect. Sharing wine is a very social activity, share your tasting notes with the table and learn how differently each person may interpret the wine.
Put your skills to the test and learn more about wine tasting. Book a visit to our cellar door and choose from many different wine flights and ask our wine experts for more handy tips on how to taste wine.