A Guide to Wine Tasting


Whether you are an experienced wine drinker or you are just newly coming to the table where wine is concerned, you may not have experience in the art of wine tasting. When a sommelier takes that first sip of wine from their every so classy wine glass, they are engaging all of their senses in the experience of wine tasting. While this may seem fancy and sophisticated, it really is not as difficult as it seems, and as wine tasting vacations and day trips become more popular and common, it behooves the casual or new wine drinker to become accustomed to the art of wine tasting. Here is a guide to wine tasting that even a beginner can use to start a new adventure in wine expertise.

Learning about wine and the different varietals and regions where wine is produced can help you become familiar with the terminology you will see on wine labels as your taste and purchase wine. With just a little research you can become familiar with most common varieties of grapes used and where their wines are produced. After you become familiar with the most common varieties of wines, it is time to start your journey into wine tasting. There are generally three areas in which one must concentrate to get the full impact of a wine. These are appearance, smell and taste. It really is simple, but the trick is to let all your senses work together to get the full effect.

  • Appearance: Take a few seconds to really look at the appearance of the wine as you gently swirl it around the bottom of your wine glass. Look at the clarity of the liquid as well as the color. Is the color transparent or opaque? The deepness of the color can often indicate the intensity of the flavor.
  • Aroma: Aerating wine is an important step to take to be able to take in the full aroma or bouquet of the wine. Decanting at least thirty minutes can give the best results, but letting the wine sit for at least three minutes and then doing the swirl to oxygenate will allow you smell the fruits of the wine maker’s labor much better. Try to distinguish whether the wine has a fruity or citrusy smell. Does it have a woodsy or mossy aroma? These distinctions will make the tasting that much more intense.
  • Taste: When actually tasting the wine there are three steps as the wine moves through your mouth. The initial flavor, the evolution to the center of the tongue and the finish. The initial tastes will target the taste buds and you will taste the bitter, sour or sweet flavors.  The evolution is the sensations and tastes as the wine travels through your mouth. Is the wine light and airy or have a dry taste? Finally, the finish is how long do the flavors linger and what overall impact do they have on your senses.

Using this simple guide to wine tasting will help you learn about wines and cultivate a palate that enjoys not just the taste of the wine but the entire experience itself.

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