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How to taste wine

How to taste wine

Wine tasting is about exploring and expressing your preferences

A greater understanding of wine can and will enhance your enjoyment of the product. The essence of wine lies predominantly in its colour, aroma, and flavour. It is the diversity of these attributes that has fascinated wine consumers for centuries, while winemakers continually seek new - and rediscover old - techniques to enhance varietal characters. Before starting your tasting session, make sure everything is ready. All details count to make your experience as perfect as possible.

How to taste wine

Three steps to taste

1. A noisy or crowded room will make it difficult to concentrate

2. External smells such as colognes and perfumes, kitchen or house-pets smells might alter the wine’s aromas

3. If you can, try to have the appropriate glasses. Their size, shape, cleanness will also have an impact on the wine.

Now that everything is ready, remember that the appreciation of wine can be broken down into three different areas: appearance, smell, and taste. All three are important aspects of every wine’s character, but taste is considered as the most critical as it encompasses both flavour and texture and confirms the wines’ characteristics.

  • Look
  • Smell
  • Taste

Clarity is an indication of the character and condition of the wine.

Colour (intensity and shade) can help determine the variety and/or age of the wine.

Red wine goes from red to brown as it ages, white wine from light green/yellow to gold.

The ‘tears’ left on the inside side of the glass after swirling can be indicative of the amount of glycerol and alcohol present in the wine.

Now that you have taken a good look at the wine, give the glass a swirl to free all its aromas.

Before trying to identify the wine’s flavours, try to spot if there are any off aromas that could indicate a wine is spoiled (for example a corked wine will smell like an old attic, etc.).

Once you have confirmed the wine is good, inhale and try to identify as many flavour compounds as possible for example: fruit aromas such as flowers, herbs, spices, vegetables; barrel aromas such as vanilla, smoke, chocolate, etc.).

Look for identifiers such as freshness, intensity of aroma and sensation. Most wines have a vast array of smells that change and develop with time in the glass.

The final step of your tasting has finally arrived! Take a small sip of wine and try sucking it into your mouth. It might not sound very nice, but it is the best way for the wine to aerate and circulate in your whole mouth.

The texture of a wine can provide clues as to how the wine is made.
Progression of flavour from when the wine enters your mouth to after you swallow, is an indicator of the quality of the wine. A long aftertaste is generally a positive indication of quality.

After looking, smelling, and tasting, make an overall assessment of the wine – a lasting impression of harmony and balance is considered desirable and easiest to enjoy.