How to Properly Taste Wine
Properly tasting wine involves more than just your sense of taste. In order to evaluate wine, you need to use your senses of smell, sight, and taste. The following are the steps to doing a wine evaluation in only 15 minutes.
Evaluate the Wine by Sight
When you evaluate wine using your sense of sight, you’re going to do the following in order look for color and clarity.
- Pour the wine into a suitable wine glass.
- Tilt the glass away from you and inspect the color from the rim edges to the middle (to make it easier to see, use a white background such as a white napkin, tablecloth or paper).
- Identify the color, but look beyond the general color, such as red or white. Be specific. If it’s a red wine, ask yourself if the color is purple, ruby, garnet, deep red, or brownish. If it’s a white wine, identify whether it is clear, pale yellow, golden, straw-like, light green, brown, amber, or has a golden appearance. Red wines lose color and begin to brown as they age. If the wine is red and you notice the wine is brownish on the outer part of the glass that may mean it’s old wine and the quality is not good. On the other hand, white wines naturally gain color as they age.
- Identify the wine’s opacity. Look to see if it’s opaque or translucent, cloudy or clear.
Evaluate the Wine by Smell
- Swirl the wine in the glass for about 10 seconds. This will allow the natural aromas to rise so it’s easier to smell.
- Smell the wine and try to classify the scent-does it have a citrus, floral, oak scent? Do you like the scent? A wine’s aroma is an excellent indicator of its quality and unique characteristics.
- Swirl the wine and sniff it again.
Evaluate the Wine by Taste
There are 3 phases of evaluating the wine by taste. You’re evaluating different things in each phase.
- Taste the wine first to identify if the wine is creamy or crisp, light or heavy, dry or sweet.
- Taste the wine to identify flavor such as fruity, spicy, cinnamon, etc.
- Taste the wine in order to identify how long the flavor lasts after it’s swallowed. Ask yourself what flavor was your last impression and how long did the taste remain after sipping the wine.
Once you’ve completed the wine tasting evaluation, write down your impressions. Repeat the process with other wines and as you continue wine tasting you will have a clearer picture of what you like and don’t like.