How to Taste Wine Correctly
When it comes to tasting wine, it can either be a light-hearted experience or a serious undertaking. Developing your palate and knowledge about wine can be used to help you express what you do and don’t enjoy in wine. When you’re able to identify key characteristics such as light body versus full-body, levels of acidity, and fruitiness, you will be able to communicate your preferences and become more informed of different types of wine.
While some people definitely have a better palate than others, you can use a few easy techniques that will improve your wine tasting buds, and therefore, your enjoyment of drinking a variety of wine.
Four Tips for Tasting Wine Correctly
Before you begin to sip on your wine, check out the color, opacity, and viscosity. This step is designed to observe the color and intensity of the wine. Consider whether the wine is light, pale white wine, or a deeply gold-colored, and maybe a dark, rich red. Next, you’ll want to look for the opacity. Depending on if the wine is translucent or super-concentrated, these visual cues can help you determine things like the grape variety, age, and provenance of the wine.
Keeping the base of the glass on the table, gently swirl in a clockwise motion. Sniff immediately after swirling, with your mouth slightly open as you breathe in. For white wines, you should be receiving citruses, orchard fruits, or tropical fruits. When smelling reds, you could sense red fruits, blue fruits, or black fruits. When looking for one particular note, you can divide the smells into three primary categories:
- Primary Aromas: grape-derivative and include fruits, herbs, and floral notes
- Secondary Aromas: source from winemaking practices and are yeast-derivative.
- Tertiary Aromas: come from aging, usually in a bottle or oak. These aromas are mostly savory: old tobacco, cedar, baking spices, and roasted nuts.
When you take your first sip, try to identify and analyze the wine’s flavors. In whites, you will notice things like how high the acidity is and has a mouthwatering feel. In reds, you will look for the number of tannins and a mouth-drying sensation. Your tongue can touch the wine and perceive the texture in higher-level alcohol or riper wine. The taste of the wine is also time-based, meaning there is always a beginning, middle (mid-palate), and end (finish).
For high-quality wines, the tasting process does not stop when you swallow. When you are at the savor stage, you should try to assess how long the taste lasts. Consider whether or not it has a short finish or a long finish. Also, think about if the wine tastes balanced or if there are any characteristics like acidity or alcohol that overshadow the other. Most importantly, decide if you liked it or not and why.
As a wine lover, host a wine tasting party as a fun and creative way to share your passion with friends, try new wines, and improve your palate. Located in Asheville, MetroWines offers a wide selection of wines, expert advice, and great service.