8 Easy Steps to Taste Wine – Beginner’s Guide

Wine is not just like any other drink. It is a drink that takes time and goes through a lot before it gets to tables. With that, you do not want to treat it like the others. You want to treat it right by tasting it properly.

Now, are you wondering how to taste wine? Well, you do not have to wonder for long. That is what we will talk about today! We have plenty to discuss, so let’s not dilly-dally. Let’s get right into it!

1. Prepare to Taste the Wine

Prepare to Taste the Wine

To taste wine properly, you first want to make some preparations.

First, you want to prepare the area.

It would be best to taste wine where there is good lighting. Additionally, if possible, you want the area to be free of scents and odors.

Finally, you might also want to do your wine tasting in a quiet place. These conditions might not make much sense right now. However, you will likely understand the importance of these things as we go along.

Aside from the area, you also want to prepare yourself. It would be best not to do some wine tasting when you are sick. Even a fever or cold could dull your senses; you will not taste the wine properly then.

After that, you want to keep your palate clean and clear before tasting wine. This way, no other factor would affect the taste of your wine. If you ate something and can still taste it, it might be best to have some water and bread before you go ahead.

Finally, you also want to prepare your wine glass.

Using a clear glass would be ideal for tasting wine. Additionally, you might also want to opt for one with a stem. Finally, you might also want to consider the size of your chosen glass.

Again, these things might not be making much sense now. However, you will likely see the significance of these things as we move along with our discussion.

2. Look at the Wine

Look at the Wine

To properly taste wine, you first want to take a good look at it. You want to look at the wine from every angle possible. Above, below, on the side, and even tilted. As you can see, this is why you have to consider the glass and glass size; and why good lighting is ideal.

Note the color, shade, clarity, and viscosity of the wine. These things might not seem much, but they reveal many of the characteristics of the wine. For example, the color can tell you the variety. On the other hand, the shade and clarity can hint at the age.

Finally, the viscosity can say something about the sugar and alcohol levels. As you can see, looking can prepare your palate, and once you get the hang of it, there will come a day when looking at a glass of wine will already give you a taste of it.

Another thing you want to note is sediments. While sediments are not harmful, they can ruin the wine. It does not have any flavor, and its texture can be unpleasant. Look for it and avoid it when tasting wine.

3. Smell the Wine

Smell the Wine

Next, you want to smell the wine.

Most – if not all – wines have more than one aroma. After all, the grape, winemaking practices, and wine aging all pitch in to create a unique and complex scent for each wine. With that, in this step, you do not have to zero in on a single note.

Additionally, you do not have to name all of the scents. When starting, you want to think broadly first. For example, instead of pointing to a specific flower, you might simply note that the wine has a floral aroma.

To smell the wine, you first want to distance it from your nose. The further you can get it away from your nose and still smell it, the more likely you can expect the wine to be of good quality. Next, you want to bury your nose in your glass.

You might want to take a few whiffs before you move on. That is okay. However, make sure to take small breaks in between sniffs. This way, your brain could process the distinct smells.

Our sense of smell works hand in hand with our sense of taste to detect flavors. Smelling the wine better, then, will allow you to taste it better too.

As you might already know, there are only five things we can taste. That is sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami. Anything else you can taste, you can with the aid of your sense of smell.

4. Taste the Wine

Taste the Wine

Finally, it’s time to actually taste the wine. You might be excited after all the waiting. However, you only want to take small sips at first.

Additionally, you do not want to swallow it immediately. Let it linger in your mouth for a few moments, taking note of not only the flavors but also the tannins, body, and acidity.

Once you swallow, you want to note the aftertaste and how long the taste lingers.

5. Swirl the Wine

Swirl the Wine

Do not finish your drink yet! After you have taken a sip or two, you want to swirl your wine. To do this step, you want to put your wine glass on a flat surface. After that, you want to hold the stem. You can either use your forefinger and thumb or your middle and ring fingers.

Finally, slowly and firmly swirl your wine for a few moments. That is not the only way to do it, though. Check this video out to compare and contrast the two common ways to go about swirling:

There is no right or wrong way to swirl, though. If you find that there is an easier way for you to swirl your wine, you can go with that.

The only thing you might want to keep in mind with wine swirling is that it is not a competition of who can do it in the fastest or flashiest way. If possible, it would be best to be subtle about this step. Doing a showy swirl might annoy your fellow oenophiles.

6. Repeat

Yes, you’ve read that right. You want to repeat steps 2 to 4 here.

Swirling your wine can help enhance the wine. However, you will only see its full potential if you do a before and after tasting. As you repeat steps 1 to 3, ensure you note the difference before and after swirling. This is truly tasting your wine, getting to know it before and after its “transformation.”

7. Pondering and Profiling

Pondering and Profiling

Once you get through steps 1 to 5, it is time to sit back and ponder as you finish your glass. Ask yourself questions. Did you like it? What did you not like about it? What makes it different from the others? How would you describe it?

Some of these questions could be easy to answer as they are a matter of preference. However, you might find some of these questions intimidating. The last one, for example. As you might already know, there is already an established vocabulary between oenophiles.

Now, that goes for notes and flavors too. With that, you might have your reservation about your descriptions. Don’t, though! Make a profile of the wines you taste on paper or in your head and use that as a reference for future wine tastings.

Your wine profile does not have to make sense to others but yourself. Also, over time, you will familiarize yourself with the different words and terms in the wine world. If you keep tasting, learning, and talking to other wine lovers, you will find yourself a pro at the lingo one day!

8. Develop Your Palate

Develop Your Palate

You now know how to taste wine. It does not have to stop there, though. It is now time to refine your new skill! There are several ways to go about harnessing your new skill.

First, you can do wine tastings at your local wineries. On the other hand, you might want to do some blind tasting with some friends. Still, you might want to subscribe to a wine subscription box to compare different wines alone.

These are only some examples, though. How you want to go about it depends on you. The only thing you might want to keep in mind is that this skill will likely only develop if you keep tasting different wines. So, go ahead! Use this as a free pass to take a few wine bottles home!

Summary

How to taste wine? Today, we answered this question in eight easy steps. First, to taste wine, you want to prepare the area, yourself, and the glass. After that, you want to look at it. Here, you should note the grape’s color, shade, clarity, and viscosity as these lets you taste the wine by looking.

Next, you want to smell it. Here, you should note the aromas of the wine, as detecting these scents will aid in tasting the drink better.

Then, it is time to taste it. Here, you want to note the flavors, tannins, body, and acidity. After that, you want to swirl the wine and repeat steps 2 to 4. Finally, profiling finishes it off.

We hope we got to help you with another wine worry today, and if you have more, well, you know where to find us!

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