5 Wine Tasting Tips
Our Top Tips for Wine Tasting
Are you preparing to go to your first wine tasting, or do you want to have a better idea of how to fully appreciate wine in your own home? There is much more than meets the eye when it comes to wine tasting. Almost all of the senses are involved, and it can be a very pleasant and relaxing experience if you know how to do it right. Wine tasting is great for people who are unsure of which wine to buy at the store, as you will begin to learn what kind of wines and flavors please your palate most.
Wine tasting is a skill that actually takes a while to properly learn. With these 5 wine tasting tips, you will be well on your way to properly tasting wine and starting to learn what you like.
1. Don’t Just Smell and Taste the Wine- Observe It
When you think of a wine tasting, you most likely imagine people giving their glass of wine a big sniff and then a taste. Before you do this, however, you should really take a look at your wine. Hold your glass up to the light and look at it from the side. A murkier colored wine may have had some issues during fermentation. You will most likely enjoy a glass most when the wine is clear and almost has a sparkle to it.
You might see people at wine tastings swirling their glass. This is not just for show! Place your glass on the table and lightly swirl it in a circle. When doing this, you are looking to see if the wine has “legs” that run down the side of the glass. This indicates a more dense, ripe wine with higher alcohol content.
2. Train Your Nose Beforehand So You Know What to Smell For
Before a wine tasting, you can actually train your nose to discover popular scents within the wine. Various fruits, florals, spices, and barrel aromas may be present in a number of wines. Recognize what the most popular scents are so that you are able to pick them out when you are at a wine tasting. You can also use your sense of smell to discern if the wine had turned or if something went wrong during the bottling process. For example, the smell of vinegar or burnt matches are a sure sign that the wine should not be consumed.
3. Let Yourself Enjoy the Taste
Rather than guzzling your glass of wine during a tasting, allow yourself to truly appreciate the taste of the wine. Many experts recommend taking a small sip of wine and sucking in as if you were drinking from a straw. This allows your mouth to act as an aerator, allowing you to experience the full flavor profile of the wine.
Terms such as harmonious, balanced, complete, and complex are often leveraged to describe a wine’s taste. A harmonious tasting wine means the flavors all blend nicely without one note sticking out too much. A balanced wine means all of the basic flavors (sweet, sour, salty, bitter) are proportional. A complex wine is the most interesting to find during a tasting, as the flavors will change in your mouth, allowing you to discover more flavor during the tasting. A complete wine offers all of the above, making it the most satisfying wine to taste. What makes a complete wine will be different to each taster, which is what makes wine tasting so much fun!
4. Be Mindful of How Much You are Actually Drinking
When sampling wine after wine, it is easy to overconsume without realizing it. Be mindful of how much you are drinking during tastings, and don’t be afraid to use the spit bucket so that you are able to keep experiencing the wine. When using the spit bucket, you will follow all the steps of wine tasting except you will spit out the wine before swallowing. This allows seasoned wine tasters to try more wines without drinking too much.
5. Take Notes on What You Do (and Don’t) Like
The purpose of a wine tasting is to have fun and start determining what kind of wines you want to add to your collection. When at a wine tasting, take notes or snap a quick photo of the bottles you absolutely loved and what you weren’t a fan of. Make note of what notes and aromas were the most present in the wines you liked so that you are able to order similar wines when out with friends or at the grocery store.