Wine 101: How to Taste Wine

wine 101 how to taste wine

Wine Tasting – This is a step by step guide on how on how to taste wine this page will teach you how to decipher what wines you are tasting and in some instances where their from and how old they are and if done properly over time will increase your pallet and smell senses

Step 1: The look

red wine tasting niagara on the lakeFirst you will need one very clean wine glass one sheet of plain white paper(A4) a bottle of wine (of course) and be in an environment with natural light when you first pour the wine into the glass don’t fill it right to the top about a third of the glass would be good hold the glass at the stem because cupping the glass or just holding the glass could cause the temperature of the wine to rise in one hand take your piece of A4 and hold behind the glass of wine while holding the stem of the glass tilt the glass to about 45 degrees now look down on the wine this should give you some first important things to look for when tasting wine.you should be able to see how clear the wine is whether it has minute bubbles or foreign bodies,how deep the colour is,what sort of hue it is and how much colour comes from the centre of the rim with white wine you don’t have to tilt the wine but it is a good habit to get into

Wine should always be clear and bright never cloudy or hazy if it is. this could be caused by sediment being shaken up in the bottle or the wine being contaminated. sediment is not that common in white wines but if present in red wines this could suggest that the wine has some age to it (probably about seven years) and has not been too filtered which should go in its favor. after a couple of years a deposit in the bottle might start to appear the sediment should be left in the bottle as it tends to have a bitter taste small colour crystals may appear at the bottom of your glass or a bottle of wine this is harmless tartrate crystals and show that the wine has not been over treated

bubbles in still wines may not be a good sign indicating unwanted re-fermentation but a few tiny bubbles in white wine may be the style of the wine such as Portugal’s vinho verde which are bottled with a small amount of carbon dioxide which is a particular style of vino verde. bad secondary bubbles will give a vinegary sharpness to both smell and taste.

Although colour is less noticeable in white wines there are still some very good clues to where the wine might be from such as a tint of green might suggest that the wine is a mosel or a Chablis when when you see brownish tinges in wine this is a good sign good white wines go darker with age by this time the wine will be heavily oxidized which gives them a sherry like taste paler wines tend to come cooler climates and deeper yellow wines tend to come from warmer climates mainly the southern hemisphere but sweet wines including northern Germany and oak aged wines tend to have more colour too.

With red wines it is a lot more easier to look for age quality and provenance red wines gradually shed their colour mostly as sediment which means they become paler with age changing from deep purple red ,through to ruby ,to brick red the place to look for the age of a red wine is the rim the paler or browner it is the more mature the wine is a good red wine that is designed to last and age is not to be drunk within the first two or three years will tend to have lots of deep colour because of the tannin content which gives red wines their ability to age.

Step 2: Swirl

swirling wineFirst either put the glass on the table or hold by the stem and start to swirl the glass not too fiercely just nice and slowly practice with a glass of water first if you need to the whole point of the swirl is to let the wine react with the air so it can release its smells and aromas but before you start to sell have another look at the wine look how to see the way the wine glings to the glass or ho it trickles down the glass this can tell you a few more things about the wine such as a wine that trickles slowly and in distinct lines or legs means the wine is high in alcohol, sugar or both a wine that runs down the glass quickly with raggedy lines may be old, dry,or very light.

Step 3: Smell

smelling wineAfter the swirl put your nose in the glass and have a good sniff one long sniff is best try to avoid short sniffs the first thing you will notice that wine rarely tastes of grapes it smells of wine with the exception of the muscat grape the important thing to remember is to describe the smells yourself nobody can tell you that it does,nt smell a certain way besides this will help you to remember certain wines in future tasting’s try to avoid trying to say what the wine should smell like because in some cases you wont recognize the smells if you think a wine smell of petrol or old boots say it no matter how strange it may seem because some of the wine experts use more obscure descriptions than this because there is reportedly more than 500 chemical compounds found in wine many relating to different smells.

Step 4: Taste

tasting wineYes the moment you’ve been waiting for the taste take a generous sip of the wine but not a mouthful swirl the wine gently around your mouth ensuring it reaches every taste bud some people tilt their head back slightly and suck some air into their mouth allowing them to get more flavor out of the wine use the tip of your tongue to detect whether the wine is sweet or not use the sides of your tongue to taste how acidic or tannic the wine might be. usually when you taste wine it normally tastes as it smells don’t worry about making strange noises or faces when tasting everybody has different ways of tasting wine which they find best for them.

You don’t always have to spit the wine out it wont make a difference to the taste whether you do or don’t there might be a couple of reasons number one you may not like the wine or number 2 you might be tasting several wines and want to be responsible by not getting intoxicated if you’re serious about tasting wine or just like tasting wine as a hobby take some conclusion notes about the appearance,smells and tastes of a particular wine remember wine tasting takes practice you wont be an expert after one sip of wine but with the above steps you can make an educated guess at the characteristics of different wines below are some Wine tasting terms which are widely used in the wine world which may help you describe what your tasting.

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