How To Wine Taste
How To Wine Taste

How To Wine Taste – Or At Least Bluff It

How To Wine Taste – Or At Least Bluff It

Wine tasting is a sensory experience that anyone can appreciate, regardless of their wine knowledge. It is a way of socialising while expanding your knowledge of wine and indulging in the art of tasting.  If you have never been to one before or have limited knowledge of wine, this guide will help you learn how to wine taste.

The first rule of wine tasting is to handle the wine glass carefully. Please pay attention to where you hold the glass; always have it by the stem. This ensures that the warmth of your hand does not affect the wine’s temperature, which can alter its flavour. Additionally, the glass should be clear and free from any smudges or residue that could interfere with your ability to see the wine’s colour.

The colour of the wine can provide valuable information about its age and variety. Red wines come in varying shades, from light to deep brownish red. Younger red wines tend to have a more purple tint, while older ones have a more brownish hue. The colour of the wine can also reveal its grape variety and production process. For instance, Pinot Noir wines are typically lighter in colour than Cabernet Sauvignon, which is more intense and darker.

When it comes to wine tasting, the next step is to swirl the wine in your glass. This helps release the flavours and aromas which you can smell. A wine’s bouquet can reveal a lot about its flavour profile, such as its fruitiness, spiciness, or oaky notes. Your sense of smell is crucial in wine tasting since research has shown that over three-quarters of our taste is due to our sense of smell.

When you swirl the wine in your glass, you may observe “legs” or “tears” on the side of the glass. These are the droplets that form and run down the side of the glass. They can provide insight into the wine’s alcohol content and sugar content. Wines with higher alcohol or sugar content tend to have more prominent legs.

When it comes to tasting the wine, there are two essential steps: the initial taste and the aftertaste. The initial taste is your first impression of the wine, which helps you to discern its general flavour profile. After taking the first sip, it is essential to swish the wine around your mouth to allow all your taste buds to discover the full flavour of the wine. Please pay attention to its weight, whether light or heavy, and whether it has a smooth or rough texture.

The aftertaste is the sensation that remains in your mouth after swallowing the wine. This is where you can detect any lingering flavours or undertones. The length of the aftertaste and whether it was pleasant or unpleasant can give you further insight into the wine’s overall quality.

There are different types of wine glasses designed for specific wine varietals. For instance, a glass designed for white wines has a smaller bowl, while red wines have a wider bowl. The design of a wine glass can affect the wine’s flavour and aroma, and using the appropriate glass for each wine variety can enhance your wine-tasting experience.

Moreover, the temperature at which wine is served can also influence its flavour. Generally, white wines are served chilled, while red wines are served at room temperature. However, specific wine varietals may have different serving temperatures.

For instance, lighter-bodied red wines such as Pinot Noir are better served slightly chilled, while full-bodied red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon are better served at room temperature.The region in which the wine was produced can also influence its flavour. For instance, a Cabernet Sauvignon grown in Napa Valley may taste different from one made in France. This is because other regions have different soil types, weather patterns, and winemaking techniques that can impact the wine’s flavour.

When pairing wine with food, there are some basic rules to follow. White wines pair well with fish, chicken, and light pasta, while red wines pair well with red meat, hearty pasta, and spicy dishes. Sweet wines pair well with desserts while sparkling wines pair well with appetisers and light dishes.

It’s also important to note that the vintage of wine can impact its flavour. A vintage wine is made entirely from grapes harvested in a single year. The climate and weather conditions during that year can affect the wine’s flavour, making it either better or worse than wines from other years. Vintage wines are often more expensive than non-vintage ones, as they are considered higher quality.

When storing wine, keeping it in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat, is essential. In addition, wine should be stored horizontally, as this helps to keep the cork moist and prevents it from drying out. Dried-out corks can allow air to enter the bottle, which can cause the wine to spoil.

In conclusion, wine tasting is an art anyone can enjoy, regardless of their wine knowledge. It’s a way to socialise while expanding your knowledge of wine and indulging in the art of tasting. When it comes to wine tasting, it’s essential to handle the wine glass carefully, pay attention to its colour and aroma, and take note of its initial taste and aftertaste.

Using the appropriate wine glass and serving temperature can enhance your wine-tasting experience, and pairing wine with food can bring out the best flavours. Finally, storing wine properly is crucial in maintaining its quality and ensuring it lasts for years. With these tips, you can impress your friends and loved ones with your newfound wine-tasting skills.



Main image: Atilla, Adobe Stock

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