Are you new to this totally foreign ‘wine-tasting’ thing? Fret not; with this post, you will be able to learn how to do so just like a wine guru.
However, the most important thing that you should do before you commence your wine-tasting, is to ensure that you are in a spot-on tasting environment. Not entirely sure what this means? We will break it down for you below, crystal clear. The environment that you are in has an extremely profound effect on the taste of the wine that you are tasting.
First of all, noise is an important factor to look out for when tasting wine. A relatively quiet room will enable you to concentrate wholly on the wine instead of the people or objects that are making noises around you.
Next up is smell. Smells such as cooking fumes and perfumes can hinder your sense of smell. Relatively, if your wine glass smells musky or reeks of detergent, you can ‘condition your wine glass’ by swirling the wine that you are about to taste around all sides.
Wine Glass Conditioning
Let’s move on to the actual wine-tasting now.
Step 1: Sight
Evaluate the color, opacity and the viscosity (wine legs) of the wine. The wine legs are the little streaks of wine that flow down the sides of the glass.
Step 2: Smell
Swirl the glass and start smelling the wine. Do not try to be too specific while looking for a particular note as it can lead to frustration, which disrupts the wine-tasting process.
Try to divide the notes of a wine into 3 main categories, namely the primary, secondary and tertiary aromas.
Primary aromas: these aromas come from the grapes which the wine was made from and can smell fruity, herbal or floral.
Secondary aromas: these aromas come from the wine-making practices. The most common type derives from the yeast.
Tertiary aromas: these aromas come from aging, is usually in bottle or oak and are mostly savory.
Step 3: Taste
Evaluate the taste and texture of the wine. Tastes such as saltiness, sourness, sweetness and bitterness can be detected by the tongue. A degree of sourness will definitely be detected in each and every bottle of wine as all grapes inherently have some acid in them.
Textures can also be felt, which is caused by tannins in the wines. The tannins cause a sandpaper or ‘tongue-depressor’ and drying sensation in wines.
Step 4: Conclude
After these 3 steps, take a moment and evaluate if:
- The wine tasted balanced or out of balance,
- Whether you liked it or not,
- Whether it was unique or common, and
- Whether there were any characteristics about the wine that shone through and impressed you.
There you have it, a complete guide on how to taste a wine the professional way.