By the end of this post, you will know how to taste wine in the simplest four steps. These steps are commonly practiced by professional wine tasters but are surprisingly easy to understand even for non-professionals. Anyone can taste wine, all you need is a glass of wine and your brain. There are 4 steps to wine tasting: look, smell, taste and think.
How to Taste Wine
Analyse the colour, opacity, and viscosity of the liquid (wine legs). This process does not require more than 5 seconds of your time. Most hints about a wine can be found in its look, but unless you’re tasting blind, the majority of the answers will be found on the bottle.
Think from big to small when you first start smelling wine. Is there any fruit? Consider broad groups initially, such as citrus, orchard, or tropical fruits in whites, or red, blue, or black fruits in reds. Getting overly precise or hunting for a certain note might be frustrating. The nose of a wine may be divided into three categories in general:
- Primary Aromas: Grape-derived fruits, herbs, and floral notes..
- Secondary Aromas: This aroma derives from the winemaking process. The most frequent smells in white wines are yeast-derived odours such as cheese rind, nut husk (almond, peanut), or stale beer.
- Tertiary Aromas: This aroma comes from the aging of the wine. Usually fermented in a bottle, or possibly in oak. Roasted nuts, baking spices, vanilla, autumn leaves, aged tobacco, cured leather, cedar, and even coconut are among the delectable aromas.
Taste is how we use our tongues to study the wine, but the smells may alter as you drink it since you’re getting them retro-nasally. Our tongues have the ability to sense salty, sour, sweet, and bitter flavours. Because grapes are acidic by nature, every wine will contain some sourness. This changes depending on the environment and grape variety. Bitterness is a characteristic of some grape types (for example – Pinot Grigio), and it appears as a mild, refreshing tonic-water flavour. A tiny amount of the grape sugars in some white table wines is preserved, which provides natural sweetness to the wine. You can’t smell sweetness since it’s only detected by your mouth. Finally, while few wines have a salty flavour, salty reds and whites do appear on occasion.
Was the wine balanced or unbalanced (too acidic, too alcoholic, or too tannic)? What did you think of the wine? Was this wine one-of-a-kind or forgettable? Were there any traits that stood out to you and made an impression on you?
Once you master these four steps, you can truly enjoy a good wine for yourself!