So, you’re interested in learning how to taste and evaluate a glass of wine like a true wine connoisseur? Easy. Just follow the wine tasting tips discussed below, and you’ll soon discover how to taste wine like an expert.
First things first. When it comes to wine tasting, you should start by taking a sip, instead of having a large swallow of wine into your mouth. Then, try sucking on it as if you’re pulling through a plastic straw. Don’t mind if someone gives you an odd look. You’re doing the right thing, because this is the only way you can taste the wine to the fullest.
1. Looking at It
It’s important that you check the colour, viscosity, and opacity of wine.
Straight Angle View
Look straight down into the glass and hold the glass to the light, give it a tilt. This will make the wine roll toward the edges, allowing you to see the complete colour range of the wine aside from its dark centre.
Likewise, by looking down, you’ll be able to determine the depth of colour, giving you a clue about the saturation and density of the wine. Through this, you’ll also learn how to identify some varieties of grapes. If it’s purple-black and deeply saturated, it’s probably Zinfandel or Syrah. On the other hand, if it’s lighter, then it would suggest that it’s Pinot Noir.
Choose at least two flavours and try to evaluate them. No need to rush. Here are the 3 kinds of wine aromas:
– Primary: this comes from grapes, as well as fruits and flower notes.
– Secondary: this comes from the yeast and fermentation aroma.
– Tertiary bouquet: this comes from oxidation, aging, and oak, such as nutty aromas, baking spices, and vanilla.
Give the glass a swirl and take a sniff. However, you should not bury your nose inside the glass, but hover over the top. Take several short sniffs and step back. Let your brain filter the information.
Now is the time to taste your wine! You’ll be encountering a wide range of herb, fruit, mineral, barrel, and other wine flavours. If you have done the wine sniffing the way you’re supposed to, tasting will become easier. This will help you determine if the wine is complex, balanced, evolved, harmonious, and complete.
The wine should contain the basic flavours in good proportions. The taste buds can detect sour, sweet, bitter, and salty.
When it comes to wine, sourness and sweetness are the most important components. Though, there are cases where saltiness and bitterness can also be encountered. Most dry wines display a variety of flavours coming from the aromas and the taste of the tannins, acids, and alcohol. These can’t be detected by just smelling.
Complexity can mean a number of things. This can be the ability to appreciate and detect complexity in the wine, helping you improve your skills in wine tasting. The simplest flavours that can easily be recognized include jammy fruits, and strong vanilla flavours.
Complex wines dance in the mouth, and the taste even changes while you’re tasting them. They’re like good paintings– the more you stare at them, the more you appreciate it. The age of wine is usually a good indication of complexity. To determine that, take note of how long the flavours stay after swallowing the wine.
If the wine has all its flavours, then it can be labelled as harmonious. Unfortunately, it’s impossible for recently fermented wines to have all these components in good proportion– some of which stick out. Thus, it can easily be identified, but you’ll also feel that the edges didn’t blend completely.
A complete wine is complex, balanced, harmonious, and has already evolved. It also has a lingering satisfying finish, and it’s ideal to spend extra attention on this type, because it definitely has more to offer– both in training and personal pleasure.
Now that you have familiarized yourself with the basic steps that are important when it comes to wine tasting, you should give it a try and experiment on your own. If possible, try to have a wine journal where you can record all your adventures. Jot down what you like and dislike when tasting wines. This can really be helpful, especially if you’re planning to share your discoveries with other wine enthusiasts.