If you are like most people at the start of your wine tasting journey, then you probably think that it is a skill that takes years and years to learn and that it appears to be quite a difficult thing to do. These are all misconceptions because wine tasting is supposed to be a fun journey and you really only need to grasp a few basic tips and techniques to get started on this journey.
The basic tips and techniques which will be revealed in this article will show you that you do not need to learn a lot to get started. They are in fact quite simple to learn and put into practice. Over time, you will gradually improve and tasting wine will just become second nature.
There are 3 main steps to the wine tasting process which are looking at the wine, smelling the wine and then tasting the wine to be able to then come up with a full evaluation of the wine.
Look At The Wine
First and foremost, before you smell and taste a wine, you need to have a good look at the wine at hand to get a good idea of the color of the wine. Once you have poured your wine into a wine glass, hold the glass against a white background to get a good look at the hue of the color. The color of the wine will tell you a lot about the wine.
Once grapes are juiced, the wine actually gets its color from being in contact with the grape skins. The color of the wine will be affected by the color of the grape skin as well as how long the wine has been in contact with the grape skin. The other factor that affects the color of wine is being aged in an oak barrel.
For instance, when it comes to white wine, if the wine is more on the clear side of yellow, then it has not had much contact with the grape skins. This type of wine will usually taste more crisp. On the other hand, if the color is a deeper yellow, then the wine has been in contact with the skins for a lot longer and has most likely been aged in a oak barrel. This type of wine will have a richer and smoother taste.
The same applies to red wine. Red wine of a lighter color has not been in contact with the grape skins for long and has not been aged in an oak barrel whereas red wine with a deeper and darker color has been in contact with the grape skins for longer and has been aged in an oak barrel. The lighter color red wine will have a sharper and more acidic taste than the darker red wine which will have a richer and more mellow taste.
Smell The Wine
Before you smell the wine, make sure that you swirl it around in the glass for about 5 to 10 seconds in order to release the aromas in the wine. When you introduce more oxygen into the wine by swirling it around, this opens up the wine and makes it release more of its aromas. Oxygen is really good for wine when you have first opened a bottle. However, prolonged exposure to oxygen will make the wine go bad.
Put your nose as far inside the glass as you can and have a good sniff of the wine. Close your eyes and try and identify the different scents that you get from the wine. This is an important step because the smell of something affects the way the brain perceives flavor.
It is also important to note that your brain will identify scents that you are familiar with or have experienced in the past which means that other people may identify slightly different scents to you during wine tasting.
Smelling wine is also key in order to identify whether a wine is corked or not. If a wine is corked, then it will have a musty smell or will smell of wet newspapers or cardboard. If this is the case, then you can have your wine replaced.
Taste The Wine
Take a sip of your wine and let it sit around in your mouth for a bit. You can move it around in your mouth if you wish just like you would with a mouthwash. This is to make sure that your mouth has the time to identify all the flavors and aromas in the wine.
You may notice that you taste some of the flavors you previously smelled. Pay attention to the texture of the wine and how it feels in your mouth. Is it smooth or coarse? A smooth, silky wine is an indication of a good wine.
Pay attention to the acidity level in the wine and whether the wine is making your mouth dry which means that the wine has a lot of tannins. Identify how well balanced you think the wine is. A good wine should be well balanced where nothing is out of place. The acidity, fruitiness, tannins and body of the wine should all be in balance.
Once you have identified the flavors, you can either swallow or spit the wine. At the same time, note the finish you get from the wine. A good wine will have a long finish lingering in your mouth with a nice after taste making you want to have more.
Now that you know the basics of tasting wine, go ahead and pour yourself a glass and start this fun journey.