How To Taste Wine
Updated: Sep 4
As once stated by the great Spanish artist Salvador Dali, "He who knows how to taste, does not drink wine but savors secrets."
The wonderful world of wine tasting can be overwhelming for beginners yet no one can deny that it is also enchanting! Just imagine the tantalizing aroma and variety of flavors each glass of wine brings.
Attending a wine tasting can be daunting but fear no more because I prepared an advanced yet easy to follow guide so you can learn how to taste wine like a real pro!
When tasting a wine, just pour a little bit into your glass. Typically about a third of what you would pour during say a dinner or a night out with friends. The reason for this is to give the wine plenty of space to spread its aromas.
The first step in tasting wine is to use your sense of sight. Hold the glass by the stem so that you can see the wine clearly. Perhaps tilt the glass a bit downwards. Check the color of the wine and observe how opaque it is. This tells you whether it's a light or full-bodied wine. A deep colored wine tends to be more full-bodied and more intense in flavor, than a light colored wine.
Lift the glass up in front of you, and swirl the wine gently. Check if the wine leaves strong “legs” or “tears” clinging to the side of the glass. The legs inform us as to the contents of the alcohol or sugar in the wine. The thicker and more persistent the legs are, the more alcohol or sugar there is.
Your next step would be to swirl the wine. When you swirl wine, you are exposing it to oxygen, which releases and develops both the aromas and flavors. The first time you want to swirl the wine, set the glass on the table or counter and hold it by the stem as you would hold a pencil. Then gently draw small, quick circles on the table. As you feel more comfortable, lift the glass up in front of you, still drawing circles.
Now that you have a good swirl, you can smell the wine. You want to smell the wine as you would when smelling a flower. What does it smell like to you? Let your imagination wander. There are no limits as to how you can describe a wine.
Here’s the most exciting part.
Take a sip, not too small but not a mouthful either. Spread it inside your mouth a bit and see what flavors you notice. To get even more out of the wine, you can aerate the wine inside your mouth. This is done by sucking air into the mouth, creating a slurping sound, adding even more oxygen to the wine, releasing even more flavors.
Now, this might sound weird to you, but in a wine tasting event, you can either swallow the wine or spit it out. It is sensible to spit out the wine during a wine tasting to avoid dulling your senses and clouding your judgement.
Are you a spitter or a swallower? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
Don't have time to read all that text? Chill, I made a short video that you can use as a guide so you can build your confidence and learn how to taste wine like a true expert.