The basics of wine tasting

May 11, 2021

image on how to taste wine

For technical Tuesday this week we’re going to go through the basics of wine tasting


 There are 4 basic steps to any tasting;

1. the look, 2. the smell, 3. the taste and 4. to pause and think.


The Look


Hold your glass of wine up to a neutral/light background and observe the colour of the wine along with the intensity of the hue. A deeper colour in white wine usually indicates an older or more oxidised wine. Aging in oak can also deepen a white wines colour. If a red wine appears very red it likely means the wine is of high acidity, the more purple a wine appears usually means a lower acidity. A deeply coloured opaque red wine is most probably young with a high tannin structure, red wines become paler and tawnier with age. Next to observe would be the viscosity, often referred to as the “legs”. Higher viscosity wines often have a higher alcohol level, higher level of sugar or both.

The Smell


Smell your wine using a combination of small and large breaths, different scents can be picked up when mixing the two. Smelling from the bottom or top lip of the glass can also help pick out different aromas. Swirling your wine will help concentrate aromas in your glass. Look for primary aromas of fruits, try to add adjectives to these scents to really specify what you’re smelling. Secondary aromas are things like herbs, flowers and minerals. Tertiary aromas aren’t always present but are deeper smells like oak or earthy scents.


The Taste


Finally. Take a good sip of your wine and allow it to pass all over your palate, move it around you mouth and take in a little extra oxygen if you wish. Try to identify the wine’s structure. The first thing you will notice is the sweetness, is the wine sweet or dry? Secondly does it make you mouth water? If it does it will most likely be a high acidity in the wine causing this. Next look for the tannin structure, does the wine make your teeth grip your lips? This will be due to a high level of grape tannins. Now we can look for the body of the wine, is it full of flavour or is it subtle and barely there? And finally, the finish, what flavour is left in your mouth and how long does it last.

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