Wine tasting is the sensory examination and evaluation of wine. Sounds fancy but you don’t need to know much about wine to participate in a wine tasting. It certainly helps, but we all have to start somewhere so why not today? I’ve listed the steps below that every wine afficionado takes (and why) when tasting wine.
Try it out for yourself!
Look – Tilt the glass; watch the wine move in your glass. Notice the color. Are there particles floating in the wine, or do you see sediment sinking to the bottom of the glass?
Swirl – Hold your glass by its stem. Slowly move the glass in a tiny, steady, gentle circle. The wine should move up the sides of the glass (not slosh or spill out) in swirling motion. Swirling creates more surface area in the wine and exposes the wine to oxygen. The air releases the aromas of the wine.
Look again – Notice the following:
Viscosity – the liquids thickness and extent that it resists movement.
Legs – After swirling or tilting the glass, the droplets that slowly run down the sides of the glass are called “legs”. The more legs you see, the more full-bodied and alcoholic the wine is.
Smell – Place your nose down inside the glass. Notice the distinct aromas of the wine.
Fruity (berries, pear or citrus)
Spicy (cinnamon, pepper, anise, vanilla)
Earthy (soil, butter, oak, grass, minerals)
Sip – Let the wine coat your entire mouth before you swallow.
Slurp – Take a small sip of wine; gently pull air into your mouth. You should hear a soft slurping sound. The air moves the wine around in your mouth exposing all of your taste buds.
How does it taste? Use the same adjectives you used for smell or maybe you taste something different? You can use any word you wish to describe the wine. Does the wine taste “leathery” or “barnyardy”? Great! You are not limited to using food descriptions. There are no right or wrong ways to describe wine because everyone’s palate is unique. This makes wine tasting fun!
Aftertaste – Notice how the flavor changes from the beginning of the sip to the end. The longer the flavor lingers in your mouth is referred to as the “finish” or “length” of the wine.
Score- Come up with a scale that works for you. It doesn’t need to be a 100 point scale like Wine Spectator Magazine. It can be a simple overall score or a 1-5 scale for each of the descriptions you find most important (higher totaled scores would indicate bottles you really like) or you may want to simply use a smiley face & sad face to indicate the wines you like or dislike.
When I taste wines with a vendor, I have to choose wines for every palate. I use an “x” for wines I did not like. I usually place a check mark on my list for wines that I think are well rounded, well priced and would please the most customers. I use a star for wines that I believe would sell well and it also pleases my own palate. A rare rating that I give is two stars. This means the wine is amazing and I must buy it right away. I back up all of my ratings with notes for why I gave my rating. I can always go back to my tasting sheets anytime and easily know what wines to purchase for the store.
There you have it. I hope this quick tasting guide helps anyone who is interested in learning more about wine! Please remember, the only thing you really need to know about wine is which ones you like!
Stop by Vintner’s Hill at: 7427 Matthews-Mint Hill Rd. #108 for a FREE WINE TASTING CHART. Please call us at: 980-207-4242. Follow us on Facebook for updates and specials.