Thursday, April 11, 2024

How To Properly Taste Wine

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Taste For Dryness And Or Sweetness

How to properly taste wine

Sometimes theres no clear-cut answer for this. The first thing I must make clear just because a wine may taste fruity does not necessarily mean its sweet! Sugar has a distinct taste, and the viscosity will often be high if a wine contains a significant amount of sugar. Dry wines have a low viscosity and wont taste sweet

*Pro-tip* New World Cabernet Sauvignon, especially those from Napa Valley are often very fruit-forward, but still remain quite dry. Occasionally, blends concocted in the same region can also come across as sweet, but its actually just our perception. Keep this in mind while you taste any New World variations!

The Flavour Profile Of Your Wine

This is where you can jot down the exact tastes. You may have previously described it as fruity, but now you can note the sweet plum and berry taste on your tongue. Try and describe the exact flavour instead of generalities that were perhaps recorded previously by your smell observation. Is it honey or butter, herbs or earthiness you can taste?

How Winemaker Bernd Teaches Wine Tasting

Chateau Grand Traverse winemaker Bernd Croissant believes wine tasting should not be intimidating. He has his own way of teaching wine lovers how to appreciate the wine they drink on a deeper level. Remember to start simple and think about the most obvious observations first before delving deeper. This way you are taking the time to find out what you are smelling or tasting. This makes it much easier than trying to pinpoint something specific right off the bat.

Use this list of questions as your guide:

  • What is the initial aroma? Is it floral, earthy, or does it smell of spices?
  • What is the initial flavor? Is it fruity, spicy, woody?
  • Get specific If the initial aroma is fruity, is it berry? Dried fruit? Tropical fruit? Citrus?
  • If it tastes or smells of citrus, is it lemon? Grapefruit? Tangerine?
  • Repeat these questions, until you can narrow each powerful first impression down to something specific.

Remember, its fun to taste with friends. Theres no right answer and everyones palate is different. Compare your notes with your wine loving companions they might inspire you to taste something new!

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Wine Tasting : The 5 Ss

Wine tasting doesnt have to be intimidating. By using the 5 Ss , youll be able to get the most out of any glass of wine, especially Prairie Berry Winery wine. Not only will you be able enjoy the wine more, but youll gain an appreciation for it.

SEE: What color is it?

Look at the wine. Notice if the wine is clear and brilliant or cloudy and dull. A wines color is better judged by putting it against a white background. Colors give the taster clues to the grape variety, and whether the wine was aged in wood. Typically, wine that had been oak aged is darker in color.

The intensity of color within each varietal gives the drinker an idea of how the wine will taste. As a general rule, color saturation tends to go hand in hand with flavor intensity.

SWIRL: Give it air.

Swirl the wine a couple times. Heavy wines will be deeper in color and generally more intense on the nose. Sweeter wines, being denser will leave thick, viscous streaks down the inside of the glass when swirled.

SNIFF: What do you smell?

Smell is the main sense used in wine tasting, so sniffing the wine before tasting is essential. A wines quality can be judged by its nose and taste. Consider what you are smelling. What does the aroma remind you of? Fruits or vegetables? Herbs or spices?

SIP: What do you taste?

And finally,

SAVOR: Does the taste linger?

Now that youve learned the 5 Ss of wine tasting , why not throw a wine party and share your new knowledge with a friend!

By Step How To Taste Wine: The Basics

How to Taste Wine

One of the best ways to make the most of the glass of wine in front of you is to engage each of your senses, inviting them along for the journey. You can consider this as a five-step process to truly understand your glass and the liquid within it.


Whether you have opted for a cork or a cap, listen to the pop or the crack, and then the sound of the wine pouring. While this step may not seem very important, its actually a crucial reminder for you to slow down and take your time through the process and just to enjoy the pour- whether it is into a decanter or a glass.

This is something you should keep in mind throughout the wine tasting. There is no rush between each step. Take your time and enjoy it. Listen as the liquid flows from the bottle and appreciate the sound as it hits the glass. Life is not a rush and neither is wine, so dont make it one. You will find much more appreciation in the smaller aspects of what you are enjoying.


You may not think it, but your sight is a key player when it comes to wine tasting. Once you have your glass of wine, you can tell a lot about it just by looking at it. Just from observing the color and the intensity of the liquid, you will be able to tell the body of the wine- that is whether it is full-bodied, light-bodied, or anything in between. The body of the wine is a wine tasting term used to describe the density of the liquid.

More Residue on the Glass = Fuller Body of Wine




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How Do I Taste Wine Properly

This is where the face-pulling fun comes in! To taste properly, you take a small amount in your mouth and swish it around for a few seconds. Here is the interesting part. After swirling the wine, try sucking a little air through your lips, preferably for a few seconds. . This allows air to get into the wine to release its flavours.

If you are swallowing, try and think about how the wine tastes when it hits different parts of your tongue. There are five main areas of sensitivity on the tongue, including bitter taste, sour taste , salt, sweetness and finally, tannin tannin is mainly detected on the gums. A wines taste will linger on your tongue after you have swallowed, so try to record how long this aftertaste lasts.

The taste may often be described similarly to your smell observation. However, remember your taste palate can identify the texture and body of a wine.

Observe The Wine In The Glass

Believe it or not, the first step in the process of tasting wine has nothing to do with tasting wine. Thats right. Youre going to observe the hell out of that liquid first. But whats the point? Well, observing a wine in the glass can tell you a lot about it without even tasting it for yourself.

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How To Taste Wine Properly

We have all heard that wine tasting is a complicated process. You have probably been given advice on how to taste wine usually this includes:

a) Look at the color of the wine to discover its clarity, depth, and saturation.

b) Smell the wine

c) Swirl the wine in your glass.

d) Note how slowly it runs back down the side of the glass while youre swirling. This is called viscosity.

e) Smell the wine again.

f) Take a sip of the wine and roll it around your mouth so as to expose it to all of your taste buds.

g) Note the aftertaste.

There can be more steps involved for the professional wine taster, but those are the basics.

However, when going wine tasting, the most important thing to note is what we like to call the yuck or yum factor. That is: do you like it? If so, what do you like about it? If not, what dont you like about it?

The first part is easy. Just taste the wine and discover if you enjoy the texture, smell, and flavor.

The second part is more difficult. Discovering what you specifically like or dislike about the wine can be tough to describe. Taste is a deeply personal experience and how one person describes a taste can be completely different from the description of another person who is sipping the exact same wine.

So, how do you describe your taste in wine to a store, restaurant, or winery? Here are four tips:

  • Find out what certain descriptive terms mean. Some very common terms used when discussing wine are:
  • What You Need For A Wine Tasting

    How To Properly Taste Wine
    • A wine glass. You dont need to spend a fortune or have different ones for red and white. The most important things are that it should be clean and there should be room to give the wine a swirl.
    • White table cloth or white paper so you can examine the wine.
    • Daylight or neutral lighting is best for this.
    • You dont want any strong smells to distract you so avoid cooking smells, perfume etc.
    • Your wine should be at the correct temperature. 7-10C for white wines and rosé, and 12-18C for reds.
    • Wines that are too cold will taste ‘closed’ and the flavours will be muted, whereas too warm and they will taste jammy and overly alcoholic. Wine pros use something called the 20/20 rule: put your red in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving, and take your white out 20 minutes before.

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    Note The Viscosity Of The Wine

    Viscosity refers the liquid consistency of the wine. Wines with high viscosity tend to cling to the side of a wine glass longer than wines with lower alcohol and lower viscosity. The colour of the wine, both when still and when swirled, gives hints to its density, the type and quality of the grape, and the condition of the wine.

    The Art Of Smelling Wine

    Before you drink the wine, smell it. Taste, flavour and scent are closely linked and smelling the wine will give you an idea of what to expect when you drink it, as well as enhancing the overall experience. Swilling the wine around the glass will make it easier to smell the aromas and is most easily done whilst the glass rests on the table.

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    Remember: This Is The Point At Which You Should Raise Any Concerns With The Sommelier Not Once Your Guests Have Wincingly Drunk Half A Glass Of Faulty Wine

    The wine is offered for tasting so you can check its not corked but some peoples sensitivity to cork taint is greater than others, said .

    If you think its smelling musty, mouldy or simply unaccountably flat ask for it to be replaced. Insist politely but firmly if the restaurant says its supposed to be like that.

    What To Look For:


    Check for Age

    An older, old-world red wine will appear more rustic-red, orange and sometimes opaque when compared to a younger, new-world red wine. Younger red wines will almost always contain more purple hues.

    Note that Old World and New World when it comes to color is still a controversial subject. If youre tasting around professionals it may be better to attribute age-related color attributes to age itself, rather than also integrating geography.

    White wines change color as they age as well. Theyll acquire more mustard and dark yellow hues. Just make sure they arent starting to look brown! That could be an indication that your white wine has expired.

    *Pro-tip* The older the wine, the more variation in color youll find between the rim and center of the glass.

    Also note that wines that have been improperly stored within inconsistent temperature conditions can dramatically impact the color, and quality of the wine. Poor corkage or temperature contributes to premature and accelerated oxidation.

    Check for Alcohol and Sugar

    Do you see any tears of wine dripping down the inside of your wine glass? Thats an indication of how alcoholic the wine is. There are two main indicators as to how much alcohol and sugar a wine has. First, the more alcohol in a glass of wine, the longer and more abundant the legs will be. Second, the more residual sugar, the slower those tears will fall.

    Check for Climate

    Check for Clarity

    Attempt to Determine Grape Variety

    Step 1 Summary:

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    Taste For Alcohol Content

    Alcohol at this point is somewhat easy to detect. If you saw a lot of legs and partially burnt your nose hairs off before you tasted a glass, you should have made the assumption that the wine has an elevated alcohol content. Do you feel any burning or hot sensation in the back of your throat? If you do, then youve likely reaffirmed that the glass youre drinking has a substantial ABV.

    How Do You Properly Taste Wine

    Enjoying great wine isnt an elitist or esoteric activity, nor is it something that requires any great skill or knowledge. Wine is something that can be enjoyed by everyone and there certainly shouldnt be any pretension or snobbery about it.

    That said, there are some basic steps you can take to help you fully appreciate any wine. This doesnt need to turn into a comedy sketch featuring elaborate swirling, swilling and gargling. If your partner is cringing with embarrassment youve probably taken things a step too far.

    What we are offering is simple, common sense advice that will help you enjoy your wine, better understand what you like , and get maximum value from whatever tipple you are drinking.

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    Check For Fruit Aromas

    Next, youre going to focus on determining the fruit flavors present in a bottle of wine. There are a few dozen aromas and they vary depending on the varietal you may be tasting. For the sake of keeping this simple, see below for Master Sommelier Tim Gaisers assessment of common fruit aromas associated with both white and red wines. These scents primarily occur dependent upon the grape variety and the climate its grown in.

    White wines:

    Tree fruit: apple and pearCitrus fruit: lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, tangerine and the like.Tropical fruit: pineapple, mango, papaya, passion fruit, banana etc.Stone or pit fruit: peach, apricot, nectarine

    Red wines:

    Red fruits: red cherry, red raspberry, cranberry, strawberry, red currant, red plum, pomegranate.Black fruits: black cherry/berry, black currant, black raspberry, black plum and in even riper versions boysenberry and blueberry.Dried or desiccated fruit: raisin, date, prune, fig

    Note that the above fruits do not represent every possible outcome. In some cases, fruit aromas may seem to meld or blend with one another, in other cases, perhaps youve had some form of exotic fruit that better defines the wine to you. This brings me to my next point wine tasting is really a subjective practice. If you havent been exposed to boysenberry before, how could you possibly say it smells like one? Try your best to assess wines based on what you know. If you dont know enough, get out there and stick your nose in more stuff.

    Wine Tasting: How To Taste Wine Properly

    How to Taste Wine Like a Pro – Wine Simplified

    So my wife and I started a wine club in the Monterey/Carmel area. Its called The Tannin Salon. We meet religiously on the third Saturday of every month theres about twenty of us. Every meeting we focus on a different variety or region. No matter what the theme is, each meeting is always a lot of fun. Its an edu-taining of the senses and a great way to engage wine seriously in a relaxed atmosphere.

    Visiting wine country? Sniff, Swirl, Sip, and Save with The Priority Wine Pass. Save up to $150 in tastings per Day! Its good for the year at 250 California wineries.

    This morning, Im learning about my own ability to taste. In particular the spacing of my taste buds. Im staring into a mirror. I think this is silly. But the author of a How-To-Start-Your-Own-Wine-Club book suggests a drop of blue food coloring on my tongue will help me more precisely assess my potential organoleptic abilities. I think the author is testing my gullibility ratio. Apparently, I score rather high.

    I drop the food coloring on my tongue. Its an instantaneous mess. My entire tongue is now blue. My teeth are blue. My lips too. I am more interested in cleaning up than investigating the spacing of taste buds on my tongue .

    In all seriousness, you dont have to go as deep as all of that. Wine tasting can and typically is a lot less intellect and a lot more sensory evaluation.

    As for that liquid rolling around in your mouth, saturating your taste buds, now its time to focus.

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    How Do You Drink Wine

    To drink wine, start by pouring it into a wine glass so that its about half full. Then, swirl the wine around in the glass to intensify the aroma. Next, take a small sip of the wine and swish it around in your mouth to absorb the flavors. After 5 seconds, swallow it and take note of the taste it leaves in your mouth.

    Putting It All Together

    Before you ask yourself, do I like this wine, ask the following questions:

    Did it taste balanced? Ie. were all the different elements such as fruit, acidity, and tannin in harmony. An unbalanced wine, for example, might lack acidity and taste flabby.Intensity, how strong were the flavours?Complexity, how many different flavours were there? Did it just taste of one simple fruit or did I find myself scribbling away?Length, how long did they go on for?Personal preference, did I enjoy this wine?

    Thats it! You can now taste like a pro. It might all seem a lot to take in but after a few goes much of this will become second nature. Just keep practising and dont forget, its meant to be fun.

    Fancy cracking out the cocktail shaker? Try our simple wine cocktail recipes for delicious party drinks.

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