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Tips on how to taste wine



Now that you have a good understanding of how to look at a wine, and smell a wine, all that’s left is to taste a wine. Right? Basically, yes. Note I said basically, because while your personal like or dislike of the wine is all that counts, understanding how to look for a few quality indicators will help you with being a better wine taster.


More important than quality indicators is understanding why you like a certain wine, or not. Remember, there is no right or wrong when it comes to personal taste. The Davis Aroma Wine Wheel is going to help you find the aromas and scents you were thinking of, but could not find the words for.


Our wine glossary gives you the language you might be seeking to help express what you are tasting and feeling in the wine on your palate. ABC of Wine Terms and Wine Language


Finally, we are at the good part in learning how to taste wine. We are actually tasting the wine! There are three, easy, secret tips on learning how to taste wine. Tasting a wine involves more than just your sense of taste, which focuses on the primary sensations of sweet, salt, bitter, sour and Umami, which are experienced on the top of your tongue through your taste-buds, there is also the texture of the wine and the length of the experience that you need to pay attention to.


Remember, you are going to become a better wine taster the more you taste. You would not be reading this page, at least not this far into the page if you were not interested in learning how to taste wine. So go ahead, pour a glass of wine and let’s move to final and most fun part of this article.


Like I mentioned earlier, wine is for drinking, right? Wine tasting tip number 1, decanting wines. Young wines are almost always better with decanting. Decanting in advance allows the wine to breathe, which means the wine is going to soften in texture and develop more complex aromas in the glass. Decanting coupled with correct temperatures will improve your tasting experience with young wines.


Your wine tasting tip #2 is, taste wines at the right temperature and try to always taste wine with a decent wine glass. For temperatures, red wine likes to be served at cooler temperatures. 60 to 65 degrees is about right. When red wines become too warm, the become flabby, lacking freshness and a lively, refreshing quality. White wines should be served 55 to 60 degrees. White wines become much less interesting as they warm in the glass. As for glasses, there are more makers of wine glasses today than I can count. I use Riedel. Schott and Zalto are quality producers. There are countless stemware manufactures to chose from. This is only a short list.


When buying glasses, it’s much easier than you think to decide on what you want, even considering the plethora of glasses available in the marketplace. Buy glasses that are clear. You must be able to see the wine. Avoid cut or colored glass.


Buy glasses with bowls large enough to allow for a decent pour, yet not spill when being swirled. Glasses with stems are better for tasting. I know they do not go in the dishwasher. But the stems allow you to avoid fingerprints so you can see the wine, and they keep the wine at a lower temperature, as you are not handling the bowl while tasting. Reasonably thin lips on the glass allow the wine to fall more gracefully on your palate.


The glass should be wider at the bottom than it is at the top to allow for ease in swirling, which helps develop in the wines aromatic complexities.


Some tasters find the perfumed aspect of a wine to be the most interesting. Others seek the experience of the wine on the palate. Count me in as a member of the second group. I like smelling a wine. I love felling the texture and reveling in the flavor of wine on my palate. There is no right or right. It’s a personal choice.


Keep in mind, there is a big difference between tasting a wine and drinking wine. Tasting is more like giving a wine its final exam. When tasting wine, you asses the wines balance, structure, palate feel, level of sweetness, acidity, complexity and length of the finish.


This is done by tasting the wine. Wine tasting tip #3, tasting wine is quite simple. Take a reasonable sip of wine into your mouth. It’s important that you place enough wine in your mouth the obtain the full flavor profile and textural sensations.


If you take too small of a sip, you’ll miss some of much of the impact the wine has to offer. Next, slightly open your lips and inhale some air. At that point, gently chew on the wine for a bit. Slosh the wine around your mouth if you like. When tasting several wines, feel free to spit into a bucket, if one has been provided. Else, take a small swallow and enjoy.


Notice all the sensations taking place in your mouth and on your palate. Did the wine feel good when it landed on your palate? Was the wine smooth, silky, velvet like and lush in texture? Or was the wine rough, dusty or dry?


Was the wine light, concentrated and full bodied? Full bodied refers to the level of alcohol in the wine, which is often felt on the palate due to the amount of glycerin in the wine. Was the wine dense and did it seem concentrated, or was it light, or shallow? Was the wine hot, which is a sign of being unbalanced due to a high level of alcohol?


What did the wine taste and feel like initially? This is known as the attack. How was the fruit, was it fresh? Fresh means lively on your palate. The freshness comes from acidity. Was the wine sweet, bitter, spicy or sour? Was the wine tart or sour, which can be from under ripe fruits or too much acid? Or was the wine sweet and balanced, the sign of a quality wine.


Balance refers to the all the main elements in the wine not overshadowing each other, fruit, acid and tannin. Using the same process as we practiced with smelling the wine, was the fruit dark or red in character? Were there signs on under ripe flavors?



Those characteristics and traits are all important qualities that every great wine shares. Lastly, the length and persistence of the finish. The longer the good, enjoyable flavors remain in your mouth, the better the wine. Did the wine taste and feel good from start, (the attack) to the finish?


Was the wine complex? Complex means that there were multiple flavors and sensations at once. More is often better when it comes to wine. However, more does not mean too much. The average wine delivers a finish that is often not longer than 5 to 10 seconds. Very good wines last in your mouth for 20 to 30 seconds. The world’s best wines remain on your palate for up to 1 minute, or even longer!


Now that you have thoroughly examined the wine, ask yourself, do you want to drink it? Does each sip make you want another taste? Do you want to buy the wine? Do you want your friends to buy the wine? Does tasting or even better, does drinking this wine make you want to know more about wine? Those are some of the key questions you should ask yourself to determine how much you liked the wine.


Tasting wine and drinking wine are passions many people all over the world enjoy. Using the advice in this article will help you better understand what is in your glass and why you liked a wine, or not. If you follow some or all of these steps, you will become a better wine taster.


One last tip, remembering the wines you tasted if why you liked them or not is going to help you become not only a better wine taster, but a wine better wine buyer as well! Write a few comments down to help you remember. Take pictures of the labels from the wines you really liked, or didn’t and add a comment. Sooner than later, you will be surprised how much more comfortable you have become, now that you are a better wine taster.


This article was first published on https://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/wine-topics/wine-educational-questions/taste-wine-enjoy-wine-evaluate-wine-like-professional-tasters/

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