Look at the Wine
Pour a smallish amount of wine
into a glass, (fill it about a third), and then hold it up
to a light. Some people hold the glass up to a white napkin
or piece of paper. Examine the depth of color. If you’re
tasting a red wine you’ll look for anything from a fairly
bright plummy red to a deep purple. The deeper the color the
more full and intense is the wine. This holds true for
whites as well. Some will be a delicate blonde color and
others a darker color, like straw.
Nose the Wine
The scent or bouquet of the
wine is a most important step in understanding its
character, the terroir, and its intensity. Place your nose
inside the rim of the glass then close your eyes and
inhale. What aromas do you detect? Do you smell Coffee?
Raspberries? Liquorice? Smoke? Spices? Chocolate? If you
just smell wine don’t worry, your nose and your senses will
soon be trained to detect these subtleties, it just takes a
Swirl and Nose
The reason for only filling your glass to a third in step on
is so that you can perform step three which is to swirl it.
Swirling the wine in a glass helps to oxygenate it and this
releases esters which are an important component in the full
taste of the wine. The way the experts do it is to nose the
wine, then swirl, then nose again. You will probably notice
some delicate changes in the way a wine will taste and even
the bouquet. You should also hold the wine by the stem or
base so that the heat of your hand does not warm the wine in
the bowl altering its flavor. One important note,
unless you are a professional taster or wine producer and
want to assess the wine, it is best advised not to
swirl your champagne or sparkler. Swirling these delicate
wines will alter or destroy the elusive bubbles. But
if you're not a fan of bubbles, swirling may be OK.
Sip the Wine
now is the moment when you get to taste.
Take a small amount of wine in your mouth and roll it around
or swish it for a few seconds. If you like you can suck in a
bit of air at the same time. The wine should linger on your
tongue and now you’ll taste all the delicious things that
you were able to smell when you were ‘way back in step 2.
You should be able to determine at this point whether you
like this wine. Professional wine taster s would then
proceed to spit out the wine at this point, and you may
choose to do so, but sometimes that’s a waste if you’re not
trying too many and you just may want to savor it.