While plenty of people drink wine in order to become intoxicated, many consider wine tasting one of the best parts of drinking. It is a sad fact that some “wine snobs” have gone too far with their views of correct tasting methods, and the whole subject can seem off-putting and inaccessible to new-comers.
Once you accept that you have moved from simply drinking wine, and into the realm of wine tasting, you might find some expectations that can be intimidating. Often, the “right” way is sullied by people who are more interested in showing their knowledge, technique, and vocabulary, than just focusing on the wine.
This guide will help you to learn the real-world techniques that you can use to taste wine like an expert.
The first thing to learn about wine tasting is that it helps to experiment. No one ever became a bonafide “wine snob” by sitting back, and being too afraid to try something new. Find some good wine, or attend a special wine tasting event, and test out your skills in a practical way.
You probably know some things about how to identify different elements of wine. Use these things, and try to learn more, so you know what to expect with different wines. Some varieties of wine have emphasised fruitiness, while others are richer and full-bodied. If you spend plenty of time focusing on the different tastes and scents of wines, you are bound to develop a good palate.
Begin With a Clean Palate
Think about what else you have been putting in your mouth before you try to taste wine. Are you a smoker? Did you just finish eating a juicy hamburger from the local fast food restaurant? You should always ensure that you clean your mouth, and that you are not dehydrated. However, you should avoid brushing your teeth right before you begin wine tasting. Doing so will make wines taste very different than they should, and it can lead to stained teeth.
Now that you have made your mouth a welcoming place for your favorite glass, it is time to learn these simple steps for tasting wine:
5 Steps of Wine Tasting
4. Swallow or Spit
Do not worry, you will not be looking at the wine all day. This step is intended to help you ready your mind for the wine’s sensations. Consider the color, shade, and how well the light is allowed through the wine. Think about similar wines that you have tried. How does this one look in comparison to those? Remember the image of the wine before you drink it, and save the memory for later. Take a mental photograph, because it will help when you move onto the next steps.
Now that you have stored an image of the wine, and taken a little time to think about how it looks, smell the wine. It is no secret that taste is heavily reliant on smell. Swirl the glass, as you have probably seen others do; this will unleash the aromas of the wine. To swirl properly, place the glass on a table, and use your hand to make little circles, causing the glass to move around. Now you can pick up the glass and put your nose inside; you do not have to go in too far, but you want to be able to smell the wine intimately. Inhale deeply through your nose, and think about the scents that you detect.
This is probably the most popular, and certainly one of the most fun, steps in tasting wine. Retrieve a small sip from your glass; take about as much as you would if you were rinsing your teeth with mouthwash. Swish the wine around your mouth, briefly, and be sure that you have coated your whole tongue before swallowing, or spitting. Consider the textures as well as the flavors. What stands out to you immediately? Is there a taste of a certain fruit? Perhaps you detect something other than food, such as freshly mown grass, or black pepper. Once you have tasted the wine, move back to step two, before you take another sip.
- Swallow or Spit
If you hate wasting food and drink, you might be thoroughly against spitting. However, there are some good reasons that people spit their wine during tasting sessions. If you have just tried a wine that you do not particularly like, you might want to spit it out and wait to swallow something you enjoy more. You might need to drive a vehicle later, and in this case it is wise to spit. Often, people choose to spit because it becomes more difficult to properly taste your wine as you become drunk. If you plan to taste 25 different wines during the day, it might not be feasible to actually consume that many glasses.
Now that you have finished tasting your wine, it is time for some focused thought. As with any sensual experience, wine tasting is as much in your head as it is on your tongue. Do not think about what others might tell you about the wine; carefully consider what you think, because no one else can do it for you.
Do you want to learn all these is to know about wine? While that might be an impossible task for many, you can learn the 10 biggest things you should know about wine.