Wednesday, 19 September 2012

How to Taste Wine

How to Taste Wine                                                        by Nina Smith

So, you know how to drink wine.  You may enjoy some of the rituals of drinking wine - decanting a good port, letting a red wine breathe, ensuring whites are lightly chilled and sherries extra chilled.  However, do you know how to taste wine?  Daft question?  Let me explain.
Tasting wine is often said to be different to drinking wine.  In my opinion, it is not that different, just a little slower. 

From pouring the wine from the bottle to drinking it, how long does it take?  'TOO LONG' my hardened drinker friends yell.  However, just slow down and enjoy the impact wine can have.  (A little like stopping whilst walking to observe the often beautiful or interesting scenery)

Have a look at the wine.  Is it a deep red, a water-white white or a salmon hued rose?  Does it coat the inside of the glass?  Is there any sediment or do fine bubbles appear?  All these give indications of the nature, provenance and potential flavours of the wine.

Next, hold the glass up and breathe in the aroma of the wine.  Swirl the wine around to release some of the characteristics of the wine.  What can you smell?  Is it warm and comforting, or light, refreshing and full of citrus burst?  Can you smell any flavours other than fruit (indicating ageing or some  wood influence), or is there little aroma at all? 

Finally, taste the wine.  Try to make the wine swish round all parts of your mouth.  There should be a plethora of sensations happening in there.  What are the flavours you can taste?  Are they fruity?  Is there a spicy tingle left on your tongue?  Are the sides of your mouth watering after tasting the wine?  How about that misunderstood sensation of tannins in the wine?  These show in red wines where your teeth and gums can detect a pleasant balance of dryness giving the wine elegant structure, or an unpleasant sensation as though you have licked a section of planed timber in B&Q.

These are some of the aspects we talk about when tasting wine.  It provides a basis to talk about the wine and enjoy the differences between different wines.  Wines from  different climates will have their own characteristics, as do wines made from different grapes or blends of grapes.  Production methods and local laws also impact on these attributes.   To the experienced tasters,  wines can be identified to particular winemakers at individual vineyards.

By talking about the wine, the enjoyment and interest in what you are drinking increases.  Some wines match particularly well with certain foods and it is great fun in discovering these pairings.  In many cases, consumption of wine will also slow down as the drinker is more engaged in what they are drinking.  This can only be a good thing.

So why don't you come and learn how to taste properly.  The Wine Wise Company is holding a two hour course on Saturday 13 October at Buzzards Valley Winery near Sutton Coldfield.  It is a fun and informal course designed to teach you how to start tasting your wine instead of gulping it! 

Course:      How To Taste Wine   

Date:           Saturday 13 October 2012

Time:           10.30am-12.30pm

Venue:       Buzzards Valley Winery, near Sutton Coldfield   B78 3EQ


To book or for more information, please call Nina on 07804 494083  or e-mail

The Wine Wise Company offers a range of wine education and tasting services including WSET exams, corporate entertainment, staff training, private parties and wine advice.  Please visit for more information.


No comments:

Post a Comment