How to taste wine?

step 1.

Look

step 2.

Smell

step 3.

Taste

step 4.

Think

First inspection of the wine by look at its colour, opacity and viscosity. In this step, a clear wine glass is very important for studying the colour and appearance of the wine. To evaluate it, you need to look at the wine against a white surface under good and natural light. 

80% of what we taste are from our sense of smell. Without sense of smell, our sense of taste will be limited.

Before you smell, give it a swirl vigorously to increase the surface area of the wine contact with air, which will release more of its aromas. 

When you smell the wine, your brain can distinguish about 10,000 different types smell. When you think of the smell, always think bigger to smaller. For example, are they under fruits categories such as citrus, orchard, or tropical fruits in white, or red fruits, blue fruits or black fruits. Getting too specific looking for one particular note can lead to frustration. The nose of a wine can be divided into three primary categories:

  1. Primary Aromas are grape-derivative and include fruits, herbs and floral notes.

  2. Secondary Aromas come from the winemaking practices. The most common aromas are yeast-derivative and are most easy to spot in white wine.

Tertiary Aromas come from aging. Usually in bottle or possibly in oak. These aromas are mostly savoury: roasted nuts, baking spices, vanilla, old tobacco, etc.

After you get some initial inspections of the wine, you are ready to taste it! Now, take a small sip, then gargle and swirl around in your mouth. Let the wine spread on every part of your tongue to release the aromas of the wine.

Our tongue can detect salty, sweet, spicy, sour and bitter taste. All the wine should have some sour note due to its acid. The acids varies on the climate of the vineyard and the grape type. Besides, you can perceive the texture of wine by your tongue. The texture in wine is related to few factors like alcohol. An increasing of texture might happens in high-alcohol, riper wine. Ethanol (alcohol of wine) gives the texture as we perceive it as richer than water. We also can detect the tannin from the red wine which are like sand-paper or tongue-depressor drying sensation. 

The taste of wine are based on time: from the beginning, in the middle (mid-palate) and its finish.  How long does the wine stay with you?

It is time to draw your conclusion of the wine you’ve tasted! Is the wine balanced between acidity, alcohol level and tannin? What the characteristics and was the wine impressed by its uniqueness? Most of the wine beginner feel difficult to find the taste of wine. There is no right or wrong answer when you are giving your perceptions, but you can always take notes when you taste the wine!