Learning how to taste wine properly is the best way to get the absolute most of your wine experience. And the more you taste the better taster you become. Who can argue with that?
There is no need to be overwhelmed, or to remember a jumble of technical words…. Instead, here are eight simple tips to help anyone taste wine like a pro.
Don’t pick the glass up and drink straight away.
Instead hold the glass up to the light, or against a pale background, to get a good look at the colour and clarity.
Most wine is pretty clear, unless the winemaker has intentionally skipped using a clarifying agent to remove the naturally occurring haze.
Tilt and swirl the glass delicately to get some air into the wine and release some of those smells you’re going to want to sniff at the next step.
By swirling wine you also get to create ‘legs’ up the glass – depending on how quickly, or slowly this disappears is a great indicator of the level of alcohol or sweetness.
A big heavy red, for example, will had big legs which almost coat the glass.
Stick your nose right in there and give it a great big sniff. What does it smell like? Floral? Acidic? Fresh?
Take a good mouthful of wine but do not immediately swallow it. Try to let the wine coat your entire mouth as it helps you taste it better. Does it feel heavy or light? Oaky or sharp? Or it is tannic, which makes your mouth furry like a cup of tea?
Slowly swish it around your tongue and teeth. You can try inhaling some more air but just don’t dribble or make loud gross slurping noises. This really helps to bring out the wine flavours.
Spit or swallow
Either is fine.
Hardcore wine tasters in the wine trade have to spit, else they’d be drunk the entire time, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun!
The longer the overall flavour stays in your mouth, the better the overall quality of the wine. Savor enjoy, and start again.
What to avoid
Pretend to like all the wines as the winemaker will have no idea where your tastebuds lie.
Grab a bottle and help yourself
Smoke or wear strong perfume
And what NOT to do or say when tasting a wine:
“I’ll say when.”
“Is that all I get.”
“Yuk”, or something along those lines. It’s just plain rude!
When it comes the movies, we rarely think of wine, unless we’re drinking it ourselves of course. But here are 10 iconic quotes about wine from the silver screen.
“My dear girl, there are some things that just aren’t done, such as drinking Dom Perignon ‘53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s just as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs!”
James Bond, Goldfinger (1964)
Kermit: “Waiter, the wine please.”
Miss Piggy: “You mad, impetuous thing, it’s Champagne!”
Snooty sommelier (Steve Martin): “Not exactly. Sparkling Moscatel, one of the finest wines from Idaho!”
The Muppet Movie (1979)
Stick your nose in it. Don’t be shy, really get your nose in there. A little citrus, maybe some strawberry… passion fruit… and there’s the faintest soupcon of like… asparagus… and just a… a flutter of a nutty Edam cheese.
“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” The poetic wisdom of the Italian physicist, philosopher, and stargazer, Galileo Galilei. It all begins with the soil, the vine, the grape. The smell of the vineyard —like inhaling birth. It awakens some ancestral, some primordial… anyway, some deeply imprinted, and probably subconscious place in my soul.
Bottle Shock (2008)
"Wine is a grand thing. It makes you forget all the bad you do."
A Farewell to Arms (1957)
"I like how wine continues to evolve. Like, if I opened a bottle today, it would taste different than if I'd opened it on any other day. Because a bottle of wine is actually alive; it's constantly evolving and gaining complexity."
"It's a bold wine with a hint of sophistication and lacking in pretense. Actually, I was just talking about myself."
French Kiss (1995)
"Years, lovers, and glasses of wine. These are things that should never be counted."
The Age of Adeline (2015)
Marty: Twinkies and wine? Oh that's real class Jan.
Jan: It says right here it is a dessert wine.
Rizzo:Hey! Sandy didn't get any wine.
“Red wine with fish. Well, that should have told me something.”
James Bond, From Russia With Love (1963)