Wine Tasting Basics
I often find myself in a rut with wine. Grabbing the same bottle to
enjoy, and I always do enjoy
it but part of the fun of wine is trying something new. When I do this, I find another wine I love or remember a wine that I once loved and still do.
When I go back to the basics and focus, I start looking for wine I have never tried. The other thing I get sloppy about is writing down what I love and why. Years ago, I was given a wine tasting notebook. This is a place you write down what you taste, all the specifics you find in the wine. It is a great resource for me and a source to re-try some wine I tasted years ago.
The Basics of Wine Tasting
Swirl your wine in the glass. This adds air and opens the aromas and tastes in the w
“Look” at your wine. Take a piece of white paper and look at your wine in the glass above it. What color is dominant, how dark is it, etc.?
“Smell” your wine. This is very important. Much of our tastes comes from smelling. Are there fruit smells, what kind of fruit? Are there floral smalls, can you identify? Do you smell herbs, minerals? Are there spices you smell? How about earthy things, like mushrooms, dirt, etc.?
“Taste” the wine. Take a little sip, add some air to it and swish it in your mouth, letting it linger on your tongue.
Now let us identify some things.
How sweet is it? A hint or very sweet? Note: A wine labeled as dry is considered not sweet.
How tart is it? This will be the acidity in the wine and will make your mouth water.
How bitter is the wine? This is the tannins in the wine. The flavor will remind you of a wet black tea bag taste. Note: Tannins are often considered bad, but they are what add balance, structure, and complexity to a wine, also making it last longer. It is also one of the ‘good for you’ traits found in wine, especially red wines.
Would you say the wine is light in body, medium or full in body?
What do you taste? The list of possibilities is endless but identify all you can. This takes some contemplating and is different for everyone. Start with what you smelled. Do you taste any of those aromas? Narrow down the taste as much as possible. Example: You taste fruit, is it a berry, a stone fruit, or citrus? Narrow this down. If a berry, is it a red berry or black berry? Can you identify a specific one? Do this with each of the flavors.
Take another sip. Savor it. Most important question. Do you like it?
It is always fun to enjoy wine with someone. Share your tasting thoughts with each other, remembering that what you taste may not be the same as someone else. However, I have found that a friend will help me identify a flavor I am tasting but cannot identify.
Enjoy something new today.