To expand your knowledge on appreciating both wines and wine producers producers, learning to taste wine is a fairly straightforward process. Using your natural senses of sight, smell, and taste you will be able to sample wine as a professional hardly any time at all! Understanding that the sense of smell is capable of distinguishing thousands of scents in comparison to the sense of taste, which is limited determining sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Combining the two senses will enable you to distinguish the discerning flavour of each wine.
With a fine glass of wine in hand, view the fluidity of the wine. When you tilt the glass away from you, notice the colour of the liquid from the edge of the rim to the middle of the glass. It is advisable to have a white, clear background, for example, a napkin or white tablecloth is ideal.
Looking beyond the obvious colour groups of white, red, or blush, determine whether the colour is actually maroon, burgundy, garnet, brick, red, or purple. If you are reviewing a white wine, establish whether the colour is in fact a pale yellow, straw-like, golden, light-green, brown, or amber in appearance.
The next step is to establish the opacity of the wine, eg. Is it watery, translucent, opaque, or dark? Is there still sediment present? Tilting and swirling the glass will enable any sediment or cork to float to the top. The older the red wine, the more orange tinges there will be on the edges of the glass than a younger red wine. Older whites tend to be darker than white wines.
Paramount in sampling wine is our sense of smell. Swirling the glass for a good 10-15 seconds will enable you to gain a good impression of the aroma as this releases some of it’s more natural aromas by vaporizing some of the alcohol. Once swirled, inhale deeply to gain your first impression.
Placing your nose further into the glass, inhale deeply. Concentrate and assertain whether you can smell oak, flowers, vanilla, berry, or citrus. The aroma of the wine can determine the not only the quality of the wine, but also the unique characteristics. Swirling the glass once more allowing the aromas to blend, inhale through the nose again.
Now, you can finally taste the wine. A small sip is required and let it slowly roll around the mouth. With three stages of taste, Attack, Evolution, and the Finish:
The initial impression of the wine on your palete is called the Attack Phase. Comprising of four elements, tannin, alcohol, acidity, and residual sugar. Ideally, all four components should be well-balanced and one will not be more predominant than the other, displaying a blend of flavours rather than one specific flavour.
Occasionally referred to as the mid-palate or middle range phase, the evolution phase analyzes the actual taste on the palate. You are looking to determine the flavour profile of the wine for example, if you are sampling a red wine, you may note fruit, plum, prune, fig, or berry, or even some spice, pepper, cinnamon, clove, or a more woody flavour such as cedar, oak, or detect a hint of smokiness. White wine may offer the taste of fruit, such as pear, tropical, citrus, or apple, or possibly a more floral or natural taste such as honey, herbs, earthiness, or butter.
The final phase is the wine’s finish. How long does the flavour impression remain after swallowing? Aftertaste is important, how long did it last, several seconds? Was it full-bodied similar in texture to cream? Medium-bodied, similar to milk? Light-bodied, similar to water? Does the taste remain at the back of your throat and mouth? The final flavour impression, was it fruity, butter, or oak? Was the taste bitter? Any, the ultimate question, do you want to take another sip?