Wine Tasting 101...
Guests love it when they learn more about how to enjoy wine. Here is a quick three-step process you can learn in just a few minutes. It is a good way to remember how to taste a wine at home or at a restaurant. Start at the eye and work to the nose, then to the mouth, the tummy... Here are the three "top down" steps to remember.
- SEE (eyes)
Look at the wine color against a white surface. Overall, the wine should look attractive.
- Brown color in either a white or red wine is a sign of over-oxidation.
- Cloudiness is a sign that the wine is spoiled.
- Younger reds are more ruby or granite color. Older reds are more brick color.
- SMELL and SWIRL (nose)
Put your nose inside the glass and sniff. What do you smell? Blackberries, apples, fresh hay? Your nose tells you more about the wine than tasting. Now swirl on either the table or in the air, but be careful not to splash yourself. Swirling opens up the aromas and flavors and helps soften a young red's tannins. Swirling wine in your glass helps bring the aroma and flavors up to the surface.
- Aroma usually refers to a single item, such as coffee.
- Bouquet usually refers to the intricate interactions of many aromas, like a bouquet of different kinds of flowers.
- SIP (mouth)
Take a sizeable sip and roll the wine over your tongue and palate to get the feel or body of the wine. Now take a sip and "inhale" the wine like a backwards whistle. In short, it is tasting and sniffing rolled together. Move the wine around in your mouth (yes, it's OK to be noisy). The movement will release the aromas and flavors to your palate and nose, giving you a true picture of the wine's complexity. Think about what you are tasting. Is it fruity, sweet, light, buttery, well-balanced, crisp, over-acidic? Does it have a long finish or an abrupt end?
The actual process of see, smell and sip usually takes only about fifteen to twenty seconds, so it isn't necessary to make a show of it.