Any seasoned wine drinker knows that it often takes sampling tons of different wines to find one you absolutely love. Whether you like to attend wine tastings (see our last blog post for the scoop on virtual wine tastings) or prefer to enjoy wine from the comfort of your own home, knowing the proper way to taste wine is essential for finding the wines you’ll reach for time after time. Here are a few of our best tips that will have you wine tasting like a pro in no time!
Choose Your Glass
When it comes to tasting wine, choosing the right glass is essential. Certain wine glasses work better for certain types of wine- for example, white wines are served best in smaller bowled glasses in order to preserve floral aromas and maintain a cooler temperature. Red wines, on the other hand, typically do well in glasses with wider opening, as this type of glass can help lessen the bitterness of the tannin and give the wine a smoother mouthfeel.
Take A Look
It may sound silly, but a lot of what you need to know about a wine can be found in its appearance. Some things to keep an eye out for when looking at wine are its color, opacity, and viscosity, which refers to whether or not a wine has “legs” i.e. the droplets of wine that stick to the side of the glass after it has been swirled.
Use Your Nose
The smell of a wine is another important step when it comes to wine tasting. When smelling a wine, there are three main aromas to sniff for: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary aromas are grape-derivative- think things like fruits, herbs, and florals. Secondary aromas come from the winemaking process, via human intervention during fermentation. Lastly, tertiary aromas come from the aging of the wine, typically in a bottle or in an oak barrel. These aromas can range from vanilla to roasted nuts and are usually of the savory variety.
Time to Taste!
Now comes the exciting part! Depending on the type of wine you are tasting, there are certain flavor notes and mouthfeels you can expect to encounter. For example, a wine like pinot grigio is known for its bitterness, so you will likely taste these flavors on your tongue. You should also take notice of the “length” of a wine, which refers to how long the taste lingers after you’ve swallowed it. When it comes to the length of a wine, there is beginning, middle (mid-palate) and end (finish). Keep all of these things in mind when enjoying a glass of wine and you’ll feel like a true wine connoisseur!
Steve’s Tip: “A good rule of thumb is if you like what you are smelling you will like how it tastes,” says Steve Pollack, National Sales Director at Legacy in a Glass. “Your olfactory bulb is located between your eyes. This gland sends signals to your brain which send signals to your palate of what you are tasting. The better you develop your sense of smell, the better taster you will become. For example, smell the fresh herbs you cook with, seasoned meat, flowers, fresh fruit, licorice, cherries, blueberries, coffee beans and vanilla beans. These flavors will get stored in your olfactory bulb and help you become a star taster. So smell, smell, smell.”