There are so many ways to enjoy wine. One of the best ways to get into the wine scene is to try a tasting. Especially if you are new to wine in general, it’s a great place to start to get a grip on your own palate.
They will pour from white to red, so that the boldness of big reds won’t dull the softness of a white.
1. Take a look!
Hold the glass up, give it a slight tilt and take a look at the color of the wine either against something white or natural light. Wine ranges vastly in colors that are telling of what the wine build is. From very pale straw color through ambers on their way to purples and even tawny, each bottle will have their own color.
**Fun Fact: The older the wine, the more variation in color you’ll find between the rim and center of the glass. For reds, the color by the edge of the glass can help indicate age. Young wines are more pink, while older wines move towards a brick color.
2. Swirl it around
(take a peek at the short clip above from Wine Folly’s co-founder, Madeline Puckette)
The next step in tasting is to swirl and agitate the wine in your glass. This allows your wine to open up. Most people take a close look at the legs of the wine, which really don’t hold any mysteries of the wine other than showcasing the alcohol level.
3. Give it a good sniff
At the beginning, wine can simply smell like wine. Give it another try with your nose right on the rim, if not totally IN the glass. Take a deep inhale and see if you pick up on any subtle or not-so-subtle notes. From whites to reds, your brain can only pick up on what it remembers smelling, so there really isn’t a wrong answer, and that’s why each bottle holds different scents for everyone. For instance, I can say a white wine has the smell of the pear tree in my friends yard, but you may pick up vanilla. And not all scents are those of foods, it can have a heavy tobacco or earth smell. This step allows a little preview on what your first few sips will bring.
4. Taste it
Take a sip, is it sweet or more dry? Notice how the wine feels in your mouth. Does it feel full? Check for acidity by seeing if it leaves you with a dryness or make your mouth immediately start watering? You can determine how the wine finishes by noticing how quickly it dissipates; does it fade quickly or does it linger?
5. Enjoy it!!!
This isn’t a true step, but do enjoy it. If you don’t have any wine tasting rooms near you, you can always try a bottle at home. Don’t peek at the back of the label. Open it up and go through the steps listed above and come to some conclusions of your own, and only then check the label to see if you picked up on any of the flavors they highlight.
After you get the basics down, picking up a bottle on the way home gets a LOT easier. Everyone’s palates are different and your taste will change again and again, which is half of the fun!
For an infographic on wine, click here.
For summer wine pairings, click here.