We all love to drink wine – as wine lovers our skills are pretty strong here. But do you know how to taste wine? Truly tasting wine is a bit more complicated but can be a lot of fun. When Du Vin Crush took our Level 1 WSET course, one of the big topics was tasting wine. We learned some tips and tricks and are happy to pass these along to you!
- Look at the wine. Before you even put the glass up to taste, you need to look at the wine. There are a couple of things that you should be looking for in your wine including the intensity of the color and the legs. When looking at the color, try to view the wine against a white
background. The color will tell you a lot about the type of wine that you are drinking but will also tell you about the intensity of flavor that you can expect. The second thing to look at is called the “legs” of the wine. When you swirl your wine, you will see what is called legs or tears on the side of the glass. When the tears are more intense, that indicates that there is a higher alcohol content to your wine.
- Smell the wine. The next step before actually tasting the wine is to smell what is in the glass. Many times people refer to this as checking the “nose” of the wine. Put the glass up close to your nose and see what kind of scents that you are finding. There are literally hundreds of smell profiles that can come off of the wine including fruits, herbs, oakiness, and earthiness. These smells will depend on the type of wine, how the wine was fermented, how it was stored, and where the grapes have come from.
- It’s time to taste the wine. One of the best tips that we learned during our WSET course was that it is important to take a small sip of wine and then let the wine swirl around a bit in your mouth before swallowing. This will tell you a lot about the wine. There are several flavors that you can identify from wine including sweetness, tannins (gives a drying sensation on the tongue), acidity (level of sourness), alcohol (warming sensation on the back of the throat), and the overall body.
- Develop your opinion about the wine. The last step really includes thinking about the wine. Is it in balance? Wines that are in- balance have tastes that balance the acidity, tannins and alcohol levels. Is the wine complex? If you are tasting quite a few different flavors, it might be considered more of a complex wine. And lastly – did you like the wine? This last question is really the most important!