I don't think we're alone when we say that when we attend a wine tasting event, we feel intimidated. So now that we know how, we want to share a step by step guide on how to taste wine like the experts.
Wine experts seem to know everything about how to taste wine and they do it with such flair and confidence. We on the other hand timidly smell the nose, swirl it around a bit in our glass and say things like “that's really nice.” Not very professional.
But during our time in Greece, we attended a wine tasting in Crete where we were taught exactly what to look for, how to pour and swirl our glass and even how to rinse the wine out between pours. We now feel like we know how to taste wine like the experts. We may not know what we're actually tasting or smelling, but we sure look the part. So for your next wine tasting experience, enjoy our step by step guide of how to taste wine like the experts.
Step by Step Guide: How to Taste Wine Like the Experts
When the wine is first poured into the glass, hold the tilted wine glass over a piece of white paper. This is to check for the age of the wine. If there is a transparent ring at the top, it is a young wine. If it is more dense, it is a more mature wine. Our wine expert explained this to look like a fingernail. The wine is shaped like a fingernail when the glass is tilted and the lighter portion is the length of the nail. That is where you should look to see if the wine is young or old.
- You then smell the wine. Give it a good smell before you swish it around in the glass. Think about what your nose senses. Really take your time and enjoy.
- Swish your glass in a circle to bring out the flavours of the wine. You can either do it in the air or on the table. Hold the glass by the stem at the base and swirl it around letting the wine flow up the sides of the glass. I remember my sister always doing this and saying things like “This wine has good legs” It's not really for that reason you swish. You don't look at the consistency of the wine, this is the part where you are letting the aromas rise out of the glass.
- Sniff the nose again. This is when you will really smell the aroma because you have released the flavours. Tilt the glass 45 degrees and give it a good deep smell.
- Once you give it a good sniff, think about what you are smelling. What spices, fruits, flowers do think you smell? Chances are you will be right!
Note: My go to smell that I always mention is “Berry” I say, Ooh, I smell berries of some kind. Could it be blackberry or cherry?” They always smile and say “yes!” (they probably know my scam, but it's fun either way)
Think about the types of things that will be in wine like: Berries, fruit, nuts and spices. Or think about things like caramel, molasses, vanilla or black current. What about woods like oak or pine? When you have an idea of what you are smelling you can seek it out easier.
Now it is time to taste. This is not the time to take a timid little sip and say “That's nice.” This is a time to truly taste the wine, savour it and discover the flavours on your pallette. So how do you do that?
- Take a good sip of the wine.
- Hold it in your mouth
- Count to 10. Between the counting of 3 -5 take in some air with the wine in your mouth. It's like sipping in air. From 6 – 10 hold it again and savour the taste.
- Drink or spit, you choose. After all, you aren't a professional so you don't have to spit the wine out. We always drink it.
Congratulations, you've done your first successful wine tasting!
But as you know, every wine tasting doesn't stop with just one glass. You need to try several varieties of wine, so between each tasting, you need to cleanse your glass. Many people won't finish the glass of wine and will instead pour the rest out, but if you are like us, you'll finish it all. I'm not giving up a glass of great wine! But here is how the experts do it.
- Pour wine out into the jug or bin provided.
- Rinse your glass by pouring water into the glass and swirling it around.
- Pour out the water, but not in one swoop. Lay the glass on it's side and twirl the water out slowly so that it rinses all the wine from the sides of the glass.
- Rinse your mouth: You need a fresh and clean pallette to taste the next glass of wine, so take a sip of water, and rinse.
You are finished your wine tasting and now you know how to taste wine like an expert!
Now get out there at your next party or when you order your next bottle of wine at a restaurant and taste it with confidence.