Wine Tasting 101

How to Taste Wine

Wine is delicious. And all you need to do is pour it and drink. Voilà, wine-tasting finished!

So what’s with all the rituals and stuff that some people go through when tasting, and why do they do it? Simply said, when you are evaluating a wine with others, it can help to have a common language, so that you are talking about similar aspects of the wine, right? That’s all it is. A common process and then a common language.

I don’t think it’s necessary to know all the lingo, honestly, if this Riesling from Oskar Hager reminds you of your grandmother’s apricot pie, then that is what it tastes like to you. But someone else will probably not know that particular flavour, so that’s where the lingo comes in!

Here are the different things that influence how the wine tastes:

The Glass

hat you should use a clean for wine tasting seems pretty self-explanatory. But even better than that is to rinse the glass (making it “green”) with a small amount of wine to free it of any dust or aromas from storage. Just a touch, then pour it out.

The Eye

What colour is the wine, does it lean towards green or is it more golden-yellow? A general rule of thumb is the greener a wine, the younger. So the darker the colour, the older the wine is.

Then look at the glass, does the wine leave tracks down the sides of the glass? That often means that it has a high-isa alcohol content. Do the tracks move slowly? That’s more sugar, which means a sweeter wine!

Wine Tasting, Aroma Wheel

The Nose

Swirl the wine and have a sniff. What does the wine smell of, fruit or vegetables? Maybe spices? Does it smell clean or a little musty?

Over the course of our lives we meet and store flavours, but are not necessarily able to recognise and name them without practise. This is where the aroma wheel comes in handy, to guide you from that feeling to the common lingo I mentioned before. And yet it still doesn’t mean that everyone will taste the same thing! What reminds one person of gardens and grasses may still remind you of Grandma’s apricot pie! And you know what? You are both right, no matter what anyone else says.

The Mouth

Now we get to the actual tasting! Take a sip of the wine, and swirl it around your mouth, practically (but maybe discreetly!) gargling with it. Try letting the wine hiss through your front teeth and let the wine coat your tongue. All of this spreads the wine around, so that all areas of the mouth can experience aromas and textures. Now swallow a sip and exhale. Sensual. Okay! What do you taste? Is the wine good? Salty? Sweet? If you want, this is another good time to glance at the aroma wheel, and compare your opinion now with the one you had earlier.

Compare!

What do you think about this wine? How about the price? Would you drink this wine yourself, or even give it to someone?

And that’s it! You have completed a wine-tasting! A rather basic and human action, but one that can be deepened and broadened in the most fascinating way, which can turn the simple act of taking a sip into a wondrous and rich experience.

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