How to taste wine like a pro

How to taste wine like a pro

There is really no official way to taste wine but wine experts and professionals generally agree on a 4 step process to taste wine. This is because wine is a complex product that has various characteristics, and for those keen on wine, the below guide can serve as a standard tasting procedure.

Look ➡️ Smell ➡️Taste ➡️Memorise


Wine tasting is a full sensory exercise, in that case, you will need to engage all your senses in the exercise.

Look

A visual inspection of the wine under neutral lighting. This will help identify the visual characteristics such as color, viscosity, tinge etc. Most of the characteristics you can observe will most likely be on the bottle label as well such as the grape varietal, vintage etc.

Smell

Identify aromas through orthonasal olfaction (e.g. breathing through your nose) Some people will advise you to dig in your nose in the glass. At this point, you might want to swirl the wine in the glass. This helps the wine to release its aromas. It is good to take note of any aromas you are able to identify from this exercise; most wines will have aromatic characteristics of fruits, herbs, spices etc.

Taste

Assess both the taste structure (sour, bitter, sweet) and flavors derived from retronasal olfaction (e.g. breathing with the back of your nose). Take note of how the tip of your tongue experiences the wine, as well as how that changes towards the back of your mouth just as you are about to swallow the wine.

How is the texture? Meaning how does the wine leave your mouth feeling. Reds can also leave the insides of your mouth with a rough feeling, a factor of the tannins in red wines.

Length. How long does the taste linger in your mouth?

Think/Conclude

This is the last step where you develop a complete profile of a wine and file that in your memory. Did you like the wine? Was it memorable? What did the wine make you think of?

This is a step that we naturally perform subconsciously but when you are intentional about it, you can keep a catalog in your memory of favorite and memorable wines.

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