Tips For Wine Tasting Like a Pro
Have you ever been to a wine tasting before and heard someone say (or you have said) “this wine tastes very...grapey” in that professional wine-tasting way. It’s fun making jokes about not knowing how to describe the flavor of a wine because so many of us don’t have a clue about the intricacies of wine. But even a little bit of knowledge can go a long way in helping you navigate a wine tasting. Here are some helpful tips to make sure you’ll understand and appreciate each sip.
Breaking Down Wine Tasting Into Four Steps
Wine tasting can essentially be broken down into four steps: look, smell, taste, and think. We’ll dive into each step and talk about what it means so you can get some insight into the overall process of sampling different wines and understanding the differences in color, aroma, and flavor.
Before you even taste the wine, you’ll want to take a few seconds to look at the wine in your glass. To start, tip the glass to about a 45-degree angle so that there is some light that shines through the shallow end of the wine. For darker wines, like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, the darker color means that the wine is more concentrated and has a depth of flavor. Wines that are lighter in color will have a less ripe and more acidic taste.
After you’ve looked at the color of the wine, tilt the glass back to an upright position. Look at the glass where the wine was just resting on the inside. You’ll see a trail of tears or legs. You may already know that these legs indicate the level of alcohol in the wine, but it also gives a hint as to the sweetness of the wine. Thinner legs that dissipate quickly are lighter, and wider legs that remain longer have a stronger fruit flavor that is sweeter.
Just one more step until you can taste your wine! Taking the time to put your nose into the glass and smell the wine may be more important than you realize. Your sense of smell is stronger than you realize, so you’ll be able to pick up a lot of what the wine tastes like just by smelling. Before you dive in, swirl the wine around to help release the aroma into the air as well as let oxygen enter the wine.
Put your nose right into the glass, open your mouth slightly, and inhale. Rather than trying to decipher what specific fruit is in the wine right away, think more broadly about categories. Do you smell citrus, orchard, or tropical fruits? Are there red, blue, or black fruits? Are there floral aromas? Thinking about larger categories will relieve some of the frustration that may arise from feeling like you don’t smell anything specific. Once you have a general idea of what’s in the wine, you can try to narrow it down to more specific flavors or fruits. Generally, the aroma of a wine can be broken down into three categories:
- Primary: These aromas are derived from the grapes themselves and can include fruit, herb, and floral notes.
- Secondary: These aromas come from the process of making the wine, and include yeast, almond, peanut, or a beer note.
- Tertiary: These come from how the wine was aged, whether in a bottle or oak barrel. You may pick up on savory aromas, like tobacco, cedar, nuts, or vanilla.
Now you can finally experience the flavor and feel of the wine in your mouth! However, tasting the wine is much more than just sipping and swallowing. You’ll use your tongue to actually taste the wine, but you’ll also pay attention to how it feels in your mouth, where the flavor hits your tongue, and even how the aromas change after you swallow the wine.
Start by taking a reasonable sip of wine so that you’re not missing out on the whole experience. Swirl the wine around in your mouth for a second and pay attention to the sensations —
- Is it smooth, silky, rough, dustry, dry?
- Is the wine light, concentrated, or dense?
- Did it taste fresh?
- Is it sweet, bitter, spicy, or sour?
- Are the flavors balanced, meaning that one did not overpower the other?
Tasting the wine can be broken down into three considerations:
Taste: This deals with the sour, sweet, bitter, or spicy notes that you pick up on.
Texture: You may have heard the word tannin before, which can give a wine texture. A wine higher in alcohol will have an increase in texture.
Length: The finish of the wine refers to how long the flavor sits in your mouth. Generally, the better the wine the longer the finish is, and the longer you have to experience the range and complexity of the flavor.
When it comes to wine tasting, it really is about what is enjoyable to you! Think of tasting a wine like going on a first date — After you have taken the time to get to know the wine by looking, smelling, and tasting it, what stood out the most, did you like it, what was impressive, would you date the wine again (buy a bottle)? If you didn’t enjoy the time you spent with your wine, there’s no need to worry about not going back for more. Wine tasting is about experiencing different wines, flavors, textures, and aromas, so explore and find one that fits your taste.
Benefits of Drinking Wine
Not only is a glass of wine a great way to relax after a long day, but there have also been recent studies showing that wine is good for you! According to the American College of Cardiology, men and women who consume light to moderate amounts of alcohol have a lower risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease. This may be due, in part, to one ingredient in particular in red wine: resveratrol.
A naturally occurring plant compound, resveratrol helps plants fight bacteria, fungi, and other harmful elements. Resveratrol has antioxidant properties and can be found in abundance in grape skins and seeds. The compound has been linked with helping improve heart health, reducing the risk of heart disease, and keeping blood vessels healthy.
Increasing your intake of resveratrol may help protect your body and keep it healthy, just like it protects plants. Getting enough resveratrol can be tricky, though. So the team at vYv has developed a resveratrol supplement to fill in any nutritional gaps. Our resveratrol supplement contains grape seed extract, Japanese knotweed, CBD isolate, and rice flour. To give your body additional nutrients, try our natural CBD and resveratrol supplement today.