I started to explain it then I told him, I will wright about it and that way IMG_0010 could get all the thoughts on what I do in one place. Tasting wine is different from just drinking with dinner or at a party with friends. I see this as a process to investigate the wine and discover the nooks and crannies that make each wine unique and different. Now I am not saying that these five steps do not apply when you have wine with a meal, but if you are doing a serious tasting this is what I see you should do. Please let me know what you think or how you taste wine in the comments.

1. SEE Hold the glass by its stem and tip it away from you, preferably against a white or light background. The white allows you to see the different shades of color, particularly at the rim where the age of a wine tends to show. Red wines range from deep purple to pale tawny; whites go from pale greenish-yellow to deep gold. As a rule, red wines lose color with age; whites deepen in color with age. Usually, the browner a wine, the older it is.
2. SWIRL Wine’s flavor molecules are given off only on the surface of the liquid. By swirling, you maximize the wine’s surface area and release more of the bouquet. As you swirl, lift the glass to your nose.
3. SMELL Smelling is a very important part of the tasting process. Think about how smell affects your enjoyment of food. Smell the wine three times, swirling each time to release the bouquet. Notice if the wine is clean and attractive, the intensity of the smell, and what the aromas bring to mind. Negative or “off ” smells are:

  • Vinegar: Too much acetic acid in wine.
  • Sherry: Too much oxygen in wine.
  • Cork: Wine has absorbed the taste of defective cork making it musty or moldy in flavor.
  • Sulfur: Too much sulfur dioxide present. (Sulfur dioxide is used as a preservative.)
4. SIP Take a sip of wine and try to make sure that all of the tongue is exposed to the liquid. Hold the wine in your mouth for 3 seconds before swallowing. Notice how sweet or sour, bitter, astringent, or alcoholic the wine is. Gauge the body of the wine. Think skim milk, milk, heavy cream. Also, how does the wine feel in your mouth? The term “mouth feel” is used for the sensations experienced.
5. SAVOR Now is the time to assess the wine as a whole. Do I like this wine? Why or why not? Were all the elements in balance or did one of them seem obtrusive? In young reds, tannin often dominates while young whites are often very acid. In an older wine, this lack of balance would be a fault. Is the wine light, medium, or full-bodied? What kinds of food would work well with this wine?


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