How to: Taste Wine
Whether attempting to seduce a date or impress a client, there comes a time in every man’s life when knowing how to taste and evaluate wine will elevate his worth. You don’t have to be able to distinguish between a Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc and a French Sancerre, but there is much to be gained from the ability to identify and appreciate the characteristics of a good wine. Here are a few tips to taste wine like a pro – with a touch of class and without all the pretensions.
Take a look at the wine. Is it clear? A cloudy wine could indicate a fault. Notice the colour and intensity, a potential clue to age. The rule of thumb is that over time, red wines lighten in colour and white wines darken.
Stick your nose in the glass and inhale. Swirl the wine, which releases and amplifies aromas, then take another sniff. What do you smell? Berries? Leather? Barnyard? Keep in mind certain odours indicate faults like volatile acidity or cork taint. If it smells like vinegar or wet cardboard, send the wine back.
Swish the juice around your mouth. Try discreetly sucking in some air. This might seem somewhat uncouth, but since your tongue only perceives sweet, salty, bitter and sour, most of the flavours you taste will be the result of odour molecules. Once you swallow, note the finish. How long does it last? Does it leave a pleasant aftertaste? What is your overall impression? Wine appreciation involves arousing the senses, so take your time and enjoy the process. After some practice, judging the quality of wine will become second nature. SY