Learning how to taste wine involves engaging the sense of sight, smell, taste, and touch, all with the goal of finding a wine to suit your palate. Here’s we have a 5S’s guideline for you, it helps you to get the most out of any glass of wine and gain an appreciation for it.
See – Swirl – Sniff – Sip – Savor
See the Color
The color of the wine will give away some basic secrets to the wine and will help guide you for the rest of the steps. Here’s what you need to do, hold your glass to the light or against a white background. Looking through the wine, the depth of color can give clues to the grape variety. For instance, Pinot noir will be lighter and more transparent than deep ruby cabernet sauvignon. Darker wines tend to be more bold and heavy than lighter wines which are more crisp and refreshing. The intensity of color within each varietal gives the drinker an idea of how the wine taste.
Swirl the wine a couple of times, give it air. Proper aeration of wine helps to improve the flavor by increasing the amount of scent produced. By swirling the wine, you’ll release a lot more aroma compounds and likely get a deeper, more flavorful taste. By exposing the wine to a lot more oxygen, it begins to break down and “open up”. The best time to smell your wine is after you’ve swirled it. You can always look more closely at your wine and observe its color, texture, and general aroma.
The first step in smelling your wine is giving it a good swirl. Breathe in for three or four seconds. Notice all the different aromas -fruits, vegetables, nuts, spices, flowers, minerals, wood, earth, smoke, etc. These form the wine’s bouquet. The bouquet of wine can tell you many hints as to what you will find when you take the first sip. From the smell, you can also learn of any fault in the wine, such as cork taint, oxidation, or yeast contamination.
And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for – tasting the wine. Begin with taking small sips from your glass. Try swishing around the wine so it coats the inside of your mouth to get the full effect. Notice how the wine moves across your palate, how your tongue reacts, and what lingers after swallowing. Do you salivate from the acidity? Do you taste sweetness? These concentrated sips will help you pick out certain attributes of your wine that you otherwise wouldn’t get from an elegant chug.
Here’s where the finish comes into play. You want to savor the final essence of a wine. At this stage, you not only look for length but the balance of fruit, acidity, tannin, and texture. When a wine leaves you with an overwhelming desire for another sip, this is the time to think of what meal to have with it, what special occasion to serve it, etc., you know you’ve found a winner.