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How To Taste Wine. How to describe wine. Wine is meant to be enjoyed, so trust your senses and use these tips to help you fully taste wine.
How To Taste Wine – Wine Basics
There is a culture of wine snobbery that believes only a small cadre of experienced wine drinkers can fully appreciate wine to its fullest. Tasting wine is a matter of experience, not a mystical ritual that only a few of the exalted chosen can decipher. Anyone can taste wine and decide if they like the wine they have tasted.
Experiencing wine is as simple as trusting your senses. Three of your senses are used to judge wine: taste, smell, and sight. You will use these senses to gain knowledge of the wine and to store this knowledge into your memory banks.
Communicating What You Know
With your new wine knowledge, you are then able to communicate what kind of wine you like. You will be able to order wine with confidence from your friendly waiter or sommelier.
Learn to Trust Your Tongue
Concentrate on these areas of your tongue when you’re tasting wine:
The backsides of your tongue taste sour.
The very back of your tongue tastes bitter.
The middle of your tongue tastes salty.
The front of your tongue tastes sweet.
Check this out for yourself when you’re tasting wine, and see what areas of your tongue are activated.
The Process of Tasting Wine
When you’re beginning to taste wine, it’s best to start out with at least two wines to compare, but no more than four. This situation is the least overwhelming at the beginning of your wine tasting experience. Taste white wines in one setting and red wines in another setting.
An Open Mind, An Open Glass
Don’t prejudge a wine before you taste it. Even though you may think you always prefer dry white wine, try to keep an open mind. There is an old Zen saying that a person with a full glass has no room for more – knowledge, that is. Therefore, try to keep your glass half full. You never know what you might have room for!
How Does the Wine Look, Smell, and Taste?
Try to isolate the smell of the wine into the basic categories of fruity, vegetable, or mineral. Some wine connoisseurs, like Michael Broadbent of Christie’s Auction House of London, have even described certain wines as smelling “like fresh bandages.” That’s fine if you would like to use that terminology, but wine is a natural thing from the Earth, and it’s best, at first, to try to classify its more earthy smells.
Now, take a small sip of wine and let it roam around your mouth. Does the sip of wine match with the color, or not? What does your mouth tell you?
Learning to taste wine is all about learning a new vocabulary that relates to wine. Listed below are some of the words experienced wine drinkers use.
Words for Aromas and Flavors
Full – Light
Assertive – Subdued
Fruity – Vegetable
Mineral – Woody
Words for Body or Weight
Big, Full or Robust
Light or Delicate
Words for Taste
Tart or acidic
Words for Textures
After you become better at describing the tastes and smells you perceive, you will find that your mind will concoct all types of words to describe your unique wine sensations. Feel free to use your own words too!
The Optimum Wine Tasting Experience
Wine tasting should never be too serious. Try tasting wine with a few trusted fellows, and you will find that your wine knowledge grows exponentially. If you keep an open mind and allow your self to trust your senses, you will find that wine tasting is not a test for snobbery, but a pleasurable experience.