How to Taste Wine

When it comes to wine tasting, there are five basic steps. Once the wine is poured into a wine glass, hold it by the stem to prevent the heat from your hand being transferred to the wine and follow these simple steps:

See - Look through the wine onto a white background like a sheet of paper.  White wines will develop more color as they age, reds will lose color.  As white wines age they will change through: yellow-green, straw, pale gold, deep gold, light amber, yellow-brown, brown. Red wines will change through: purple-pink, ruby, mid-red, & dark. Color might tell you that your wine is very young or too old.

Swirl - Swirling the wine releases the ‘volatiles’ into the air. Getting as much wine as you can on the side of the glass or decanting a wine serves the same purpose and increases the aromas released from the wine.  

Sniff - After swirling the wine, stick your nose right in the glass and take a few short sharp sniffs.  The aromas are indicative of the grape variety, age of the wine, as well as any problems. 

Sip - The tastes of wine are really aromas or smells. The most typical tastes consist of these: Sweet, typically sugars, but alcohol and glycerol can contribute to a sweet taste. No sweetness in the wine, it’s referred to as a ‘dry’ wine. You’ll taste sweet on the tip of your tongue. Sour/acid, acids give the wine crispness and freshness, without which the wine will taste flat or dull. You’ll taste sour on the back inner sides of your tongue.Bitter is usually found in oxidized wines, easily confused with tannins. Bitter you can taste across the back of your tongue. Tannins come from the grape skins and seeds & will soften with age, particularly with the help of oak. Salty is not really an important tasting flavor in wines. You’ll taste saltiness on the front outer sides of your tongue from the wine's acids.

Savor - A wine can have a short, medium, or long aftertaste or ‘finish’. Short means the taste is gone in less than 10 seconds. Medium is up to around 60 seconds and if greater than 60 seconds, then it’s a long finish.

Some people find wine tasting intimidating. Fear not, no one in our tasting room expects you to be an expert. In fact, many people visiting wineries are new or casual drinkers. Simply discover if you like it or don’t like it, which is what tasting is all about!