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  • How to taste wine

    I have been a fully committed wine drinker for many years, but have only relatively recently started to pay attention to what I’ve been drinking. For a long time the idea of wine tasting completely baffled me, and to me appeared pretentious and snobby. But I have learned a few simple rules that are easy to remember and have actually helped me to enjoy my wine even more! After all, why spend money on something if you’re not going to enjoy it to it’s full potential?

    So here’s a step-by-step, simple guide to looking at, smelling, and tasting your wine – the appearance, smell and taste of the wine are all equally significant.

    Step 1
    Pour yourself a glass of wine

    Step 2
    The first thing to observe is the appearance of the wine. It’s best to do this against a white background. Look at the colour: This can tell you the age of the wine. Red wines start life as a deep purple colour and over time start to take on a paler, brick red hue.
    White wines on the other hand, start out paler and become a richer, more golden colour over time. For both reds and whites, warmer climate wines tend to be more richly coloured than their cooler climate counterparts.

    Step 3
    Smell the wine. To strengthen the aroma, swirl the wine around in the glass and then put your nose in the glass and take a good, long sniff. Think about what aromas are coming up from your glass. Young wines will have ‘primary aromas’ that smell fruity – perhaps of blackcurrents or raspberries.
    As they age, wines develop ‘secondary’ aromas which can be more earthy, such as leather or oak. Some believe that this part of the wine tasting is just as satisfying as the actual taste of the wine. Each to their own.

    Step 4
    Tasting the wine. Take a sip and hold it in your mouth. Breathe in and out through your nose and slurp some air through your mouth over the wine. This helps release the aromas. It is also a great skill to do this without laughing.
    Notice how the taste changes as you hold the wine in your mouth. Now swallow. The taste that remains in your mouth is known as the ‘finish’. It may linger for a while and this is known as the ‘length’ of the wine. Wines with more ‘length’ are generally of a better quality.

    After following these four steps you should have a good idea about the wine and if you like what you see, smell and taste – bottom’s up!

    Monday, 1 November 2010 14:57:02 Europe/London