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VintageView U: Wine Tasting 101

Stemware matters

  • Thin lipped, style specific makes a difference.
  • At the very least, have red and white glasses.
  • Try the same wine out of two different glasses. You’ll see.

Why we do this:
Primarily, because we are pretentious geeks, and we like to think about our booze too much. However, It’s also a key to understanding our end users. Also following these steps can tell you important things about the wine, from origin and grape to potential quality.

Step 1: Take a Look
Color is more than white, pink, or red. There are a variety of hues to the yellow tints of a white and the bold purples in a red. Trained eyes can start to guess the grape type by color alone.

Novices can start to pick up flaws — and age.

Look for:

  • Number of unique colors. The more that present, the older the wine.
  • Brownish tint. This indicates oxidation (usually a flaw)
  • Ignore a wine’s legs. Please. They tell you little to nothing about the wine.

Step 2: Swirl and Smell
A wine that hasn’t been swirled is not worth drinking. Seriously. This is soooooo important. It opens up all the sexy aromas and injects more air into the vino, which will improve its flavors when you get to step No. 3.

For the former: Tilt the glass on an angle, and stick your nose as far into the glass as you can. You should be able to snort the wine. That’s how close. If you do this enough, you will get wine up your nose, and that’s OK.

When your nose is close to the wine, you’ll pick up the notes direct from the grape (melon, dark berries, flowers). When your nose is close to the top of the glass, you’ll pick up notes from additives like oak aging (tobacco, chocolate, bacon).

Remember, there’s fruit in the glass. So if the wine is not flawed, you better be able to smell some fruit or taste it in the next step.

Step 3: Taste it

The fun part.

If you are tasting your first sip of the day, swirl and spit. Your palate needs to wake up. You’ll evaluate the goodness of the wine on your second sip.

When you are ready, take a small sip and let it sit in your mouth.\

Notice:

  • Viscosity
  • Flavors
  • Acidity
  • Tannins
  • Sweetness
  • Reference points

A trained taster can tell a lot about a wine in just one sip, from what it is to how long it’ll age.

If you love what you are drinking, try to remember the type of wine and why (earthy, sweet, smooth, tangy) you loved it. Those clues can help your next server find you a great bottle.

Most importantly, enjoy. If you like the wine, don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Download this Document (PDF)

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