Develop Your Palate: How to Taste Wine

“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.”

Paulo Coelho, Brida

You cannot enjoy an amazing night without a lovely bottle of wine, and selecting a good bottle for a lovely dinner should be precise and a worthy one. Learning how to taste wine involves engaging the senses of sight, smell, taste, and touch, all with the goal of finding a wine to suit your palate.

Since wine has been a part of human civilization for thousands of years, some of those pours didn’t always taste as good as what we drink today. Wine quality has improved exponentially over the past century as wine producers discover better techniques for grape growing and winemaking. Global commerce allows us to drink wines from all corners of the world. The internet allows every drinker to share their opinion which makes it all the more important to know how to taste the wine so you can get to know what’s in your glass and find wines you truly enjoy.

What to Consider When Tasting Wine

A proper wine tasting doesn’t really involve too much effort. Keep in mind that whether you are tasting with a group or for your own enjoyment, it’s important to have a way to think about wine quality. Most tasters judge wines on a scale from poor to quality to outstanding, with stops along the way at acceptable, good, and very good.

Nevertheless, whatever you choose, write down your conclusions in a notebook so you can remember what you tasted and see how your evaluations evolve over time. The best wine is not necessarily the most expensive, but rather the one you like the most based on your personal taste.

How To Taste Wine

Here are the easiest ways you can use when you decide on a tasting treat:

  • Use a wine glass with a large enough bowl to be able to swirl a 1.5-ounce taste of wine.
  • Take short breaths through your nose and breathe out through your mouth to capture the most aroma.
  • The first sip of wine will give you the most information, so pay attention before your taste buds get fatigued.

Don’t forget to spit rather than swallow your tastes if you want to keep your senses sharp.

Helpful Tasting Tips

  • Getting past the “wine” smell” it can be difficult to move beyond the vinous flavor. A good technique is to alternate between small, short sniffs and slow, long sniffs.
  • Learn to Swirl: Wine swirling actually increases the number of aroma compounds that are released into the air. Watch a short video on how to swirl the wine.
  • Find More Flavors When You Taste: Focus on one flavor at a time. From broad-based flavors to more specific ones, i.e. the general “black fruits” to the more specific, “dark plum, roasted mulberry, or jammy blackberry.”
  • Improve Your Tasting Skills Faster: Get a flight of “tastes” at your local wine bar, join a local tasting group, or gather some friends to taste several wines all at once. You’ll be shocked by how much side-by-sides of different varieties will show you!
  • Overloaded With Aromas? Neutralize your nose by sniffing your forearm.

Summing Up a Wine

Now, that you have successfully applied the strategies of proper wine tasting, what’s next? Well, that’s now up to you, if your taste prefers that specific pour then go for it, no one will judge you as long as you enjoyed your bottle. You can be confident enough to select a wine that is appropriate for your taste and the occasion you’ll host.

Enjoy your bottle! Cheers!

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