Tasting wine during a tasting!
The tasting portion of a wine tasting is all about the palate and getting information from your mouth to your brain. It is not subjective like the smell of wine, but rather, it is objective. When tasting a wine, you don’t really need to concern yourself with the flavors–those typically match the smells (if they don’t, that is interesting, so write it down in your notebook!) You are really looking to understand the structural aspect of the wine itself. Those things include alcohol content, acidity, sugar level, etc. More on this in a moment!
The key steps to tasting wine
Make sure you are comparing wines–you need at least two different bottles of red or two different bottles of white in order to pick out the differences between the two. This is so that you can understand the complexities–it takes practice, but you’ll get there.
Second, swish the liquid around in your mouth. Make sure you do this until you have felt it go under your tongue, between your teeth, and around your lips and gums, keeping it there long enough so your brain can take in all the sensorial information your mouth is giving it. If you want to practice aerating it with your lips and tongue, you can, but you may get a little dribbly (watch the video for this, as it’s too hard to explain here).
Third, spit out the wine into your bucket. YES! YOU HAVE TO DO THIS. Remember, you CANNOT BE DRUNK AND LEARN, so spit it out. DO NOT SWALLOW IT.
In your notebook, write down information about the following:
- Alcohol – Does the wine give out fumes or have a spiciness to it?
- Acidity – Is your mouth salivating? The more saliva produced while tasting, the higher the acidity of the wine.
- Body – Does one wine have a fuller, more well-rounded flavor than the other?
- Sugar level – Don’t confuse sweetness with fruitiness.
- Tannins (red wine only) – What level of chewiness does the wine leave in your mouth?
THE FINISH = How long does the flavor linger in your mouth after you spit? Write it down.
And voila! You’ve completed the tasting portion of your wine tasting!
P.S. Don’t forget to download my free flavor chart and free wine tasting template at the top of the page.