Posted by on Dec 6, 2016 in Fabio Viviani's Wine 101 | 0 comments

Many of us enjoy a nice glass of wine on a weekly, or even daily, basis. But just because you drink wine all the time doesn’t necessarily mean you are trying to taste like a pro. Which, by the way, is perfectly fine! But listening to a few of my tips on tasting brings a whole other level to enjoy wine. Having been in the wine business, I’ve learned to appreciate every glass of wine, as it’s a piece of art. Just like a painting, it’s very subjective. However, someone with training may notice intricacies, like the brush stroke technique or the period in history it was created. These things help you appreciate the piece a little more.
In wine, the aromas, flavors, and colors are important markers to take note of when truly tasting. Wine can be so much more than for just sitting down after a rough day at the office and sipping wine (again, nothing wrong with it!). When you can truly taste wine for what it is, you will appreciate not only where it came from but how delicious it really is. Read on to learn the art of tasting wine. We will go over the steps of tasting wine and the categories of appearance, aroma, mouth feel, and finish.
First thing is first. Pick the right glass for your wine choice. Long stem, short stem, big bowl, short bowl. It all depends on personal preference, but they should be egg-shaped and hold at least 14 ounces. Clean the glasses beforehand and allow to dry properly. A clean glass will allow for cleaner flavor and a better look.
After opening your wine and allowing it to breath for a few moments, (especially important for reds), pour into your glass and observe. Is the wine cloudy? Is it clear? Is there a strong deep color in reds? What type of hues are you seeing in whites? Colors in white wine vary greatly from yellow to clear to golden brown. Red wine will be a deep burgundy to brick, ruby, and garnet. Reds will begin to brown as they age. Clear wine most likely has been filtered by the winery, which means there is nothing wrong with cloudy wine. That is just how it is. Once you observe the appearance of your wine, you may be able to make some guesses as to the smell or taste. As a novice, you will be able to say what color the wine is. Your skills will increase.
Now it is time for the infamous swirl. I am sure you have seen many people swirl their glass of wine and may have found yourself wondering what these crazy people are doing. It is not crazy. It releases the aromas of the wine throughout the glass, significantly enhancing the flavor profile. Also, it may look easy, but a great wine swirl takes a certain amount of practice. Too big of movement may cause a spill and too small won’t release the aromas properly. You will want to hold your glass by its stem and move it in a fluid circular motion. Not too fast. Not too slow. This may be easier to do on a flat surface until you have the skills of the swirl down. Finally, you are ready to take a big whiff of your wine. What do you smell? White wines have lighter smells like citrus, flowers, apricot, grapefruit, pear, mint, or vanilla. Red wine will have darker smells such as oak, tobacco, coffee, plum, strawberry, and raspberry. Of course, these are just basic examples and you may pick up your notes. Wine may be bad as well. If the wine smells off, it probably is. Don’t drink bad wine and don’t be afraid do send it back if you are in a restaurant.
This is the fun part. Taste that wine! Is it thick? Is it thin? Many tannins or none? Does it taste what it smelled like? Take small sips, not a big gulp, and swish it around your mouth to get a good sample. Suck it in slowly to aerate the wine. How is the mouthfeel? Heavy or light? Is it sweet or dry? Go ahead and swallow it. You deserve it.
You finally got to drink the wine. Congratulations! Now what did you think? Would you drink more or not? It is time to draw your final conclusions based on all of the above aspects. This is the finish. Observe the aftertaste as well.  Was the wine balanced to you in flavor and scent? What did you like? What did you dislike?
Now that you have a structured system for tasting wine, you will be able to shape your preferences and level up your wine game. The more you level up your game, the more you will enjoy your wine!