Wine can be intimidating, but it really doesn’t have to be. Here are 4 simple steps to make wine more approachable and enjoyable. (Warning: some winespeak ahead.)
Step 1. Sight – Look at the color of the wine as you hold it up to the light. According to Vivino, color is your first indicator of taste. For example, if a white wine has a pale yellow color with a slight green hue, you can expect it to be light and crisp. If you tilt a glass of red wine over a white piece of paper and can't see through it, the wine is most likely highly concentrated and full-bodied.
Step 2. Smell – Swirl the wine in your glass to let it breathe, then hold it up to your nose and sniff. What do you smell? Citrus? Grapefruit? Cherry? Blackberry? Lemongrass? Green apple? Plum? Is it Earthy? Spicy? Oaky? Smelling can also help you detect wine faults (think wet dog, vinegar or nail varnish) that will help you avoid a bad wine.
Step 3. Taste – Take a large sip and let it coat your mouth and let the wine sit on your tongue a bit. Then take a few smaller sips. What do you taste? Was it sweet, semi-sweet, dry, bitter? Did you taste any of the flavors you smelled? Try to pick out at least 3 fruit flavors and 3 others, one at a time.
Step 4. Finish - How did the wine “finish” – the sensation it leaves in your mouth once it’s consumed? Was is smooth, tart, acidic, bitter, fruity? Did you like it? Not your thing? Keep in mind there is no shame in dumping a wine you didn’t like.
Be sure to cleanse your palate in between sips with oyster crackers or take a sip of water (or both). And remember, there is no right or wrong in tasting wine. Everyone’s palate and preference is different. That’s the beauty of wine – there really is something for everyone. Cheers!
(Sources: Wine Folly, Vivino)