Wine swirling is sometimes seen as pretentious, but it has a real, practical purpose. It makes wine taste better, but the reason why may surprise you. Swirling is used to open up the wine’s “bouquet,” its unique combination of aromas. Wine’s rich flavor is made up of dozens of different flavors. For instance, dry Tuscan Chiantis are recognized for their cherry and floral notes. The lesser-known Tuscan white wine, Vernaccia, is known for its profile of apple, lemon, and almond.
When a drinker swirls their wine, oxygen begins to release these flavors and aromas. The wine becomes more complex through the aeration process. If you have never tried this technique, there are a few things you should know. Less is more. You generally need to swirl your wine just once, before the first sip. You also do not need to swirl your wine aggressively. A light swirl is all you need to open up the bouquet in most wines.