How to taste wine, tips for non-experts

How to taste wine, tips for non-experts

ragazzo degusta un bicchiere di vino rosso

To watch sommeliers tasting wine is like watching a fascinating ritual. Their slow movements and complex assessments seem so far-removed from our world. Experience and education makes the difference in life, but there is always time to learn: even when talking about wine.

To taste wine is to discover. Thanks to our senses, from sight  to the senses of smell and taste, we learn  about scents and flavours. Only through knowledge, we can assess the quality of wine.

How to taste wine:

1. Look at the wine

Once poured into the glass observe the colour of the wine, its transparency and clarity. Raise the glass against a white background, a napkin or a piece of paper to allow you to enhance the actual colour of the wine and value its intensity and shades. The red, for example, may tend to purple in younger wines and garnet in aged wines.

2. Swirl the wine

Swirling allows the wine to release its scents and allows you to evaluate its viscosity:  lighter wines flow fast on the side of the glass while stronger ones flow slower, forming the so-called “wine legs” or “tears”.

3. Smell the wine

Bring the glass to your nose and inhale deeply 2 or 3 times, pausing between one intake of breath and another and try to describe the smells you perceive. The classification of the scents of the wine is made in association with natural odours such as flowers, herbs and fruits. In time,  you will learn to distinguish them.

4. Taste

Take a sip of wine and hold it in your  mouth, making sure that all your taste buds are stimulated. Our tongue is able to recognize four basic tastes: bitter, sour, salty and sweet. Another important element to consider is the aftertaste: how long does it stay in the mouth? Is it good?

We can say that “good” wines are those with several harmonic and balanced components.

Henry VII, King of England once said: “Wine is not only for drinking, we smell it, we observe it, we can taste it, sip it and talk about it …”