After tasting wine for a profession for over 20 years, I have learned a few things. One is that the way you taste wine actually does make a difference for how the wine tastes. It isn’t just a snobby thing some sommelier invented. Here are a few steps to help you enjoy your wine EVEN MORE!!
Your first step is to raise your glass. Make sure you hold it by the stem or the base. This isn’t just to look like you are drinking wine the proper way, but there is a real reason behind this. Ideally, your wine should be served at the best temperature for it to taste its best. Now, what happens if you pick up your glass near where the wine is? You warm it up!
Believe it or not, the temperature of wine really changes the way it tastes. Picture this - your ice cream melts and maybe even that cream warms up a bit. It is a totally different taste, right? The warmer things get, they taste sweeter and the alcohol can become more pronounced.
So do yourself a favor and at least taste the wine at the intended temperature as a start! Now if you use those stemless wine glasses, just hold it by the top and you will do the same thing.
For the next step, swirl and smell the wine. Grab the stem and pretend you are drawing circles to get the wine moving around and then take a deep inhale while closing your eyes. The reason we do this is to actually get a more fragrant and easier to smell wine - swirling the air brings in the air which gets the smelling compounds in wine to intensify. I don’t know about you, but this helps me enjoy my wine even more. Smell makes up a big part of what we call taste and it evokes memories. Closing your eyes helps you focus on the smells and you can be transported. The smell is one of our tastes that is most closely associated with memories. Sometimes I recall the spices in my grandmother’s kitchen or eating summer berries in the grass. This is another one of the pleasures of wine - that ability to transport us.
So finally we are ready for the 3rd step - to slurp that juice! Yes, slurp it. Even the royals do it. I make a little trough with my tongue and then suck in air. This will help you smell the wine even better as you taste it and it will feel like a flavor explosion in your mouth. A yummy one. If you want to know more about what you are tasting you might like my video about Body in wine and my next video is all about how to describe wine.
Finally, swallow your wine and follow it to the last moment and take a moment to relish that experience. Yes, you can pay attention to how long the finish is, as this is a hint about wine quality but also don’t forget to take a moment and pause to appreciate and enjoy.
Now, if you want to practice these wine tasting steps, click on the link here to get a download of my wine chart and why practicing them will help you enjoy your wine even more.