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Comprehensive Guide to Wine Tasting

Wine tasting is an art and requires the usage of the four senses of taste, smell, sight and touch. Whether it is red wine or some other kind, in order to appreciate its true quality you need to be a good wine taster.

How to Hold your Wine Glass

Make sure to hold the wine glass so that the rim is towards you. This helps channel the aroma to help you smell it better. This position of the glass will also ensure that you are able to swirl it without getting the wine spilt.

How Much to Pour

Ideally, you should pour as little as an inch of wine into your glass. If you taste more than one type of wine, you should pour even lesser. The rule of thumb is to start with lighter wines such as white wine and then move on to the fuller bodied ones such as red wine. Through such a progression, your taste is sensitised to appreciate the denser wines better.

How to Evaluate Wine Quality Using Your Senses

There are four aspects to assess the quality of any wine. The first is the wine’s appearance. Second is its aroma, third the way it feels against your tongue and last how it tastes in your mouth. The best way to gauge the colour of a wine is by looking at it in daylight.

Colour: The colour of a wine is an indicator of its age. You need to hold the glass up and place it against a white coloured background. This helps you get the exact colour of the wine. In the case of white wine, the colour will enhance as the wine ages. However, the exact opposite is true of red wine. The younger versions have more reddish and burgundy tinges to them whilst the older wines have brownish colouring, especially on the rim.

Smell: The true smell of a wine is obtained by swirling it vigorously inside the glass. The topmost layers will provide floral as well as fruity aromas whilst deeper layers reveal richer scents. The smell of wines differs from spicy to floral to even woody fragrances.

Touch: The way the wine feels against the tongue also indicates the quality. Wines differ in touch from flabby and flat touch to refreshing zingy sensations. Most wines will have tannins in them, which act as preservatives. These impart a prickly sensation on your tongue when you swirl the wine around inside your mouth. The older the wine, the more mellow is its touch. The best wines have a soft and rich touch to them.

Taste: This is the last stage of the wine tasting process. You need to sip a small amount of the wine and then swirl it around inside your mouth all around your tongue. Once your tongue is saturated with the wine you should keep the wine inside for a brief moment. The taste will differ from full-bodied to light acidic to crisp. You might also find the wine tastes similar to the smell.

The Aftertaste or Finish

It is important to gauge the wine’s aftertaste because it provides the final impression about the quality. The finish or aftertaste can range from short to long. Tasters often describe this as the length of the wine. The best wines have the longest finish and that is the true indicator of the quality.

Wine Aromas

There are many different kinds of aromas, which you can expect from a wine. These differ according to the method of manufacture, the source of the fruit and other aspects. The main aromas or bouquets of wines range from vegetative to woody, fruity to caramelised, chemical to earthy, nutty to pungent, floral to spicy, microbiological to oxidised and many more.

What Describes the Best Wine?

Now that you know how to taste wine and assess the differentiating aspects you need to know how to assess high quality wine when you see one. Whether it is red wine or white wine you can determine its quality based on the colour, aroma, touch and taste. In addition to these four basic aspects, there are other factors such as whether the food complements the wine, if all aspects of the wine are in proportion or balance, if the finish is long enough to leave a lasting impression.

Knowledge of Grape Varieties

It is also important to be knowledgeable about the various kinds of grapes and the wine making process. This education helps you appreciate the wine tasting process even more.

Never rush through a tasting process. You need to experience the wine through all your senses and really feel it to assess its quality. This is an art, which takes time and patience to master.

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