Wine tasting is the practice of sampling and evaluating different varieties of wine. It can range from a casual activity among friends to a more formal event. Learning the basics of wine tasting will allow you to get the most out of your experience. Here are four helpful wine tasting tips for beginners.
Hold the Glass Properly
One of the basics of wine tasting etiquette is knowing how to hold the glass the correct way. When learning how to hold a glass of wine properly, you should remember two things:
- Always hold the glass by its stem.
- Never touch the bowl.
Holding the stem keeps your hands from warming up the wine while avoiding unsightly fingerprints on an expensive crystal glass. Swirling your glass before taking a sip is another key step in proper wine tasting etiquette. This process introduces more oxygen into the liquid, releasing aromas that will help you identify flavor and texture notes when drinking. Furthermore, swirling helps evenly disperse any sediment or tartrates at the bottom of a bottle.
Smell the Wines
After swirling your glass, the next step in wine tasting is to smell the wine. Before taking a sip, you should take several deep sniffs of the bouquet and try to identify any primary aromas or scents. These can range from fruity notes such as apple, peach, or apricot to floral hints such as rose, violet, or lavender. More complex wines may present subtle nuances, such as earthy tones like leather or tobacco. Remember that smell plays a huge part in how we perceive taste.
Eat Some Food
A best practice is to have some food in your stomach when tasting to help the wine settle and to avoid overindulging. Eating food will also help you appreciate all aspects of the beverage and provide a contrast in flavors that can reveal hidden characteristics in different varietals. Cheese is one of the most popular accompaniments for sampling wines. Its creamy texture helps cleanse your palate between sips and allows you to detect subtler notes with each tasting.
Spit Out the Wine
Spitting out the wine is a key part of wine tasting and can help prevent overindulging. Spitting helps clear the palate for more accurate tasting and prevents alcohol overconsumption. When spitting out wine, doing so properly is important.
Start by taking a sip, then hold the liquid in your mouth for several seconds before expelling it into a spittoon or another nearby container. This process will ensure you’ve fully experienced all flavors before discarding them. Also, moderation is key when sampling multiple varieties. If possible, aim for one-ounce pours instead of two-ounce pours, and remember—spitting is okay.
Now that you have four helpful beginner’s tips for wine tasting, you can enjoy a wine tasting event confidently. Following these tips will help you through the process and allow you to get the most out of the experience.