How to taste wine

It’s not so hard to taste wine like a pro. Find valuable tips and tricks about wine tasting on this page. Wine tasting was already happening centuries ago, and people have been making money doing this for over a hundred years. So you might wonder what they know which you don’ t. After reading this article it wont be much. The pro’s will know a lot more about the history, the grape and the appellation the wine came from but these nice-to-know facts is not what makes them the pro. It’s the repetition of tasting wine over and over again combined with a bit of knowledge..

Lets start off by giving you a little of this knowledge->

getting started

Don’t let other’s opinions affect you, there is no right or wrong in your taste. Take a couple of different glasses of a similar wine and compare. There will be a wine you prefer. We’re going to stick to the basics here, all it takes is a little time and practice and we’ll show you how easy it can be to become decent at wine tasting.

smelling the wine

unusual wine racks

Your sense of smell is way stronger than you would ever know. It’s highly relevant to understanding how to taste wine like a pro. Did you know that 80% of the taste is formed by your sense of smell? Now you do, and I can see you are really surprised with this fact you can amaze your grandchildren with. Start off by swirling the wine glass

but keep the bottom of the glass on the table to prevent spilling. When you start inhaling the aromas of your wine, keep your mouth slightly open for a maximum experience of the smell. However how you nose the wine depends on your preference, inhaling deeply or taking little sniffs, it’s up to you.

defining the smell

It’s important to know the strength of our senses varies. Some people are simply more sensitive than others, one person will sense particular fragrances better than the other. Many of the scents which could be found in wine are familiar to us. You want to start trying to describe your sensations when smelling wine. The grapes used for your wine can vary a lot and can be quiet complex at the same time. More about wine complexity later in this article. Once you are able to describe what you smell in a more in-depth way, you wont categorise wine just as red or white wine anymore. You will find out that there’s a huge variety of scents and flavours in your wine.

The smell of wine call give away a lot about its possible character. Generally spoken the darker the fruits will mean a higher level of ripeness and thus increased levels of sugar and/or alcohol.
Raspberries, cherries and other red berries does often mean that the fruit didn’t get to its potential ripeness. Often times these wines will be brighter and come with higher acid levels. Blending wines will mostly increase sweetness aswell, read more about blending wine on the wine blending page.

finding the flaws

Whether the wine is red or white the fruit should smell fresh and clean at all times. Good wine tasting means that you are also able to find flaws in wine. In particular corked wine, this is wine that tastes like the cork due to a damaged or broken cork. Wine being corked will cause it to smell like old newspapers or a wet dog.

Matured wines should also retain a fresh smell. When they get older wines change their fruity aromas to a wider and more complex variety of scents. Aromas to be found in matured red wine are tobacco, cigar box, forest floor/earth while white wines get a bit more of a butter, honey popcorn/caramel kind of smell over time.

tasting the wine

becoming good at wine tasting will give you more of an insight on why you actually like or dislike certain wines. Texture and duration of taste are important factors besides the primary sensations of salt, bitter, umami, sweet and sour.The first tip is to decant wines. Young wines are almost always better with decanting. Decanting allows the wine to breathe which softens the texture and expands a great complex of aromas in the glass.

right temperatures
unusual wine racks

Make sure your decanting is being done with accurate temperatures.
Red wine prefers to be served at 60 to 65 degrees while white wine is at its best at a temperature between 55 and 50 degrees. The different aromas decrease massively when not being served at the right temperature so it’s important to take good  care of this.

right glasses

Also make sure you use a decent glass of wine.
When buying glasses make sure they are clear, glasses with an actual stem are better for tasting because they avoid having fingerprints on the glass itself so you can have a clear look. Make sure the wine glasses are wider at the bottom than at the top so it’s easier to swirl them.
We would recommend using these wine glasses if you are still looking for a taste proof and affordable option.

taste specifics

There’s big differences between drinking wine and tasting wine. You should see the tasting part as the wine’s final examination. The most important factors to examine when tasting your wine are the structure, sweetness level, duration of taste, acidity and its complexity.

Now it’s time to take a decent sip of wine, I know you already did though. So, do it again. Make sure it’s a reasonable sip as you may miss the total flavor profile. It may sound strange but the best way to get an idea of what your wine tastes like is to chew on it for a little while.

How was your experience when the wine touched your tongue? was it smooth or rough? dense or concentrated? dusty or dry? Or was it a full bodied? a term commonly used in the wine industry referring to the alcohol percentage.The taste of the first few second is called the attack.

wine tasting

Evaluate how the fruit was, freshness comes from the acidity. If the attack of the wine is sour this can be caused by under ripe fruits. When the wine is sweet and well balanced this is more likely to be a quality wine. The balance we’re talking about is a good balance between the fruit tannin and acid.

taste duration

Then we’ve got another important factor, the length of the taste. The longer the right (good, enjoyable) flavours are being  experienced in your mouth the better. Another factor of importance is the complexity of the wine.

This means that there were various sensations and flavours noticeable at once. Most wines will be tasteable for about five to ten seconds. In general the longer they last the better they are. World’s best wines can remain up to a stunning whole minute or longer.
Keep trying new wines, get intrigued by the different wine possibilities the world has to offer when it comes to wine and use these tips and tricks and you will be surprised by how easy wine tasting will become!


Step by step wine tasting guide
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Step by step wine tasting guide
Find out how the pro's do their wine tasting, become one yourself!