Wine tasting tips - Do You Know What The
Four Stages of Wine Tasting Are?

Okay. We found some wine tasting tips to help make the experience fun...

Each winery differs in the amount of wine you receive per sample. So know your limit and drink responsibly.

First off... there are four stages to wine tasting...

But before we get started... here’s a short video from Frank Mangio, a Southern California Wine Columnist, with some helpful wine tasting hints.

Just watch...

The first stage of wine tasting is...

Appearance - now this wine tasting tip can reveal winemaking flaws, such as... clarity of the wine - as well as the overall color.

Holding a wine glass by the stem keeps the heat of your hands from changing the temperature of the wine... and your fingerprints from affecting the appearance of the wine.

View the wine by holding the glass to a light or white colored background in a well lit room.

Tipping the glass slightly will give you a better view.

Swirling the wine in a glass oxygenates the wine. When oxygen is introduced to a wine it releases the chemical components that produce those aromas you’re searching for and is thought to smooth the taste of the wine.

If you find yourself spilling the wine as you swirl, place your wine glass on a table and swirl the wine using the table as a base. Give the wine a few good circular motions, allowing the oxygen to penetrate the wine.

Legs - or "Tears" - Are the thick droplets of wine that form on the inside of the glass and stream down when wine has been swirled or consumed.

The legs are a visual tool for assessing a wine's body and flavor characteristics before actually tasting the wine.

Some wine connoisseurs believe that the appearance of legs indicates a full-bodied and luscious wine. Or the lack of legs - tears - indicates a weak wine.

The wine tasting tip for stage 2 is...

Aroma - a term used to describe the smell of a young wine. More specifically, it refers to the distinct aroma of the grape variety.

Once you have successfully swirled your wine, place your nose into the bowl of the glass and sniff.

Now here's a wine tasting tip you may not know. There is no proper sniffing technique.

Some wine connoisseurs prefer to sniff by quickly inhaling two or three times. Others prefer one deep sniff or smelling with one nostril at a time.

Try each of the sniffing techniques. But be sure to swirl between each to see if it affects the results.

Closing your eyes may help you concentrate.

The nose is capable of detecting 2,000 or more scents.

The aromas are often fruit related. Such as... black or red raspberries, and may simply be described as "fruity".

Secondary aromas most often appear in wines that have been aged. For instance, wines that have been aged in wooden casks typically take on overtones of woodsmoke, cedar, and/or vanilla.

Then the fun begins. Stage 3's wine tasting tip is all about...

Taste - sensations in the mouth - To do this properly, you must do it slowly.

Oh, by the way... did you know that the tongue is capable of detecting only 4 flavors?

Yep! Sweet. Sour. Bitter. And salt.

  • The tip of the tongue detects sweetness
  • The inner sides of the tongue detect sourness and/or acidity
  • The outer sides of the tongue detect saltiness
  • The back of the tongue detects bitterness and/or alcohol

So... since the nose is capable of 2,000 or more scents, that means that 90% of what we taste is detected by the nose rather than the tongue.

Take a sip and hold it in your mouth, on your tongue so that it saturates your taste buds.

  • How does the wine feel? Is it delicate and light or is it heavy and full?
  • Dry or sweet? If you do not detect sweetness, the wine is considered to be a dry wine.
  • How would you describe its texture? In other words is it... course, thin, rich, velvety, fizzy, buttery, or do you even notice anything?
  • When the wine is to the front of your mouth, do you feel a prickling - or "bite" - sensation? This is how you determine the wine’s acidity. Essential in all wine - it can be quite sharp. The acidity of a wine is what makes the wine crisp and fresh. If the wine is too low in acidity it is considered flat and sour.
  • If the wine is red, tannin - a wine's pucker power - should be detected on the roof of your mouth, on your tongue and your teeth. The presence of tannin will dry out the middle and back of your tongue. The taste of tannin is similar to cold black tea.
  • Does the wine have a blend of flavors or is there a prominent characteristic?
  • How intense is the fruitiness of the wine? The intensity is dependent on the varietal, growing conditions, and the techniques used in the making of the wine.
  • Does the wine feel hot and full or delicate and light? The hotter and fuller the unique characteristics of the wine, the more alcohol it has.

Now, if you can... open your mouth just a tiny bit to let in some oxygen, which releases even more of the wine’s flavor, before actually swallowing or spitting out the wine.

While interpreting the wine’s characteristics, keep in mind the 4 basic components of wine. Like...

  • Acid
  • Alcohol
  • Fruit
  • Tannin

In a high quality wine, these 4 components are pleasantly balanced.

Between tastings, clean your palate by eating a bread stick, a piece of bread, or unsalted crackers.

And finally the wine tasting tip for stage 4 is about...

Finish - aftertaste - consider how your mouth tastes after the wine is gone.

The amount of time flavors linger in the mouth after swallowing - or spitting - is referred to as the length of the wine.

Generally, wines of a higher quality have a long length.

So... if the flavor lingers in the mouth for 1-3 seconds after swallowing the wine has short length... 3-7 seconds the wine has medium length... and 8 seconds or longer the wine has a good, long length.

Is it smooth? Sweet? Pleasant?

Balance is what winemakers strive for.

Your conclusion, whether you’re a novice or not, is based on personal preference and appeal.

Do not let others influence you.

The greatest appreciation and education of wine tasting is gained through experience.

As your memories accumulate, your abilities to evaluate will grow.

So taking notes during and after your tasting is important.

Like... specific characteristics. Be sure to jot down comments like...

  • Did you like the wine and why?
  • Did the characteristics fit the type of wine?
  • Was it balanced?
  • How does the wine make you feel?
  • Do you feel refreshed?
  • Do you feel Intrigued?
  • Celebratory?
  • Soothed?
  • Uplifted?
  • Heart-warmed?
  • Satisfied?

The most important part of the entire experience is having fun.

So... was it fun?

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