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The Top 5 Wine Tasting Tips and Tricks

If you’re like many people, you can’t really tell the difference between one glass of wine and the next. Sure, you might like one kind more than another, but what does that mean? Why do you enjoy one over another? And how can you make sure that you’re ordering something you’ll really enjoy the next time you ask for a glass?

How can you learn to decipher the flavours in a wine, and appreciate those flavours while you’re drinking it? Wine is an acquired taste to many people, and it takes time and practice to learn to appreciate the many different features a glass of wine brings to your taste buds.

Below are the five best wine tasting tips and tricks:

1. Check out the colour

You may be surprised to learn that you use more than just your taste buds to taste wine. The first step to tasting wine actually doesn’t involve tasting it at all – you’re just going to look at it. Tip the glass to the side a bit and have a look at the colour. In general, white wines will gain colour with age, while red wines will lose colour with age.

This step is more about recall – learning to identify, in general, what you are about to taste before you taste it. Over time, you may also be able to pinpoint grape types or locations based on the colour.

2. Look at those legs

This is the part where you get to spin your wine in the glass, as you often see people do. What the heck are people doing though? Part of what they are doing is looking at the viscosity of the wine which can help indicate the alcohol content. A wine’s legs are the little drips that remain on the side of the glass when it is swished around. The more legs that remain, the higher the alcohol content of the wine.

3. Take a whiff

Another result of swirling the wine is that it releases the smells which can help you decipher the flavours of the wine. Swirl the wine and then smell it, with your nose close to the glass, and try to decipher the smells you can find. In general, wines have three levels of aromas. The primary level consists of fruity flavours like apples, citrus, berries, or flowers.

The secondary aromas are scents like sourdough bread, beer, or cheese. The tertiary aromas come from the aging process, which can add a wide variety of flavours to the wine. These are scents like vanilla, caramel, and oak, or even old leather or damp leaves. Those last two flavours may not sound appetizing in theory, but in practice they add some very rich and complex flavours to the wine.

4. Take a sip

It is finally time to taste the wine, but don’t swallow it yet. Take a small to medium sized sip and let your mouth feel it. As you bring the wine into your mouth, bring some air in as well. This will help deepen the taste. Gently swish it around in your mouth – not like you would swish mouthwash, but gently, as if you are sharing the wine with every single one of your taste buds and every corner of your mouth.

5. Analyze how it feels and tastes

The next step is simply to describe what you feel and taste. Is the wine heavy and thick like whole milk, or is it light and crisp like a glass of water? Now analyze the flavour. Does the wine taste sweet, sour, bitter, or even salty? And finally, how deep is the flavour? How long does it stay with your taste buds?

Finally, ask yourself: what did you think?

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