Wine Tasting - How to Taste Wine?

Incredible variety of wines that were made in the last few centuries have created the wide following of wine tasters, who examine and evaluate every sensory aspect of wine. As thousand year old recipes started changing with the advancement of winemaking technologies, many new tastes and flavors introduced new era of wine tasting. First practice of wine tasting started in 13th century, and since then tasters introduced variety of new ways to describe the range of flavors, aromas and general characteristics of a wine.

Tasting Wine

The main goal of winetasting is establishing the complexity and character of the wine, potential for aging or immediate drinking, and possible faults. To ensure the impartial judgment of professional tasters, wine is often served "blind" - without the possibility for taster to see the label or shape of the bottle, sometimes served in black glass which masks the color of the wine (this is done to fight the tester's prejudices of specific vintages, regions, color or other considerations).These examinations are done by following four main steps of winetasting:

  • Appearance of wine - The first thing taster must do is to check out the color (at the rim and the center of the glass) and clarity of wine (opacity of the liquid, presence of the sediments, tinges at the edges, presence of the cork particles).
  • Aroma of the wine in the glass - Sense of smell in the glass is one of the most important first impressions of the wine taster. To get the perfect initial sample, swirl your glass for around 10 seconds, to allow some of the wine alcohol to vaporize in the air and allow the aroma to be released in the glass. After first smell, take big inhale of the glass capturing deep scents of the wine. Impressions captured this way often paint good picture of the wine's overall quality.
  • Taste - The main phase of the winetasting starts with a small sip of the wine that is allowed to roll in the mouth. So called "attack phase" describes the first initial impression of the wine, with all of its flavors attacking the senses of the taster. After that taster starts to feel the evolution of the wine, trying to feel all the subtle differences of the wine, fruit flavors or spices.
  • Aftertaste - In this last stage, taster determines how long the taste remains in the mouth and the effect of the aftertaste flavors.

Wine tasting competitions started occurring regularly ever since the first one was established in 1224 by the French king. Wines from all around the world compete following strict rules concerning vintage, glassware, storing and serving temperature, and scoring systems. In the last few years several schools have even offered classes that teach the public the intricacies of the winetasting art.