The best way to know and learn about wine is to understand your likes and dislikes.
This requires putting some thought and effort into really tasting your wine instead of just gulping it down. I’m not talking about being the pretentious wine snob who forcefully swirls their wine glass and snorts like a pig to sniff the wine. However, there are five basic steps that you can learn how to do discreetly that will also enhance your understanding of what wine you like. After all, drinking wine is all about enjoying what you like!
Step 1: Sight
Look at your wine. Hold the glass at a slight angle. Is it light in color, indicating a lighter taste? What color is the red wine? Is it more of a purple, ruby red color indicating a young wine or turning into more of a garnet color, indicating an older wine? Is your white wine a straw or light yellow color, indicating a younger white or does it have a golden hue, indicating an older white wine?
Step 2: Swirl
Swirl the wine carefully to coat the sides of the glass. By doing this, it helps the wine release its aromas. Also, if you notice heavy drip lines, or legs of wine down the glass, known as viscosity, there is probably high alcohol content and more residual sugar in the wine.
Step 3: Smell
Put your nose into the glass and smell the wine by slowly inhaling. What do you notice? Do you smell lots of fruit? Earth? Wood? Remembering what wines smell like will help you remember similar wines later so you can drink what you like! For me, the aromas I notice while smelling a wine are the most important in remembering what wines I like.
Step 4: Taste
Take a nice big sip. What does it taste like? Does it taste like anything you smelled? Do you like the wine? Great wines tend to have complex flavors and nice balance. Is it mouthwatering? Fresh, crisp white wines give you that mouth cleaning, acidity. If you are drinking red wine, the drying sensation is from the tannins.
Step 5: Savor
A high quality wine will linger on your palate longer. Take time to savor your wine and enjoy the finish before taking another sip!