All wine should be poured into a clear glass and held in front of a white back ground, so that you can examine the color. The color of wines varies greatly, even with the same type of wine. White wines vary from light green to brownish in color, where a browner tinge usually indicates age and more flavor. Red wines on the other had tend to become lighter in color as they age. While red wine improves with age, aging tends to ruin many whites.
Before you take a drink of wine, swish your glass around to release the different flavors in it, and take a smell of it. Research has shown that taste relies on smell about 70-75%; which is why you cannot taste much when you have a cold. When you take the time to sniff your wine, you are allowing your taste buds to better pick up subtle hints of flavor in the wine. You can smell wine two different ways. You can either take a quick sniff and then sit back to think about the first impression the wine gave you and then take a longer, deeper smell before allowing the smell to make an impression and taking a swig. Or you can just take the deep smell. Usually this depends on the persons preference, so you should try both to see which you prefer. However, you should never attempt to drink a wine before you have taken a long sniff and allowed your senses to take it in.
When you take a sip of wine, allow it to linger on your taste buds while swishing it around the entirety of your mouth, allowing it to come in contact with all of your taste buds, including ones found on the underside of your tongue. Contrary to what some of us learned in school, all taste buds are capable of detecting all types of flavors, including sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Sipping your wine slowly this way will allow your taste buds, as well as your sense of smell to identify the finer points that are not as easily detected in fine wines. Your first swig will be the initial sense you get from the wine, this will awaken your taste buds and get them going. Now is when you should swish the wine around your mouth, and try to draw in a little air. Try to notice the body of the wine, for example, is it smooth and rich, or light and smooth? Before you take another sip of wine, relax and see how the after taste is. How long did the flavor of the wine stay in your mouth, and was it a pleasant experience?
This is a basic guide to the novice wine drinker. Many wine connoisseurs take this art very seriously, and many guides and books can be purchased as you become more and more experienced in the fine art of wine tasting.