Appreciating Wine - Educate your Palate

When you are tasting wines, you are not quaffing an alcoholic beverage for the enjoyment of intoxication. In fact, at many wine tasting parties and in tasting rooms at many wineries, you do not even swallow the wine that you taste. Wine tasting is more of an art form that requires you to keep all of your senses about you in order to judge wines soundly.

Wine tasting is not how you would always want to enjoy wine, but it is a way to learn which wines you enjoy. By sampling several wines and comparing them to one another, you get a sense of the similarities and differences between them. The more often you sample flights of wine thus, the more of a base you have to judge wines.

If you have trouble being able to tell the difference between a Shiraz and a merlot, the best thing you could do would be to attend a wine tasting that offers a flight of some combination of the two. You will then taste and make notes on each wine, which will help you to distinguish the difference between the two varietals better.

Note taking is an important aspect of wine tasting. In order to remember how each wine looks, smells, feels and tastes, you will need to make notations in a standardized manner for each wine.

In order to take such notes, you will need to consider how each sip of wine affects your senses. First, hold your glass of wine up against a white background in good light. Is it opaque or transparent? Is it dark or light? Before going on to the next step, write down the answer to this question.

After taking in the appearance of the wine, swirl it around in your glass to mix in a little oxygen and then take a big whiff of it. How does it smell? Does it smell more like fruit or flowers? Does it have nuance smells that remind you of anything?

Placing nuance aromas of a wine can be the most difficult step in wine tasting. Often a nuance aroma is vague, though pleasant, but difficult to place. In order to help you place the aromas that you smell, you can utilize an aroma wheel that names the nuance smells that often accompany wine.

If you cannot place the aroma of the wine that you are smelling, check the aroma wheel. Chances are, you will see the name of the aroma that you smell. Write down the bigger smells of the wine and the nuance smells of the wine and then take a sip of the wine.

Do not swallow the wine. Instead, swish it around in your mouth to saturate your taste buds. Make a note of your first impressions of what it tastes like as you hold the wine in your mouth. After a moment of savoring the wine, either swallow it or spit it out.

Lastly, what kind of impression does the wine leave lingering in your mouth after it is no longer there? Write down the aftertaste impression that the wine leaves in your mouth and you will have a complete impression of a wine to which you can compare other wines.

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About The Author, Ian Love
Ian Love is the owner of Australian online wine store, Liquor Merchants, and has been a leader in the Perth restaurant industry for over 30 years and runs one of Australia's largest wine clubs.