How to taste wine.
Simply put, tasting a wine is discovering its different facades through 3 stages: eye, nose and mouth. Often this is seen as a sort of sign of snobbism, and maybe that is a little bit true, but it mainly helps with understanding and appreciating the different sensations that come forward that cannot easily be described with words. On top of that, it still remains a fun experience!
Environment and Glass
To put together a successful wine tasting, the “environment” and the glass both play a crucial role.
It is important that the room is well lit and that no strong smells are present (perfume, cooking, smoke, etc). The glass used must be clean, transparent and thin in order to view the color of the wine well. Ideally in the form of a tulip, to keep the aromas nicely inside the glass, with a long stem that connects the base with the glass, so the wine does not heat when the glass is held, but also so you can easily agitate the wine to release more aromas.
The 3 Stages: Eye, Nose and Mouth
First, we use our eyes to observe certain aspects of the wine. We look at its transparency, nuance and intensity of the color. The characteristics of the color of a wine can give a lot of information about not only taste and age, but also how they were produced. For example, wines that have been ripened in a wooden barrel often have a somewhat darker shade. Young, lighter wines often have a slightly paler color. Stronger and older wines are often darker in color with a lot of intensity.
The 2nd stage, consisting of observing the different smells of the wine with the nose is very important. Not only because it gives you an idea of its different flavors and impressions, but also because it can show whether a wine has “gone bad” or is of poor quality. If a wine smells very sour or if it has a strong smell of cork, it is probably not good anymore. Smell the wine first without agitating the glass to distinguish its natural flavors. The agitation adds air so that the aromas develop even further. The intensity and complexity of the aromas and impressions show whether a wine is indeed of good quality.
After stages 1 and 2, sip a small quantity of wine with the mouth. In order to be able to taste the wine to its full potential you should take in a bit of air at the same time. The wine heats up and now releases its full flavors and impressions. Again, the intensity and complexity of the aromas and impressions show whether a wine is of good quality, but the structure also plays an important role. Hence the expression: “pleasant in the mouth”. After this analysis, the wine is swallowed to evaluate the wine at its last point: length of the aromas. The longer the aromas stay “stuck” in the mouth, the better.
Save water, drink wine.