Have you ever fancied learning to taste wine like an expert? Apparently before you even take a sip, you need to make sure that you are in the right tasting environment. Where you are could influence how you taste and a noisy, crowded room will make it harder to concentrate. Cooking smells, perfume and other strong odours can also affect your palette. A glass that is too small, too large or has just been washed can also affect the flavour of the wine so be sure to make a note of your surroundings before you even start to taste a new wine.

The age and temperature of the wine will also make a difference to taste and if you’ve just eaten that can affect the taste buds too. The ideal circumstances for wine tasting therefore need to be as neutral as possible. If your glass smells of detergent then be sure to swill it with wine not water as this is a process called ‘conditioning’ the glass. If the wine feels too cold, warm the glass in your hands first before tasting. For an Online wine merchants in Northern Ireland, visit http://thewinecompanyni.com/.

The ideal quantity should be a glass about one third full. Here is what to do to evaluate by sight:

  • Look straight down into the glass
  • Hold the glass to the light
  • Give the glass a tilt to roll the wine towards the edges

This will give you the full range of colours seen in the wine. Looking down gives you a sense of the depth of colour which provides clues to the density and thickness of the wine. As you become more experienced, you will begin to recognise what grapes have been used by the colour and scent. The view in the light will show you how clear it is – if it’s clear and bright then that’s a good sign. The tilted view will give clues about the age and weight of the wine. Give the glass a good swirl then as whether the wine leaves legs or tears on the side glass is an indication of a wine with more alcohol meaning a bigger and more ripe taste.

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The next step is the sniff and the best way to do this is to hover your nose over the top of the glass but don’t stick it right in. Take some short, quick sniffs and then move away from the glass. Don’t worry about finding all the aromas, just concentrate on what you can smell. Here’s what to smell for:

  • Fruit aromas – yes it’s made from grapes but does anything jump out at you?
  • Floral aromas
  • Leaves or herbs
  • Spices
  • Earthy – a possible hint of mushrooms, damp earth, leather or rock for example
  • Barrel aromas – aging in oak barrels can leave hints of vanilla, chocolate, nuts, coffee or caramel.

Evaluating by taste means you finally get to take a sip. Just a sip, not a gulp and try to imagine that you’re sucking through a straw. Hopefully, you should get a continuation of the aromas you just sniffed but now your tastebuds will be identifying whether the wine is balanced, complex, and harmonious or not.