February 12, 2021
The 5 S’s of Tasting Wine
See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip & Savor
The art of tasting wine and evaluating a glass fully engulfs you in an experience. Following these simple tools of tasting wine could help you on your next exploration.
When looking at a wine, hold it up to a white background. Observe the wine, look at the clarity and brilliant, is it cloudy or dull? A slight haze or dullness in a glass of wine may suggest that the wine was minimally handled pre-bottling. When looking at the color, this is an indicator and clue to what grape variety may be present and the aging process. A wine that has been aged in oak or wood is darker in color. Examining the intensity of the color of wine within each varietal, allows the wine taster to imply the flavor intensity.
When swirling the wine, you want to allow it open. Heavy wines, deep in color generally are more intense on the nose. While sweeter wines, tend to be dense and leave thick, viscous streaks also referred to as legs, this can be examined on the inside of the glass when swirled. The slower the legs fall the sweeter the wine.
The main sense in tasting wine is smelling. Determining the quality of wine is revealed by the bouquet and the taste. Sniffing the wine first showcases the aromatic experience of the bouquet. Assessing a wine’s bouquet can uncover any impurities or faults within the wine. Faults such as oxidation from age, improper storage, and temperature, or cork taint. The bouquet can also reveal the aroma of spices, herbs, fruits, and vegetables, anticipating the wine’s flavor.
When taking a sip of wine, hold it in your mouth for 3 to 5 seconds, allow it to coat the surface. While in your mouth, observe the aromatics as they enhance with your body heat, transferring to your Olfactory receptors which are cell membranes responsible for odorants and assist in sense of smell. This is where the complex characteristics of the wine are evident.
The result and finish is the sensation you receive when swallowing the wine, very different from the taste on your palate. Is there an alcohol taste? How long does the wine linger and taste stay with you? This length is referred to as the finish, some finishes can last up to a minute or more, classifying a wine’s flavor profile in a higher quality of the wine.
Interested in taking these tools further? Join us for wine dinners and tastings at the club. To view the upcoming wine events, click here.