Have you ever been put on the spot on a date, or at dinner with friends by the wine sommelier asking you what type of wine you fancy? Many people know what they like by taste, but aren't quite sure how to put their preferences into words, so here are some tips to help you refine and master your taste in wine.
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- Wine is meant to be enjoyed, and everyone has different taste so don't get boggled down with the specifics
- Start with what you know and like and branch out from there
- There are 5 components to tasting wine: aroma, color, taste, body, and finish
- The aroma can be the most revealing characteristic of the wine so pay close attention to its smell. Smell for fruit, spice, smoke, leather, oak, etc.
- The color of the wine can give you clues on its age. White wine tends to gain color with age where as red wines loses color
- When you taste your wine, swirl it around in your glass before sipping and roll the wine around in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing. Taste for sweetness, acidity, tannin, fruit, alcohol and overall body
- The body of the wine refers to the texture and weight, oftentimes compared to milk-- strange I know! Deciphering if you have a full body or medium body can be best described by whole milk, low fat milk, and skim milk, etc.
- The finish of the wine refers to any lingering after notes you taste after swallowing. Often time the aftertaste, or finish, is extremely different from what you tasted originally
- Always feel free to ask for assistance when you taste wine. Explain the flavors you enjoy or if you can't pinpoint what you are tasting, name off some bottles you often drink and enjoy
- Taste as many different wines as you can in the same genre. Report back to your sommelier what you liked and didn't like so he or she can steer you in the right direction for your pallet
- Like everything else, practice makes perfect so I suggest going to as many local free wine tasting events as you can to teach your pallet about new wines
- Keep in mind that the best wines are not necessarily the most expensive, so don't be fooled
Learning about wine can be really fun, so enjoy yourself, keep an open mind, and have fun with it. Make sure you keep notes on the wines and flavors you like and don't like so you remember how to order next time, and most importantly, never drink and drive!