Want to learn how to taste wine like a pro? The world of Italian vino is vast – just ask our wine shop experts, who curate a selection of more than 400 bottles in our Vino e Birra To-Go. The best way to expand your vino palate is, simply put, to taste it. Just follow this step-by-step wine tasting guide to get started!
Each wine boasts unique flavours and aromas all their own, thanks to factors like terroir, grape variety, production methods, and climate. Tasting can both sharpen your palate and allow you to identify what kind of wines you prefer.
Grab a pencil and a notebook, then choose around three to four bottles of wine, to help you compare the different qualities of each wine without overwhelming your palate. Now, you’re ready to taste!
First, pour 2-3 ounces of wine into a wineglass. Be sure to use a transparent glass without any patterns or tint, so that you can accurately see the colour of your wine.
Hold your glass in front of a white background as you examine the colour, sediment, extract, and legs of the wine. Is there sediment at the bottom of the glass? These are tannins that break down as the wine ages. Is there a difference between the rim and center of the glass? The older the wine, the more variation. Are there legs, or tears, running down the glass? The thicker the legs, the more alcohol content.
Bring the glass to your nose and take in the wine’s bouquet. Consider fruits, nuts, plants that you might smell. Is it delicate? Medium? Intense? Strong aromas can be signs of age and oxidation, whereas fresh, bright aromas indicate younger wines.
Take a sip of wine and be sure to coat your palate, paying attention to the sensation of the wine in your mouth. Close your eyes as you experience the flavours. Remember that sweetness is experienced on the tip of the tongue, saltiness (yes, wines can be salty!) on the sides, with sour just behind and bitter way in the back. Is it sweet or dry? Light-bodied or full-bodied? Acidic, making your mouth water? Tannic, making you sense bitterness? Are the tannins smooth or rough? This can be felt by running the tongue on the roof of the mouth.
Think about what you’ve just tasted and take notes on your tasting sheet. If you’re looking for adjectives, try thinking in broad strokes (for example, “melon” instead of “honeydew”) and use the criteria above to help guide your process. There are truly no wrong answers when it comes to fruit and earth sensations – it is all subjective! In fact, if we tell you a wine smells like peaches, you will smell peaches (you’re probably smelling peaches now, right?).
Nota bene: remember to always write down the name of the bottle you’ve tasted – that includes the producer, name of the wine, designation, and vintage, or year it was produced.
Clear your palate and prepare for your next wine with a small piece of bread or plain crackers.
Don’t just take our word for it – tasting wines side-by-side is actually the best way to help you develop your wine vocabulary. What better reason to raise a glass? Grab a fresh glass, and pop the next cork!
Ready to get started with tasting wine at home? Head to our Vino e Birra To-Go to pick up a your next bottle or get it delivered. Salute!