Learn How to Taste Wine Like A Pro

Maria Brunn - March 14, 2018

Wine Tasting in Lake County

Sometimes, watching a sommelier blind taste a wine feels a bit like black magic. How they are able to determine the variety, vintage, and country of origin without ever seeing the wine bottle is pretty darn impressive! But, with enough practice, you too could develop your powers of deductive tasting and similarly wow your friends and family.  Deductive tasting is simply a framework for tasting wine that allows you to use all your senses to experience various wine characteristics and develop a probable conclusion. If you’d like to try to taste wine in this way, here are the three tips to help you narrow down what you are tasting. (Adapted from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust Systematic Grid for Tasting Wines.)

  1. Eyes What do you see? Is the wine clear? Is it cloudy? How intense is the color? Color will help you narrow down the grape variety as well as the wine age. For example, a deep yellow wine is probably older than a straw yellow wine.
  2. Nose Swirl the wine around the glass. The concentration of the aromatics will be in the inch above the surface of the wine so don’t be afraid to get your nose in there (of course being careful to not accidentally inhale the wine). What do you smell? Certain smells indicate different types of grape or winemaking style. For instance, a wine that smells like movie theater popcorn is 99% of the time a California chardonnay.
  3. Mouth What does the wine feel like on your palate? Is it light and crisp or more oily? Does it dry your tongue out? Does the taste linger on your palate or does it fade quickly? Wines that are fuller bodied will linger on your palate and the sensation of dryness comes from higher tannin levels, both of which can help you narrow down the possibilities.

Using all your senses to experience wine is not just a great party trick, but it also allows you to appreciate the differences in varieties as well as winemaking style. Want to get your tasting practice on? Be sure to buy your tickets to our upcoming Wine Adventure weekend happening May 19-20, 2018 where you’ll have plenty of opportunity to taste and talk to winemakers. Tickets are available on Eventbrite now.

Cheers!

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