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How to Taste Wine

Learning to taste wine rather than just drinking it can help us to really appreciate it and identify similar wine grapes and styles

Colour and Appearance

Hold the wine against a white background, paper or a white tablecloth works well and look at the colour. Mature white wines are often darker in colour but this can be an indication of its origin. Red wines vary depending on the grape variety, but richer, more full-bodied wines are often darker or more intense in colour.


Before you get your nose into the glass for a good sniff, swirl the wine in the glass. The contact with the air will help open up the wine and release the true aromas of the wine. The smell of a wine can vary from fruity to floral, spicy, earthy, woody, herbal or even chemical! Aged Riesling is often referred to as having a petrol aroma. The good news is that the more wine you taste the more of these aromas you will encounter!


Take a good sip and hold the wine in your mouth, roll it around to ensure you get a full indication of the wine. Everyone has a different palate so what you and your friend taste can differ. Your palate will give you an indication of the structure of the wine - is it rough or smooth? What’s the body like- full or light? Is it well balanced - does it taste too acidic or bitter, too sweet or does it seem well balanced? In red wine tannin can be taken into consideration, tannin is what makes strong black tea taste bitter. Tannin can cause a strong, mouth-drying sensation which can add to overall taste of the wine. The final thing to think about is the body, this is often described as the ‘mouth-feel.’ How does the wine feel in your mouth? Does it taste rich and smooth or thin and coarse? The finish refers to how long the flavours of the wine stay in your mouth. A long finish is an indicator of quality wine. !


You can consider all of the above points, the most important is do you like the wine?

If not, don’t buy it again! However, the most important thing is to understand what you didn’t like and you can then avoid that particular wine or grape variety next time. At the end of the day, the wine tasting process is about understanding wine and it’s just a bit of fun!

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