Wine Tasting for Beginners in 5 Easy Steps

wine bottle pouring into a wine glass

We’ve all seen it: a wine connoisseur bringing the glass up to their nose, swirling it around and describing the taste like they’re speaking in a different language. But don’t fret, it’s not rocket science! In fact, after learning a few basics, you’ll be able to confidently impress your friends with some wine tasting knowledge in any setting. 

The following are wine tasting tips for beginners. 

The Wine Tasting Process

Wine tasting can be done practically anywhere. At a winery, a restaurant or even your own home. If you're drinking from your own collection, check out our range of wine racks of your wine storage inspiration.

Wherever you are doing it, the following are the 5 basic steps for wine tasting. 

1. Raise the Glass and Tilt It

After your wine is poured, raise your glass to the light or in front of a white background. This allows you to observe a wine’s colour and clarity. Red wines tend to get paler with age, while white wines deepen in colour. Young white wines also may have a straw colour in their centre, with a slight green tinge along the edges. In general, the wine should be clean and clear. 

2. Swirl the Wine

Swirling the wine releases the aromas and aerates it, giving you a clearer idea of their palette. If it’s your first time, go easy - especially if you’re wearing white. 

3. Smell the Wine

Have you ever been to a restaurant, put your nose in your wine glass and pretended like you understood the scents you were smelling? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. The next step is to smell the wine. What does it smell like to you? For example, Shiraz might smell like blackberries with a hint of spice. Chardonnay might smell like peaches or melons. Red wines tend to smell like berries, plums and cherries. White wines tend to smell like citrus fruits like apples, pears and peaches. 

4. Taste the Wine

And finally, to the most important part! Take a mouthful of the wine suck in air through your teeth. Do not swallow the wine immediately, allowing it to roll in your mouth for a moment.Some people gargle the wine too, but that’s no essential.

You will experience various flavours, tending towards sweet, sour and bitter. A slight burning sensation at the back of your mouth is due to the alcohol (the stronger the heat, the more alcoholic the wine is). 

You may also experience a drying sensation, which comes from the wine’s tannins which are derived from grape skins, stems and pips (seeds). The dominant flavours in a glass of wine tend to be realised in an empty mouth, as these chemicals will rise through the retronasal passage. 

5. Swirl the Wine and Taste It Again

Identifying the different aromas of wine will take a few goes for a beginner. So, the last step is to ‘rinse and repeat’!

Red Wine Flavours

Just like their scent palette, red wine’s flavours lean towards berries, spices, herbs and spices. They also can be bitter, bolder and more complex. Red wines work well with cheeses, beef, pork and chocolate. 

White Wine Flavours

White wines tend to be sweet, fruity, light and can be drier than red wines. They go well with fish, fruits, pork and poultry.

So, now you know a thing or two about the wine tasting process. The next step is starting your wine collection so you can get some practice! Visit our store today to explore our range of Australian made wine racks.  

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