From Grape To Glass: Steps To Taste Wine Like A Pro

BlogAug 15, 2023

Tasting Wine Like A Sommelier: Essential Steps To Taste Wine

Forget everything you thought you knew about tasting wine—it's time to step up your game. Over the years, the art of savoring a glass of wine has become increasingly complex and impressive. Developing your palate doesn't need to be an intimidating process; if you follow simple steps or hire a professional sommelier, you can become a wine connoisseur in no time. Also, get help for hosting a wine-tasting party in no time.

Step 1: Observe The Wine

The first step to tasting wine like a sommelier is to observe the wine. Take note of the color, clarity, and legs (the lines that form on the glass after you swirl it). These observations will help you identify what type of wine you are drinking and how long it has been aged.

What To Look For?

When visually inspecting wine, there are several things to look for in terms of color, clarity, and intensity:

  • Color: The color of the wine can tell you a lot about its age and variety. For example, white wines range from pale straw to deep golden, while red wines vary from pale ruby to dark garnet or even purple. 
  • Clarity: A wine's clarity refers to how clear or cloudy it appears in the glass. Ideally, a wine should be clear and free from sediment. 
  • Intensity: The intensity of a wine's color can give you an idea of its flavor profile and potential intensity. For example, a deep, dark red wine may be full-bodied and bold, while a light, pale white wine may be crisp and refreshing.

Visual Inspection Of Wine

When visually inspecting wine, there are several things to look for that can indicate the wine's quality and characteristics. Here are the steps to visually inspecting wine:

  • Start by pouring a small amount of wine into a clear wine glass.
  • Hold the glass up against a white background to better see the wine's color and clarity.
  • White wines can range from almost clear to deep golden or even amber. Red wines can vary from pale ruby to dark garnet or even purple. The color can give you clues about the age and variety of the wine.
  • Cloudiness or sediment can indicate that the wine has not been properly filtered, or it may be a sign of age.
  • Tilt the glass slightly and observe the wine's viscosity. A wine with high viscosity will cling to the side of the glass longer than a wine with low viscosity. 

Step 2: Smell The Wine

The second step is to smell the wine like a sommelier. It is an important part of wine-tasting tips, as it can give you much information about the wine's aromas and potential flavors. Here are the steps to properly smell the wine:

Swirl The Wine

Holding the wine glass by the stem and gently swirling it around lets oxygen get to the wine. This lets the wine's aromas come out and makes it taste better. Swirling also helps to mix the different parts of the wine, like the alcohol, tannins, and acids, so that they can work together to make a flavor that is balanced. 

Take A Quick Sniff

After swirling the wine, take a quick sniff of it by sticking your nose into the glass and inhaling deeply. As you do this, you should be able to recognize some basic smells, like citrus, fresh fruit, and tropical fruit. You should also be able to tell the difference between floral (roses, violets), herbal (mint, thyme), and earthy (wood, leather) smells. 

Take A Deeper Sniff

By bringing your nose back to the edge of the glass and taking a deeper sniff, you can begin to pick out more subtle aromas. You may also be able to detect herbs like mint and thyme, spices such as cinnamon or clove, and even a subtle smokiness.

Step 3: Taste The Wine

Tasting the wine is the third step in tasting wine like a sommelier. Take a sip of the wine and revolve around your mouth to coat your tongue with the liquid for a few seconds. This will allow you to experience all of the different flavors of the wine. 

How To Properly Taste The Wine?

The steps to a wine tasting involve drinking wine and then assessing the wine's flavor, wine aromas, body, and texture. Here's how to taste wine properly:

  • Take a tiny taste of the wine and savor it for a moment or two. You can then evaluate the wine's early flavors in this way.
  • Swirl the wine around your mouth, allowing it to coat your tongue and taste buds. This will help to release the wine's flavors and aromas. Identify the wine's primary flavor. Then, try to identify any secondary aromas or undertones.
  • Assess the wine's body, which refers to how heavy or light the wine feels in your mouth. Full-bodied wines will feel heavier and more robust, while lighter wines will feel more delicate and crisp.
  • Assess the wine's texture, which refers to how smooth or rough the wine feels in your mouth. Acidity or tannins are two examples of factors that can affect texture. 
  • Decide whether to spit or swallow the wine. Spitting is common in professional wine tastings, as it allows tasters to sample multiple wines without becoming intoxicated. 

Step 4: Evaluate The Wine

Once you've taken the time to smell and taste your glass of wine, you've made it to the final step of your journey. It's time to evaluate the wine. Here, you're looking for the overall quality of the wine and its possible potential for improvement, aging, or malolactic fermentation. You'll need to take a close look at the appearance of the wine, along with its aroma, balance, complexity, and ageability. Ageability is considered to determine how long the wine can be stored for optimal drinking. These factors will help you determine the true nature of the wine and give you a better idea of how it stacks up to others.

Step 5: Pair The Wine

The final step to tasting wine like a sommelier is pairing it with food. Pairing the right wine with the right dish can enhance the flavors and create an unforgettable experience. Here's how to properly pair the wine:

Consider The Weight And Intensity Of The Food

When pairing wine with food, consider the weight and intensity of both the wine and the dish. Lighter wines pair well with lighter dishes, such as salads, seafood, or white meats, while heavier wines pair well with heavier dishes, such as red meat, stews, or strong cheeses.

Match The Flavor Intensity

The wine and food should have similar flavor intensities to avoid one overpowering the other. For example, a bold red wine pairs well with a hearty beef stew, while a light white wine pairs well with a delicate seafood dish.

Consider The Acidity Of The Wine

Wines with higher acidity pair well with foods that are high in fat or rich, as the acidity can aid in cutting through the richness of the dish. For example, a crisp white wine pairs well with creamy pasta dishes, while a high-acid red wine pairs well with a fatty cut of meat.

Match The Wine To The Sauce

Consider the sauce or seasoning of the dish when pairing wine. For instance, a spicy dish pairs well with a wine that has a touch of sweetness, while a tomato-based sauce pairs well with a high-acid red wine.

Don't Be Afraid To Experiment

Wine pairing can be a bit of trial and error, so don't be afraid to experiment. The best way to learn is by trying different combinations and finding out what works best for you. With a little practice and patience, you'll soon be able to pair wines with any dish like a true sommelier.

Host The Perfect Wine Tasting Experience With Night Inn!

Now that you know how to taste wine like a sommelier, it's time to plan the perfect wine-tasting event! At Night Inn, we offer an exclusive and luxurious, comfy environment for you and your guests to enjoy a private, guided wine-tasting experience. Our experienced staff will walk you through each step of the tasting process and tell you which foods go best with each wine. So, what are you waiting for? Book us for a private virtual wine-tasting experience with Night Inn today and start your journey to becoming a wine connoisseur!


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