The Art Of Wine Tasting

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Even though many just assume that wine tasting is sipping, swishing, and swallowing – most people are amazed to find that it’s actually far more involved. Wine tasting is more of an art, an art that has been honed to distinguish the aromas and flavors and potentially the quality and age-worthiness of all varieties wines.

Wine tasting begins with the swishing. The reason why wine tasters swish the wine around in their mouths is so the wine touches all parts of the tongue. Both the front, sides and the back areas of the tongue contain taste buds, although neither one has any distinct sensation in taste.  It is generally thought that the front of your tongue detects saltiness, the tip sweetness, the sides sourness and the back bitterness, however, you can detect flavor just about anywhere on your tongue.

Taste buds can detect food and liquid that is bitter, salty, sour or sweet, without much difficulty. To experience the full flavors of wine however, you need to swish it around in your mouth and allow your taste buds and sense of smell to bring out the unique and fine flavors in the wine.

When tasting wine, your sense of smell has a major impact on the taste. What many fail to realize, is that over 75% of our taste is due to our sense of smell. When our sense of smell is compromised, as with a head cold, our sense of taste is affected as well.  When eating or drinking with a cold you may have noticed that you have little or no sense of taste. Wine tasters all over the world will tell you that tasting wine is more about a sense of smell than the actual taste buds.

The art of wine tasting is indeed an art. Wine tasters do, however, follow some general guidelines and rules when used to judge the quality of a wine. These techniques can help you bring the most out of your wine, providing you follow them and pay particular attention to all the different aromas and flavors.

The first thing to do with wine is to look. With wine, you can tell quite a bit about it by looking at it. You should always start by pouring the wine into a clear glass, then taking a few minutes to look at the color. As far as the color goes, white wines aren’t white, but actually shades of yellow, green, or pale amber. Red wines on the other hand are just that; shades of red from very dark burgundy, almost inky all the way to pale pink. Most red wine improves with age, while most white wine will deteriorate with age.  The browning of both red and white wine is an indication of a wine that may be past its prime.

Next, is the smell of the wine, which you should do in two steps. You should start with a brief smell to get a general idea of the wine, then take a deep, long smell. This deeper smell should allow you to really experience the full aromas of the wine.  The more experienced wine tasters prefer to sit back a bit and think about the aromas before actually tasting the wine.

Last but not least, is to taste the wine. To properly taste the wine, you should first take a sip, swish it around in your mouth, and then swallow. Once you swish the wine around in your mouth, you’ll be able to taste all the flavors of the wine. Some of the more subtle flavors will take time before you will be able to detect them, although you’ll likely notice “something” but just can’t identify it. Don’t despair, in time and with more exposure to various wines, you will pick up on even the most subtle aromas and flavors.

Once you have looked at the wine, smelled it, and finally tasted it, you’ll be able to evaluate the wine from a taster’s standpoint. This is the easiest way to determine the quality of the wine, and whether or not it has been properly stored and aged. As with most all things in life – the more wine you taste – the better you will get at distinguishing the unique flavors and the more you will appreciate all its various components.

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Categorized: Tasting