Updated May 15, 2012
Melissa asks Tim:
What is the proper way to taste wine? Is there a process? What are the benefits?
I promise you that what looks like a long and tedious process just to get a sip of wine is actually a very beneficial process! There are typically five steps to follow when approaching your glass of wine:
1. See: Pull the glass away from you and set against a lighter background. Notice the layers of color and the various shades at the rim of the glass. Red wines will vary from dark plummy colors to pale tawny. White wines will range from deep golden hues to pale greenish-yellow.
2. Swirl: When you swirl your glass, it increases the surface area of the wine, therefore releasing the wine's boquet of aromas and flavors.
3. Smell: Stick your nose right in your glass! Pick up the wonderful aromas wine has to offer. This prepares your tasebuds what is coming up!
4. Sip: Take a small sip of the wine and swish it around in your mouth for about 3-5 seconds to let it coat your tastebuds. Is it bitter? Sweet? Astringent? Is it creamy? Dry? High alcohol?
5. Savor: Take a moment to assess what you just tasted. Do you like it? Not like it? What did you like/not like about it? Was it balanced? What foods do you picture pairing with this wine?
By taking these steps, you'll learn to appreciate what wine has to offer. It is a very complex cocktail with lots of different personalities. Enjoy!