When it comes to wines, there are many things that define a great one and a bad one. The process of creating wine has been around for centuries, with proof that the Ancient Chinese made wine dating back at least 9000 years ago. Most people know that wine gets better with age, however, the processes remain basically the same. So, what makes a good wine? And, how can you tell if a wine is good, or not so good? Wine tasting is the best way to know of course, but it is also somewhat of an artform and requires some skills and a bit of knowledge to be good at it.
For some, a good wine is simply one that is affordable or tastes good to drink. For others, it can depend on whether the wine came from a reputable brand, or a specific area of a country, or the planet. Each person tastes things differently ever so slightly, so what might taste great to you, might not be something that your best friend might like. When it comes down to the artform of wine tasting, however, there are some very simple rules to follow to know whether you are onto a good wine or not.
What Is Wine Tasting?
Most people think that wine tasting is just swirling the wine around in the glass, smelling and sipping. We’ve all seen it in the movies, and to be truthful, it really isn’t that far from the truth. It is, of course, more in-depth than just that, so here are the main parts of the wine tasting process.
Correct Storage and Aging
Firstly, you will need to make sure that the wine has been stored and aged properly. If wine is stored in higher or lower temperatures than recommended, it can change the way the wine ferments over time, and it will change the taste.
The Glass Matters
The first part of proper wine tasting comes with the glass. The glass should be suited to the type of wine you are tasting, red, white and bubbly wines all require different types or sizes of glasses to maximize the experience of the wine. Your glass should have four main characteristics, a long stem (to make sure your fingers don’t make the wine too warm), a thin rim (to make sipping easier), enough capacity to be able to swirl the wine, and a clear bowl (so you can see the color of the wine).
Once you have the correct glass, you are ready to start tasting.
The Four Steps of Wine Tasting
- The first step of the tasting process is the look of the wine. You can tell a lot about a wine by how it looks. They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a wine by the look. When white wines are not actually meant to be white, lighter shades of brown, yellow or green, depending on what type they are. Red wines can range from pale red to a dark brown color.
- Step two is the swirl. The purpose of swirling the wine in your glass is to aerate it, to release the aromas.
- Which brings you to step three, the smell of the wine. This step is more two steps in the one step, you should begin with a quick smell to get an overall idea of the wine, the follow it up with a long deep smell, which will allow you to take in the flavors of the wine. Think about what flavors you can smell. Is it fruity, or spicy, or citrusy? Think about the smells before you get to the next step.
- Once you have thought deeply about the aromas, it will give you a better expectation of what you are about to taste in the wine. Take a small sip, swish it around in your mouth and let the flavors build in your mouth. Savor the flavor for a moment, and then swallow it. This will allow you to distinguish how the aftertaste of the wine is, and it will give you a better overall experience of the wine. That, and why else would you want to taste a great wine and not ingest it.