How To Taste Wine

This is simple, right? You drink wine to taste it. Actually there is a bit more to it than that.

There are several steps to ‘tasting’ wine if you want to get the full experience of the wine. If you do these things, you will not be disappointed (unless of course you are tasting a bad glass of wine).

There are many things that go into the wine tasting experience that many people might not even thing about. For example, you really should only taste wine in certain environments. If you are surrounded by a lot of different smells (like cooking smells or perfumes, etc.) the taste of your wine may be affected. Believe it or not, lighting can also have an affect on how you perceive the wine. So can noise and crowded spaces.

If you really want to taste a wine, you should make sure you are in a calm, quiet, clean, non-odorous environment. You also need to make sure your wine glass is clean and fresh. This all may seem a bit extreme, but it can make a difference.

Of course the temperature of the wine is a huge deal. You will have to consult with a professional to see what the recommended temperature is for your wine, but the taste is significantly affected. This is just something to keep in mind.

So the first part about the wine tasting experience is looking at the wine. This will be more meaningful after you have does a few tastings, but you can tell a lot about the color of your wine. Some red wines are very dark and some are much softer in color. You can anticipate the taste by looking at the color. Same goes for white wine. If the color is light, you might expect a lighter tasting wine, but if it is a darker yellow, you might expect some oak flavor.

After looking at your wine for a while, you should then swirl it around your glass. This allows it to open up and mix with the oxygen in the air. This can transform some of the flavors and aromas of the wine. It is important to let you wine breathe so that it can develop and offer you the best flavors.

After swirling for a bit, you will then proceed to smell the wine. You will put your nose into the glass as far as you are comfortable and take a nice breath in. You will want to sit with this experience for a while. Let your mind process the flavors. They can be good or bad, but you should really try to experience the smells. Try to detect what they are.

Of course your olfactory system is tied in with your taste buds. Meaning the smell affects the taste. Smelling the wine primes you for tasting it. Don’t skip this part, it is a very important part of the experience. Learn more about smelling wine.

Now it is time to taste the wine! But you are not going to take a big gulp and swallow it right away. Instead, you need to sip just a little bit and try to let is sit in your mouth while the flavors move around.  After you swallow it, reflect on what you sense. Ask yourself, what are the flavors? Is this nice? Is it strong? Does it taste like anything else? And when you think you are done evaluating then evaluate some more. The flavors in the wine may change as the settle in your mouth.

At this point, you may even want to smell the wine again. Just take your time to really experience the wine. Your experience will be very different than if you just open the bottle and take a swig. Wine is meant to be an experience, an elegant experience. Enjoy it as it is meant to be.


Is Your Wine Bad?

No one wants to sit down to a nice glass of wine only to find out that it has gone bad. The taste is quite bad and can linger in your mouth. Sometimes however it is hard to tell if a wine has gone bad. Well here are some clues for you to look out for.

Check out the color of the wine. Either red or white, if the wine seems to be a darker shade than it should be then it might be bad. For example, a wine gone badred wine that seems to be more brownish in color than red may just have turned bad. Also a  white wine that is more yellowed or browned in color may also be bad.

Another sign is the cork coming out of the bottle. If you notice the wine cork is starting to come out of the bottle, then it is likely bad. The elements inside are pushing on the cork and this is a sign that what is inside is no good.

The smell of the wine is obvious, but sometimes wine can smell funny yet it is perfectly good. Here are some smells to watch out for. Does it smell like vinegar? Wine will eventually turn into a form of vinegar and this is when it has gone bad. Does it have a musty smell? Or does it smell like wet cardboard? If so, it very well may be bad.

Finally we have the taste of the wine. We generally don’t want to get to this point, but sometimes it is the only way to tell. If you wine tastes sour, it is bad. If it has a fizz, then it is bad.

When a wine had gone bad, there is nothing you can do about it. It is simply not drinkable. And this is surely a shame. I once transported wine across the country for a move. The truck that had my belongings (and my wine) sat for days in the hot sun. I feared my wine surely went bad. Ready to drink some, I opened bad bottle after bad bottle. A very sad occasion, but the wine was not at all drinkable.

This of course begs the question, what can be done to properly preserve wine. The best option for long-term storage is of course a wine cellar. Here the wine will stay at appropriately cool temperatures with controlled humidity. This is not always an option for a lot of people. Just make sure that you keep it in a dark, cool environment and always on its side (so that the wine has contact with the cork).

A wine cooler is of course a perfect storage option. You can find wine coolers in many shapes and sizes. Some can hold over 100 bottles and some can fit on your countertop (countertop wine coolers) and store just a few bottles at perfect drinking temperature. You can find many affordable wine coolers out there today.

What tends to ruin wine is harsh/ hot temperatures and harsh light. Keep these things in mind and you will be better able to protect your investment.

Wine Applications For Your Smart Phone

There are so many great wine applications to help you with wine selection and also remembering what you thought of a certain wine. Here are a few great apps:

  • Wine Ratingsentertaining with wine
  • Vintage Chart
  • Guide to Napa Valley
  • Vivino
  • Hello Vino
  • Delectable

My favorite however, is Delectable (only iOS application right now).

What it does is let you share your wine recommendations and come across new wines from other users. Here is what you do. Take a image of the wine you could be considering trying. The application software in the app will determine the wine and connect you to opinions about the wine so that you could produce a determination as to whether or not you wish to acquire it.

You will also be able to buy it right from the application if you like.

Leaving your own review of a wine is helpful to other users. You follow the same procedure as above, but simply leave your comments about the wine (and read how others feel about it too). Your assessment will then be offered to other users from the app.

What I like more about this application over some of the others is the fact that they offer opinions from experts in the wine industry. This is valuable to me as a user. A lot of people don’t necessarily have a taste for wine, but certain people who are trained in this area are much more qualified to leave a review.

Lots of these apps are valuable in different ways, but if you are looking to only use one, then give this one a try.