The Beginner's Guide to Wine Tasting

Wine tasting doesn't need to be so complicated, really! As long as you get the hang of the basics and know what to pay attention to, you're good to go.

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What we’ll cover:

Why should you try wine tasting?
Who is it that tastes wine?
How do you evaluate wines?
What are the tips for tasting you’d give to beginners?

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Why should you try wine tasting?

You've surely noticed that wines can vary a lot from one another. Even within the same type, like Chardonnay, there's a wide range of flavours. One bottle might be rich and woody, while another is light and fruity. These unique characteristics are what make wines special, and they're the reason why we taste them.

Who is it that tastes wine?

Wine tasting isn't just for experts. Sure, they do it to write reviews, select wines for businesses, or rate different vintages, but regular folks like us can join in on the fun too! Lots of wineries organize tasting tours where you can sample their top-selling wines. And hey, wine tasting parties have become quite the thing these days. It's all about enjoying the experience and having a good time.


How do you evaluate wines?

To taste a wine, here's a step-by-step guide:

1. Take a good look at the wine in your glass. How does the light pass through it? Does it stick to the edges? Notice the colours you see.
2. Give it a good sniff. Pay attention to the aromas. Does it smell fruity or flowery? Is there a sharp or tangy scent?
3. Swirl the glass gently and sniff again. This helps release new aromas as the wine mixes with the air. See if you notice any changes after swirling.
4. Take a sip and let it roll around your mouth. Pay attention to how it feels and tastes. Is it rich and full-bodied or light and refreshing?
5. After you swallow the wine, think about the aftertaste. Does the flavour linger? Does it change or evolve over time?

Remember, the most important part is to have fun and enjoy the experience!



What are the tips for tasting you’d give to beginners?

If you're joining a wine tasting, it's good to know a few tips and terms:

1. Pour a small amount of wine into your glass. Leave enough for others to taste too, just a sip or two will do.
2. Take your time with each wine. Check it out in the glass and try to describe the smell. When you taste it, hold it in your mouth for a bit to get a feel for its personality before swallowing.
3. If there's a spittoon (a bucket for spitting out wine), it's okay to use it. Spitting helps you taste more wines without getting too tipsy.
4. If you don't like a wine, it's totally fine to discreetly pour the rest in the spittoon after you've given it a taste.
5. Cleanse your palate between wines by munching on some bread or crackers. Many tasting rooms have something for that.
6. If you're visiting wineries, check their website or give them a call beforehand. Some might require an appointment, while others accept walk-ins.
7. Be prepared to pay a tasting fee at wineries. The cost varies based on the number and quality of wines you'll be trying.
8. Get familiar with wine lingo used to describe the wines you taste.
9. Taste wines in this order: sparkling wines, light white, bold white, rosé, light red, bold red, sweet and/or fortified.
10. Relax and have fun! There are no right or wrong answers. Wine tasting for beginners is a fantastic way to discover new wines you enjoy.
11. Don't hesitate to ask questions if you're at a winery or wine shop. They're there to help and share their knowledge.

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Finally, remember, there is no right or wrong when it comes to tasting wine. Everyone has a different palate and everyone will like and dislike different wines. Just because someone else likes a wine doesn’t mean that you have to. Also remember that your palate changes over time, so keep trying new things, something that you tried and didn’t like last year may be your favourite this year. Just give it a go, and enjoy yourself that’s the main thing.

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