Do you know the most important component to consider when wine tasting? Get ready…

It’s YOU! That’s right. You. The drinker.

Yes, there are techniques, etiquette, abilities, etc. that are involved in tasting a wine. But at the end of the day, YOU are all that matter. Do you like what you are drinking? Yes or No. That’s it.

Drinking wine is fun. And tasting should be fun to. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by experienced tasters and their elaborate flavors and aromas they can detect in a wine – “A freshly cut garden hose” or “a clingy salty tide.” But remember, they don’t matter. You do. Drink your wine and talk about what you are experiencing. Bounce flavors and aromas off the people you are drinking with. It’s as easy as that.

Now, as you start to develop a taste for different styles and expand your palette, tasting can become a bit more involved than the one aspect of enjoyment. It can be broken down into four simple, easy to follow steps – Look, smell, taste and conclude.

LOOK

It may seem obvious that you should look at something before you drink it. But evaluating the appearance of a wine can give you lots of information about what you are about to enjoy.

What color is it? Is that color pale or bright? Are the edges of the liquid a different color than the middle? What happens when you swirl the liquid in the glass? Does it move fast or slow? Does it stick to the sides of the glass? Even if you don’t know exactly what each question answers about the wine, it is great to learn to identify these characteristics.

SMELL

Wine made from a fruit, so it should smell like fruit. And not just one fruit. Most wine will have layers of aromas that get brought out when the wine is exposed to the air or changes in temperature. Start by swirling the glass and sticking your nose in there. Take a big whiff, then repeat. Smell it a few times and try to identify a few different fruits that you smell.

Wine can also smell like things other than fruit. It can smell like herbs, oak and earth. Try and pick out at least one other aroma when smelling your wine.

TASTE

Before you go swallowing a big gulp of your delicious glass of wine you’ve so patiently waited to drink, take a moment to evaluate how the wine feels in your mouth. Swish it around and let it hit all the corners of your mouth before you swallow. How did it feel? Did the texture of your tongue change? Did your mouth start to water? Did your jaw tingle and tighten up? Once you notice how the texture and viscosity of the wine feels, then you can get to the final part of tasting. Thinking!

CONCLUDE

You’ve looked at the wine. You’ve given it a big whiff. You’ve taken a few sips. Now, what do you think? An easy place to start is, “do you like it?” Yes or no. Simple as that. Then you can move on to deeper questions. Is it balanced? Can you experience all the characteristics (acid, body, tannin, sweetness and alcohol) without one sticking out too much? Is the wine complex and exciting? Or is it simple and only has a few notes to it?

Notice how the wine changes throughout drinking the glass. What happens after it sits? Or when it warms up or cools down? Ask what other people around you think when they are tasting. The more you learn to talk about what you are experience in your wine, the easier identifying aspects will become.

And don’t forget the most important part. IT’S ABOUT YOU!! Don’t worry about being wrong or right. Drink your wine and have fun. It’s that simple.