How to Taste Wine Like a Pro (in 3 Easy Steps)
There are few things we at The Slow Road appreciate more than fine wine—but one of them may be sparing ourselves from embarrassment as we sip. Fortunately, we’ve consulted a few of our expert friends and cobbled together three simple steps for sipping like a sommelier.
Three Easy Steps to Sip Like a Pro
1. The Inspection
Take a good look at the wine in your glass. It is best to view the wine against a white background. The colour of the wine can give you an idea of its age. Many red wines, for instance, start life deeply purple in colour, but with age this intensity fades. With many white wines, the relation between colour and age is reversed. White wines from cold climates tend to be less richly coloured. (Try this: turn to the person next to you and say “great legs!” Please note that The Slow Road cannot be held accountable should your sipping companion fail to realize you were talking about the wine.)
Consider this your secret weapon for appearing an oenological expert. First, swirl the wine in your glass. Then stick your nose into the glass on a 45-degree angle (the angle is a dead give away that you’re a real pro) and have a good sniff. What aromas do you smell? Young wines often have primary, fruity aromas (black currant, raspberries), while older ones are characterized by secondary, earthy or animalistic smells.
3. Moment of Truth: Tasting the Wine
Here you must be at one with your palate and nasal chemo-receptors. Aromas from the wine in the mouth pervade the upper airways where the sensation of “tasting” is born. After sipping, breathe in and out through the nose while staring meaningfully out of a window—and do whatever is required to not choke and splutter the wine on your neighbour. Then taste the wine’s finish by swallowing it. A rule of thumb: the longer the flavour lingers on your palate, the longer you will be able to cellar the wine.