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Tips for a First-Time Wine Taster

Posted by Carlos on 12/8/2013 to Wine Tasting

Going wine tasting can be a very enjoyable experience. Getting to try out different types of wine in a beautiful atmosphere while possibly even meeting new people who share a love of wine is something that everybody should get to experience at some point in their lives. If you have just recently been introduced to the world of wine and are interested in going wine tasting for the first time, you may understandably be feeling intimidated by the experience. You want to look and feel like you know what you are doing, and you certainly do not want to be judged by other wine connoisseurs for being uncertain about any aspect of the tasting. Here are some tips you can follow to ensure the most enjoyable wine tasting experience.

Start with Red Wines

In general, it is recommended that you start with the more bitter, bold red wines before moving onto dry or sweet white wines. Dessert wines and ciders should always come last if you plan on tasting these. If you start with a sweet wine and switch to a bitter wine, it will throw the taste off, and you will not get an accurate feel for the wine's flavor. In addition from moving from bitter to sweet wine, you should also clean out your palette after each tasting with a pita chip or other neutral cracker. Most wine tasting facilities will have plates or bowls of these readily available for you during the tasting itself.

Take in the Sight

The first aspect you should notice about a glass of wine is its appearance. Color is a huge and important factor. To get a true idea of the wine's color, be sure to tilt the glass slightly towards you and look at it from the top down. This will help you to see the true color of the wine as opposed to the often darker color that you see when you look at the glass from the side or at an angle. You can also get a good idea of a wine's color and richness by giving it a gentle swirl around the glass.

Smell the Wine

Taking a smell of the wine before tasting can give you an idea as to how spicy, sweet or fruity a wine may be. Swirling the wine glass to get a look at the color will also release some of the wine's aroma, so you can kill two birds with one stone in this regard. When you smell the wine from a distance, you should be able to pick up hints of the flavor.

From there, all that is left to do is to actually taste the wine. Take a small sip at first, and allow the wine to sit on your tongue for a moment before swallowing. The wine should taste similar to how it smelled. Evaluate the wine for its smoothness, and be sure to make notes of wines that you are particularly fond of, so you can pick up a bottle of your own before you leave!
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