Learn How to Taste Wine & Develop Your Palate

Learn How to Taste Wine & Develop Your Palate
Author: Lydia Afonso
Date created: 2016/03/14

Learn how to taste wine with 4 basic steps. The following wine tasting tips are practiced by sommeliers to refine their palates and sharpen their ability to recall wines. Even though this method is used by pros, it’s actually quite simple to understand and can help anyone to improve their wine palate.

We’ve written on this topic before, but wanted to offer up additional detailed facts and wine tasting tips that will improve your understanding far beyond the basics. Anyone can taste wine, all you need is a glass of wine and your brain.

wine-tasting-professional-analysis-station

 

How to Taste Wine

1. Look

Check out the color, opacity and viscosity (wine legs). You don’t really need to spend more than 5 seconds on this step. A lot of clues about a wine are buried in its appearance, but unless you’re tasting blind, most of the answers that those clues provide will be found on the bottle (i.e. vintage, alcohol %, grape variety).

2. Smell

When you first start smelling wine, think big to small. Are there fruits? Think of broad categories first, i.e. citrus, orchard, or tropical fruits in whites or, when tasting reds, red fruits, blue fruits, or black fruits. Getting too specific or looking for one particular note can lead to frustration. Broadly, you can divide the nose of a wine into three primary categories:

  • Primary Aromas are grape-derivative and include fruit-driven, herbal, and floral notes.
  • Secondary Aromas come from winemaking practices. The most common aromas are yeast-derivative and are most easy to spot in white wines: cheese rind, nut husk (almond, peanut), or stale beer.
  • Tertiary Aromas come from aging, usually in bottle, or possibly in oak. These aromas are mostly savory: roasted nuts, baking spice, vanilla, autumn leaves, old tobacco, cured leather, or mushroom.
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