Wine doesn’t have to be an intimidating drink. When you learn how to taste wine properly, you’ll be able to get the most out of a glass, especially with quality wine. By using the 5 S’s (see, swirl, sniff, sip, and savour), you’ll be able to enjoy the wine more and gain an appreciation for it.
Here are the 5 Important Essences (S’s) of Wine
1) See: What colour is it?
Have a look at the wine and identify if the wine is clear and brilliant or cloudy and dull. Put the glass against a white background to see the proper colour. Colours will provide hints to the grape variety and if the wine was aged in wood. Typically, wine that has been aged in oak has a darker colour.
The intensity of each colour will give an idea of how the wine will taste. Generally, colour saturation tends to go hand in hand with flavour intensity. Hence, the darker the wine colour, the stronger it will probably taste and vice-versa.
2) Swirl: Give it a bit of room for air.Give the wine a couple of swirls to awaken its body and combine its flavours. You’ll also see the different colours and textures it will give. Heavy wines will be deeper in color and generally more intense on the nose. Sweeter wines, being denser, will leave thick, viscous streaks (called legs) down the inside of the glass when swirled.
3) Sniff: What do you smell?
Sniffing the wine before tasting is essential. The quality of wine can be judged by its nose and taste. Odour is one of keys to remembering things or a memory. What does the aroma remind you of? Fruits or vegetables? Herbs or spices? Is it woody? Are the odours strong or mellow?
4) Sip: What do you taste?
Take a slightly larger sip than usual and hold the wine in your mouth for about 3-5 seconds to let it coat the surface of your tongue. This is where the complex taste experience and characteristics of a wine actually happens. Look for sweetness, fruitiness, saltiness, acidity, bitterness, and alcohol-strength. What’s your overall impression? Does any component over-power the others or is the wine well-balanced?
5) Savour: Does the taste linger?
The finish is the sensation you get from actually swallowing the wine and it can be very different from the taste you get on your palate. What you want to look for is an alcohol taste and the length of time the wine taste stays with you. This length of time is called the finish and some wines can linger for as long as a minute.
Now that you’ve learned the basic 5 S’s of wine tasting, why don’t you throw a wine party and share your new knowledge with your friends! Remember to drink responsibly and savour every sip!
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