Winemaking dates back to at least 6000 BC. That’s how far back the evidence archeologists found in Georgia (the country, not the state) dates.
Unfortunately, wine made thousands of years ago didn’t taste all that great. Perhaps that’s why wine tasting as a practice didn’t take off until thousands of years later. It took time to develop the techniques that produced exquisite flavors.
Do you want to take advantage of being born in a time of great wine flavors? If so, you’ll benefit from these seven wine-tasting tips for beginners. Read on!
Wine Tasting for Beginners: Before You Attend One
It doesn’t matter if you’re attending a wine tasting at a friend’s house or one at a winery. The unwritten rules of wine tasting are mostly the same everywhere. So before you attend your first wine tasting, there are some things you need to prepare beforehand.
1. Don’t Wear Scents
Are you addicted to spritzing on a favorite scent before you go anywhere? If so, you’ll have to resist the urge for this situation. A strong, extra scent in the room can affect you and everyone else’s experience.
Most wine experts will want the space to be as neutral as possible so that they can focus on the wine’s flavor. This includes scents as well as noise, crowds, and even temperature. Help them and yourself out by leaving the perfume and cologne at home.
2. Think Carefully About Your Clothing
You don’t necessarily need to dress fancy for a wine tasting. When choosing what to wear to a wine tasting, it’s best to think practically.
For example, you don’t want to wear light clothing. This can easily get stained by dark reds. You also want to avoid dangling sleeves, as these can knock over glasses and ruin a charcuterie plate.
3. Choose the Right Wines
An expert wine-tasting host should have everything set up correctly. However, if you can pick your wines or you want to host a wine tasting for beginners, you need to know how to choose and order wines.
As a beginner, you’ll want to choose wines that are mid-tier in terms of price. Cheap wines won’t have complex enough flavors. Expensive wines may be stronger.
Also, you need to taste your wines in order from light to heavy. If you start with heavier wines, your palate will be too overwhelmed to taste any light wines.
4. Plan Everything Carefully
There are a lot of details you can miss that can quickly turn a wine tasting into a disaster. For this reason, you need to make sure that you carefully plan the experience.
If you’re going to a winery, for example, make sure that you make reservations in advance. Not all winery tasting rooms accept walk-ins.
It is also highly important that you have a plan in place to get everyone home safely if they get too intoxicated. Get a designated driver or figure out how everyone will pay for a Lyft or Uber.
How to Describe Wine and Experience It
You may be surprised to learn that tasting isn’t the only way to experience wine at a wine tasting. Most wine experts try to get a full cornucopia of sensory experiences from their wine. This includes evaluating each type of wine by scent, slight, and taste.
5. How to Look at Wine
There are a few different motions you can use to see different details of each wine. Looking straight down into a glass tells you the color of the wine. Wine experts use the wine’s color to tell the variety of grapes used in the wine.
Hold the glass up to the light. You can then tell if a wine is clear or murky. The best wines are usually clear and sparkly.
You can then tilt the wine and evaluate its age by the edge color. With red wine, for instance, older wine has an orange edge shade, and younger wine has a purple one.
After this, swirl your wine gently. Look at the “legs” or “tears” that run down the glass. Wines with good legs are usually denser than others.
6. How to Smell Wine
After looking at the swirling wine, it’s time to smell it. Swirl the wine again and take a whiff with your nose hovering just above the glass’s rim.
Check for aromas that tell your wine is off first. Good quality wine shouldn’t smell like a musty old attic. Other flaws, such as vinegar or burnt match smells, aren’t as disastrous, but the culprit of these smells probably won’t taste as good.
Beyond that, you can enjoy the wide variety of good smells that wine offers. You’ll smell the grapes, of course, but on top of that, you may smell flowers, herbs, earth, and more. Each of these scents can give away a specific wine variety.
7. How to Taste Wine
Now you can taste the wine. Ideally, you want to take in a small sip of wine. Then, swish it around in your mouth a bit.
You should taste the same flavors that you smelled. Once you’ve indicated that, you need to consider how well the flavors in wine blend together. Most wines can be described as balanced, harmonious, complex, or complete.
All the typical flavors are perfectly balanced in a balanced wine, and harmonious wines blend all flavors seamlessly. Complex wines seem to change as they swirl around your mouth. Complete wines are a satisfactory mix of all of these.
Try These Wine Tasting Tips on Our Wines
Remember that this is just the start of your wine-tasting journey. It will likely take a long time before you can indicate specific wines by their most specific details. Be patient with yourself, and don’t forget to have fun while you’re learning.
Also, you can try testing these wine-tasting tips on some of our wines. We bottle only the best wines of the Central Coast of California region in our cellar. Check out some of our options in our online store.