How to Taste Wine & Develop Your Palate - Part 1
Wine is so much more than just a delicious alcoholic beverage. It’s a drink produced as a result of a unique chemical reaction that turns the fruit, juice, and skins of grapes into a form of ethanol that depresses the central nervous system.
There is nothing quite like it in the world!
Before you knock back that glass of wine, take a moment to stop and think about what you’re putting in your mouth.
What types of grapes were used to make the wine?
Did the wine sit in an oak barrel, concrete or metal container before bottling?
Where did the wine come from, and why does wine from that region taste different from wines from other regions?
The more you think about it, the more fascinating your wine becomes. It stops being just a “great drink“, but it becomes an entire experience.
You can find the subtle differences between the various wines on your shelf, and you’ll start to notice the variety of smells, colours, textures, and flavours.
Before you know it, you’ve developed your palate and have become a wine connoisseur!
If this appeals to you, read on to find out everything you need to know about how to taste wine – but the right way! You’ll learn a few wine tasting tips to help you get into the habit of really savouring each wine and enjoying its unique individuality!
How to Taste Wine like a Pro
In order to understand how to taste wine, you need to understand the wine tasting process. This process is designed to engage all of your senses, which is why you:
Follow these steps, and you’ll understand everything there is to know about the wine.
The more you understand it, the easier it will be to savour each bottle of wine for its own uniqueness. But, before you can serve the wine, make sure you are in the ideal wine tasting conditions. What does this mean?
- Limit noise: you want to engage all of your senses when tasting the wine, but it’s hard to do so when distracted. Have your wine tasting in a room that is quiet.
- Eliminate odours: even the slightest change in smell can affect the flavour of the wine. Your sense of taste relies heavily on your sense of smell, so eliminate smells as much as possible. Pet smells, food smells, perfume and even the smell of detergent on the glass can change the wine’s flavour.
- Serve the wine at the right temperature: if the wine is too cold, the chill will mask the flavours. If the wine is too warm, it will bring out the alcohol too much. Serve wine at the correct temperature to give your palate the best chance to detect all the complex, subtle flavours. If in doubt, serve on the colder side and you can warm it in your hand.
- Condition the glass: the wine glass should be as clean as possible, but without traces of water. To “condition” the glass, pour a bit of wine into the glass and swirl it around. This will eliminate outside flavours. Dump the wine and pour fresh wine into the glass before tasting. It is a shame to waste any wine of course, so this previous step is unnecessary if your glass really is clean.
If you’ve done all these things, you’re ready to begin the wine tasting process…
Image credits: Apolo Photographer