The 5 Step Tasting Process

When I teach a group of students the biggest and most important take away is to apply the 5 step tasting process.  Try this before you do my five step tasting process.  Plug your nose and take a sip of your wine.  What do you taste?  The answer is nothing and that is what the average wine drinker is tasting when consuming this great beverage.  While you won’t be an expert wine taster over night if you apply this technique with all your wines you will quickly start picking out the flaws within many of the mass produced wines on the market.

One of the biggest keys with drinking wine is have proper stemware. If you have glasses similar to my illustration then you are good.  If you have thick rim glasses time to buy new ones as you can’t taste properly out of them.

Please apply these steps and comment below!

The Five Step Tasting Process

3 Day Wine Review

1. Color (Appearance) – Clear to Dark Purple
In my opinion color is the least important part of the tasting process. Dark colored wines do not always guarantee full bodied, impressive wines. Experts say dark colors are related to higher quality grapes in red wines.
Legs- Swirl your glass and the legs are the coating on the inside of the glass. After swirling there will be streams down your glass. The more intense the streams the more full bodied and higher alcohol content of the wine. Sediment is not a negative and you should decant the wine.

2. Nose-  Get your nose in the glass and smell several times.  Don’t be afraid to make sound effects.
Your senses really start working with the nose of the wine. The more wine you smell the better you will get at detecting the characteristics of different wines. The best wines have noses that offer several characters that are easily detectable.
Aroma- The scent from a younger wine.
Bouquet- Used for older more complex wines.
Character- Violets, black cherry, oak, spice, etc. This is what you smell.
Corked wine- This will smell like wet cardboard. If any wine smells off it is and should not be consumed. Return it for a refund.

3. Taste/ Palate
This is the most important step in the tasting process. Take this step seriously for every wine you try. In order to properly taste wine you must swish the wine around in your mouth to hit all the taste buds. If the aroma and tastes match up, the wine is in balance. If the nose dominates over the taste/palate then the wine is unbalanced.
Sweetness or dryness- You will detect the sweetness of the wine by using the tip of your tongue. Wines high in tannins will dry out your mouth creating a cotton ball mouth effect.
Acidity- The tartness of a wine. White wines are higher in acidity.
Alcohol- Wines that are hot are high in alcohol and can throw off the balance of the wine.
Balanced- No components over power the other. Example the acidity is not noticeable and the alcohol is not overpowering. This is critical in highly rated wines. Cheaper white wines will often times be extremely sweet which throws off the balance.
Bitterness- Detected on the back of your tongue. Not a good quality and is linked to tannins.
Body- Full bodied is a wine that is rich and complex and feels heavy in the mouth. A thin wine is watered down.
Tannins- Gives red wines structure and a backbone. Young wines can be a bit harsh and hide the flavors of the wine. This is why aging high end Cabernet is so important. Tannins are naturally found in the skins, seeds, and stems and will soften over time.

4. Finish (Aftertaste)
The length of the aftertaste of the wine. Many sensory elements might come up in the finish such as acidity, tannins, high alcohol levels and complex taste sensations. The best wines in the world will have a lengthy finish with positive elements. When you can taste the wine two or three minutes later and it is pleasurable then this is a fantastic wine.

5. Evaluation
Usually scored out of 100 points however a simple evaluation is whether you would buy it again or not. This is important to you as a consumer. When you buy wine from a shop and ask for recommendations, you need to evaluate these wines to determine whether to shop there again.

6 thoughts on “The 5 Step Tasting Process”

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I found your site from Meetup and look forward to learning more about wine.

  2. This does make a difference. I did not like German Rieslings until I moved the wine around in my mouth. Thanks!

  3. I was at one of your classes years ago and remember how this change everything for my wine purchases. There are now very few cheap wines I can even tolerate.



  4. Hey There. I found your blog the use of msn. This is an extremely smartly written article.
    I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read extra of your helpful info.
    Thank you for the post. I will definitely return.

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