Learn the 7 S’s of wine tasting to get the most out of your next wine tasting event!
A wine tasting is one of the best ways to explore the world of wine. Whether you’ve chosen to visit a local winery or host your own gathering, wine tastings are a fun way to sample several wines, compare their characteristics, and put your palate to the test.
Yes, you can absolutely sit back and enjoy the wine and company. Depending on the venue, a wine tasting can just be a fun social gathering. However, for those wanting to expand their understanding of the wine world, practicing the 7 S’s of wine tasting will help you identify characteristics and appreciate a wine’s true depth.
See | Examine the Wine with Your Eyes
Yes, this literally means just LOOK at the wine. Surprisingly, you can learn a LOT about a wine just from its appearance. Hold your glass to the light and take your time admiring its visual characteristics.
For example, things like color can tell you quite a bit. In general, the more saturated the color, the more intense the flavor.
Swirl | Aerate the Wine and Notice Legs
This literally means that you should gently swirl the wine around your wine glass. Not only does this show you how the wine will behave against the glass, it will also increase oxidation which can give you information as well.
As you aerate the wine (swirl the wine) different aromatic notes will be released. That can give you insight into ingredients, flavor, etc. Additionally, you’ll be able to examine the legs of the wine, which provide insight into the sugar and alcohol content.
Smell | Pay Attention to Various Wine Aromas
While it can be tempting to stick your nose right into the glass, a slower approach is best. Notice the aroma both before and after swirling. There will probably be more noticeable aromas after swirling due to aeration.
If you’re at a vineyard, feel free to ask the vintner about ingredients and aging processes after you’ve taken your time smelling. That way you can see if you guessed correctly when it came to primary, secondary, and tertiary aromas!
Sip | Take That First Sip of Wine!
Ah, now you get to actually drink the wine! Before you take a big gulp, however, it’s important to take a small sip. While there are some who say to ignore this first sip, we think first impressions are important!
Let that first sip coat your tongue and take note of any initial flavors, textures, etc.
Swish | Let the Second Sip Coat Your Mouth
Take another sip if you need to, but really focus on moving the wine around in your mouth. Let it coat all of your taste buds and notice how the rest of your mouth feels.
Do you notice a slight puckering sensation? Is it full bodied? Are any of the flavors blooming in unexpected ways? Take your time while swishing and take note of any distinctive characteristics.
Swallow or Spit | It’s Up to You!
While spitting wine has been part of the stereotypical wine snob image for decades, it’s entirely up to you (and perhaps up to the host of your gathering). Spitting can be appropriate if you’re not a fan of the wine or, most often, if you’re sampling a lot of wine and don’t want to overindulge.
If you particularly enjoy the wine or if you’re not sampling a large amount, then swallowing is perfectly fine. Besides, swallowing the wine can enhance your experience during the last step.
Savor | Make Final Observations and Enjoy
After the wine has left your mouth (either after spitting or swallowing), a residual taste will be left behind. This is called the “finish” and it can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of wine tasting! This includes any lingering aromas and flavors and can last for up to a minute afterwards.
This is also the perfect time to take stock of all your observations. Together, these details weave a complex tapestry that tells the story of each wine. Plus, ask yourself whether you would like to drink this wine again and how you might pair it with food.
Start Planning Your Next Wine Tasting Event Today!
Whether you’re attending a tasting event to enhance your wine knowledge or just to socialize, remember to have fun! Yes, the wine world can be a bit overwhelming. But if you take your time and enjoy every step of the way, you’ll develop an appreciation for wine that’s enriching, delicious, and enjoyable.
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