If you are just starting your wine journey, then you may be confused about how to find wines you like. After all, wines come in endless varieties from countries all over the world. A great way to learn about and sample wines is by joining a wine club or attending a wine tasting for beginners.
I can’t be tasting wine in public!
I will look like fool!
You won’t after reading wine tasting for beginners.
After all, wine tasting can be broken down into 4 easy steps. Of course, there are some wine terms you will need to know. I will go over some of them too. Plus I will educate you regarding glassware. Let’s go!
4 Wine Tasting Tips for beginners
- See – First, you want to hold your glass at an angle to see the color. Is it clear or foggy? Does it contain sediment? Often foggy wines or wines that contain sediment signal that the wine is unfiltered. Vegan and organic wines are unfiltered to keep them more natural.
- Swirl – After that, gently swirl your glass around. Don’t do it so violently that it splashes out! It is a sin to waste wine! Swirling wine further releases the aromas. You might also note that some wines tend to cling to the sides of the glass. Subsequently, this often indicates fuller body and higher alcohol content.
- Sniff – Then stick your nose in the glass. Yes, your whole nose. Take both short and long whiffs. Contemplate the scents. Are they fruity? Floral? Spicy?
- Sip – Finally, the one you have waited for. Take a sip, but don’t swallow right away. Swish the wine around in your mouth to coat your palate. What do you taste? Can you pick out fruit flavors? How does it feel? Is it smooth? Acidic? Does it feel like you drank really strong tea and now your tongue is numb. That feeling comes with fuller bodied red wine high in tannins. After you swallow the wine, can you pick out what tastes linger?
Wine tasting for beginners: words to know
Likewise, these terms will help you better understand the different types of wine you enjoy. Then you can describe what you like from your tasting experience. As a result, you will be able to ask for recommendations for different wines. Also, if you join a wine club you can better answer their questions so they can choose wines that you will like.
- Acidity – Acidic wines taste tart or sour. The more acidic the taste, the less sugar the wine has.
- Body – The body refers to how heavy the wine feels in your mouth. Something like a Sauvignon Blanc will feel light and refreshing. This is a refreshing summer white. Whereas a Cabernet Sauvignon or merlot will feel heavy. These red wines pair well with heavy meats because the tannins in them help break down proteins and fats.
- Dry – Dry just means the opposite of sweet. If you don’t like sweet wines, then drier wines are for you.
- Earthy – This description gets used to describe outdoorsy tastes. Grape varieties absorb some of the soil elements, known as terroir. This can impart mineral tastes. Wines aged in oak barrels often take on a woodsy taste.
- Tasting Notes – The notes are just the flavors of the wine. Don’t feel bad if you can’t pick out the flavors stated on the bottle or in a tasting. The important thing is to recognize what you like. Do you like wines that are said to be light and floral or wines with dark rich fruits. Once you know the tasting notes for a wine you like, you will probably like others with the same notes.
- Tannins – Tannins are imparted from contact with grape skins and seeds. They are what make red wines red. Wines with heavy tannins leave a numb feeling on the tongue.
Wine tasting for beginners: glassware
If you attend a wine tasting somewhere, you won’t need to know about glassware. However, now that you are becoming a pro you will want to show off your new found knowledge at home with friends.
Certainly, you don’t want your gathering to turn sour because you aren’t using the correct glassware. This isn’t arbitrary. There are reasons for using specific glasses according to Winepros.org.
The larger bulbs help balance the tannins and allow flavors to breathe.
- Bordeaux glass – large glasses with wide openings that allow ethanol to evaporate leaving rich fruity aromas. Subsequently, these enhance flavors of Cabernets and Bordeaux blends.
- Standard red wine glass – large glass with a smaller opening help soften spiciness of full bodied wines such as Shiraz.
- Round glass – These glasses help gather aromas of more delicate reds like Pinot Noir.
These U-shaped glasses with smaller bowls preserve floral aromas as well as balance acidity. The smaller opening also helps maintain chilled temperature longer.
- Chardonnay glass – Larger bowls are used for full bodied Chardonnays.
- Sweet wine glass – These white wine glasses are slightly narrower.
- Flute – Used for sparking wines.
I’ll have what she’s having
Now you have the basics for wine tasting for beginners. You can start searching for wine classes near me on line or join a wine club. My husband and I have fun wine tasting bottles we get from our wine club, at home. We try to pick out what flavors we notice and then compare to see if they match the tasting notes that come with our wines. This makes a fun night with friends too.
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Donna Emperador is a creative blogger and copywriter. Donna believes in learning about different cultures while sharing good food and wine. She has lived in South Florida for over 20 years and enjoys spending time traveling and making wine culture easier to understand for readers.