The 5 S's of Wine Tasting

When it comes to wine tasting, it doesn't matter if it's your first time heading out to the wineries, or you are a seasoned veteran.  Following these five steps will allow you to get the most out of your experience. 

1. See

Pour the wine into a wine glass and hold the glass up to the light.  You are looking for brilliance and clarity.  You can tell a lot by looking at the color.  As white wine ages, the color turns darker, more golden-yellow.  As red wine ages, it loses color.  Aging methods, grape variety and climate can affect the color too.

2. Swirl

Holding the stem of the wine glass, lightly swirl the wine in the glass. Swirling opens up the aromas and flavors by mixing in oxygen, which also helps soften young red wines tannins.  Also notice that as you swirl the wine, the wine hits the sides of the glass, and then falls back down.  The wine that falls down the glass in streams is called "legs" and is an indication of the body of the wine.  If there are no legs then the wine is considered a light to medium bodied wine, but if the wine falls in "legs", then the wine is considered a full bodied wine.

3. Sniff

Raise the glass to your nose and take three short sniffs.  Close your eyes and take in the full impact of the aromas and bouquet that meet your nose.  What yo smell may depend on your choice of wine and your memory.  Note the types of aromas, their intensity and harmony.  Is it fruity or earthy? It it citrus or tree fruit?  Is it herbal or woody?  All smells are open to your interpretation.

4. Sip

Take a sip and inhale the wine.  Swish it all around your mouth so it covers all of your taste buds before you swallow.  There are only four things that we can actually taste: sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, and acidity.  Everything else comes from "smelling" the wine in the mouth.  A dry red wine with tannins will leave you with a "pucker flavor"completely drying out your mouth at the first sip.   A fruity sweetened wine will sit on the tip of the tongue and play across the taste buds and palate, leaving the mouth moist.

5. Savor

Think about what you taste.  Is it full, light, crisp, buttery, well balanced, or over acidic?  Does it have a long or a short finish?  Do you like it or not?  Do you want to take another sip?


By following the 5 steps, you are sure to get the most out of your tasting.  Enjoy!

Wine tasting 101(116044)