Wine tasting is an assessment of a wine’s characteristics. It is more than art that helps you understand and enjoy wine to the fullest. To optimize your wine tasting experience, you must understand that it involves the use of sight, smell, and taste.

These three senses are the key factors that help you distinguish one type of wine from the other. Each sense is used in different stages of wine tasting, starting with your sight and ends with your taste.

However, to the inexperienced, wine tasting might be a confusing experience. Some associate it with casual drinking in a relaxed and comfortable setting. If you want to start and understand the art of wine tasting, this read is for you.

The Wine through Sight

Before you begin, make sure that the glass you are using isn’t opaque or tinted with color. Since you have to study the color of the wine itself, it isn’t beneficial to use something that could obstruct your view.

Avoid fingerprints while you are studying the wine, as well. Choose a glass with a stem. An average wine glass will do, but choose one with a longer bowl to avoid spills when you swirl it. In checking the wine on a glass, hold out the glass and tilt it a little. Better watch it over a white surface that’s free of visual obstructions. Check how your wine looks from the rim to the center of your wine glass.

Further, the first thing you have to check when it comes to evaluating your wine is its color. The shade of red wine tells you just what type of red vino you’re going to try. The darker and richer the color is, the more concentrated the wine. By contrast, wines with lighter colors are made from less ripe berries and are more acidic.

Take a Pinot Noir, for example. Its bright crimson hue is considered the lightest in all of the red wine varieties. Now compare it to a Cabernet Sauvignon. You’d immediately notice the stark difference of the richness of the color. With its deep ruby hue, a Cabernet Sauvignon is made of dark-colored fruits like black cherry, blackcurrant, and the likes.

The next step is to evaluate the wine through its “legs.” Legs are the tears-like that stream down the side of the glass after swirling the wine. How the legs look when falling would usually indicate the alcohol content in the wine. The faster it evaporates, the less alcohol it has. Viscous wines with thick legs are often the most alcoholic. It can also indicate that the grapes used are riper, larger, and more mouth-filling than the ones with lighter legs.

The Wine through Smell

Approximately 80-90% of what we think that we are tasting is actually because of our sense of smell. How we taste wine can be affected by the aroma it produces. Each wine has its own smell, indicating what type of wine you are drinking and the added ingredients that come with it.

The primary aromas are the distinctive smell from fruits and herbs used in the wine, which can appear either fruity or floral. Examples of primary aromas are chamomile, rose, violets, citrus, green apple, blackberries, and red berries. Some wines might smell spicy, earthy, or like truffles, too.

However, if your wine smelled like vinegar, mold, unused newspapers, or even a wet dog, then something might be wrong. These scents are most apparent in corked wines, which contain a chemical called TCA (2,4,6-trichloroanisole) that can cause unappealing odors to your wine. Also, any wine that smells like nail polish indicates that ethyl acetate is present.

To smell the wines, gently swirl your glass. Swirling allows oxygen to incorporate into the wine, releasing the scent into the air. A helpful technique you could use is keeping your mouth slightly agape when inhaling and exhaling the smell released by the wine. This will allow you to distinguish the different aromatic characteristics of your wine.

Instead of taking large gulps of air, sniff more than once. You can capture the scent better that way. However, remember that there’s no right or wrong way of inhaling wine’s smell. If that doesn’t work for you, then do what you’re comfortable with doing.

The Wine through Taste

To guarantee that you’d be able to taste the wine properly, don’t take a large gulp. Instead, try taking a small sip, an amount that covers your entire tongue.

There are a variety of flavors that you will encounter once the taste seeps into your tongue. These include a wide range of flowers, fruits, herbs, barrel, mineral, and so much more. They will indicate what wine you are tasting. It will also determine whether the wine you are tasting is either balanced or complex.

A balanced wine must have its flavor components to be in equal proportions. This means it should have a balanced taste of different flavors like sweet, sour, bitter, or salty, in which each flavor doesn’t overpower each other. If one flavor rises above the others, then it’s no longer balanced.

Complex wines, on the other hand, would appear as if multiple flavors and sensations are swirling in your mouth. Multiple flavors and sensations will be apparent. An indicator of good wine has a taste that lingers on your tongue for 20 to 30 seconds, while wines that are considered the best stay as long as a minute or more. An average wine doesn’t stay longer than five to ten seconds.

The Dangers of Drinking Too Much Wine

Before you begin with putting your newfound skills in wine tasting, you must also be aware of the dangers that come with excessive wine consumption. According to Alcohol Rehab Guide, millions of Americans are drinking too much wine than recommended. Sure wine, when intake is controlled, has its health benefits. However, just like anything else, too much would be hazardous to your health.

Your gender could play a role in how much wine you can consume. Women get intoxicated faster than men. According to experts, women should consume a maximum of 5 oz of a glass of wine, while men should only intake two 5 oz glasses of wine. Not daily, mind you. Drinking this amount should happen no more than several times a week.

Wine, when drank too much, can cause side effects such as hangovers, headaches, high blood pressure, blackouts, and vomiting. Excessive consumption, on the other hand, can cause anxiety, delirium tremens, alcoholism, and brain damage.

So take caution when you consume wine. The risks and damages you put your body for excessive drinking would not only affect you and your loved ones. Always be cautious, know your limits, and drink wine moderately.

Online Stores for Wines

If you’re looking for fines wines but don’t have much time to visit local stores, several online stores, like Sokolin, offer various wine brands, ranging from young to aged wines. If you visit their online platforms, you will not only encounter a vast array of wine collection, but you’ll also be enlightened with different wine profiles.


Tasting and evaluating wines are just better ways to find the perfect wine that fits your tastes. It makes you understand why you like a particular variety much more than the other. It might be because of the texture, the smell, or the look.

More importantly, it is essential to remember that there is no superior wine. Wine preference is always subjective, and the answer will vary from person to person. Enjoy the wine you like while knowing why you like it.