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Wine Tasting.

Check out this page for wine tasting tips, facts, and ideas. Here are some for the time being.

[ Glasses | Sight | Smell | Taste | Labels | Glossary ]

Correct Glasses.

A good wine tasting glass is perhaps nearly as important as the wine in it! The glass should be clear, thin, and have a long stem. The bowl should be wider than the opening to "funnel" the aromas to your nose.


Judging a wine by sight is an art in itself. Hold the glass up to the light. All wines should be bright and clean, free of particles or sediment. To tell the alcoholic strength of the wine, swirl the wine in the glass then let it settle. Hold the glass up to the light and look for transparent wetness left on the glass. This will fall back to the surface in "tears" or "legs". The thicker the "legs" and the slower the fall-back the greater the alcohol content.


Our sense of smell is by far the most sensitive of all our senses. Three quarters of the information about a wine can be obtained by smell, because although we can taste four sensations, we can distinguish over 5000 smells. Before tasting a wine, swirl it round the glass to release more aromas. Sometimes, describing the smell can be tricky, so start with the basics - "are there any nasty smells?" "is the odour pleasant or unpleasant?". It will be easier to relate the smell to something you like, for example fruit, nuts, spices or flowers. How you taste a wine is affected by the smell - try tasting something with a blocked up nose and you will taste almost nothing.


As you taste a wine, there are three tasting stages - the first when the wine hits your palate, the second when the wine has warmed a little in your mouth, and the third when you swallow the wine. The initial taste will be of sweetness levels, but this lasts a short time. It is followed by acidity, which lasts longer. Try to associate aroma with taste. After swallowing the wine, note the aftertaste. As a general rule, the longer the aftertaste the better the wine.


Of course, some information can be obtained before you even open the wine - from the label! You can gain some or all of the following information from the label:

  • The vineyard (or producer).
  • The name of the wine.
  • The region of origin.
  • The country of origin.
  • The vintage.
  • The percentage alcohol content.
  • Quality controls.

    The name of the wine is likely to be one of the following:

  • The grape name, eg Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • A concocted name, eg Liebfraumilch.
  • The name of the producer or importer, eg Calvet Reserve.
  • By geographical situation, eg Bordeaux, Burgundy.

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